GHB, also known as gamma hydroxybutyrate was initially developed as an anesthetic agent in the 1960s. According to Kansas State University, GHB produces fast-acting effects that slow central nervous system functions and elicits hallucinogenic effects all at once.
The drug's highly addictive properties soon relegated it to narcotic status as an illegal substance.
Like Rohypnol, GHB has become one of the most commonly used drugs in cases of sexual assault. In effect, GHB can induce comatose-like states in large enough doses, not unlike the effects it has on a person's will once addiction sets in.
GHB addiction help encompasses a comprehensive approach wherein addicts come to terms with the damaging effects of the drug on the mind and body.
Like most other hallucinogenic agents, GHB all but reconfigures chemical processes throughout the brain and alters overall brain function in the process.
GHB abuse treatment methods target the damaging effects of the drug in stages, starting with detox treatment.
From there, addicts undergo ongoing treatment to address the underlying issues that drive the addiction cycle.
The human body produces GHB as a neurotransmitter chemical within the brain as well as within peripheral tissues throughout the body. According to the U. S. National Library of Medicine, GHB chemical levels naturally affect other neurotransmitter chemicals, one of which is GABA.
As GABA has an inhibitory effect on motor neuron activity, GHB's effects on GABA levels accounts for the drug's depressant effects.
GHB's hallucinogenic effect results from the drug's ability to alter dopamine and serotonin brain chemical levels, both of which are neurotransmitters.
Once addicted to GHB, a person's brain has essentially been rewired to respond to the effects of the drug so much so that normal brain functions cannot take place unless GHB is present.
GHB treatment methods use medication therapies and behavioral therapies to help restore brain and body processes back to normal.
GHB Detox Treatment Methods
GHB addiction treatment starts with eliminating all traces of the drug from a person's body, also known as detoxing. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the detox stage can bring on some fairly uncomfortable withdrawal effects, some of which include:
- Profuse Sweating
- Extreme Anxiety
- Inability to Sleep
GHB abuse programs may use medication therapies to help ease some of the discomfort experienced during the detox stage. Medications commonly used include:
Detox at a GHB rehab facility may run as long as 14 days depending on the severity of a person's addiction.
Addiction Treatment for Underlying Issues
Drug addiction treatment addresses the underlying issues that drive a person to seek escape from "real life" through this drug's effects. Since addiction evolves out of a person's physical and psychological dependency on the drug, treating the issues that drive addiction behaviors is an essential part of the recovery process.
GHB addiction treatment methods used for this purpose include:
- Behavior Therapies
- Motivation Therapies
- Cognitive-Behavioral Therapies
- Group Therapy
- Support Group Work
These methods provide recovering addicts with an understanding of the role GHB has played in their lives. Through ongoing therapy, a person replaces addiction-based belief systems, thinking patterns and behaviors with daily living coping skills for living a drug-free lifestyle.