Is GHB Addictive?

Is GHB Addictive?

GHB is the abbreviated name for gama hydroxybutyrate, a central nervous system depressant that is a prescription drug in some countries but illegal in others.

It can be found in either a liquid or white powder form. GHB occurs naturally in the brain in low doses, but overdoses from the drug can lead to coma and death.

As the drug is often used illegally, it is important to ask the question: When Abused, is GHB Addictive?

Dangers of GHB

GHB does have its helpful uses, but many people abuse the drug. It is known for its euphoric effects and often gives the user a sense of relaxation which is a primary reason for this. It is also used as a "date rape" drug because it is available in an "odorless, colorless, and tasteless form that [is] frequently combined with alcohol and other beverages" (The National Institute on Drug Abuse).

GHB Image

GHB can "sedate and incapacitate unsuspecting victims, preventing them from resisting sexual assault."

GHB, while obviously being a concern for someone who does not know he or she has been given the drug, is very dangerous when used in large quantities.

"Coma and seizure" are frequent effects of GHB on recreational users, and the symptoms of abuse can be anywhere from nausea to respiratory depression and death.

Tolerance to GHB

A tolerance to the drug can be built up by frequent users. This means more and more of the drug will become necessary for the person abusing GHB to feel the effects and curb withdrawals. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that "tolerance can develop to GHB with chronic abuse and even following chronic treatment." It is important to recognize if someone is building a tolerance to GHB because that might be leading to or could already be a sign of addiction.

GHB Withdrawals

Withdrawals from GHB can be severe, especially if the use of the drug is very high. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, GHB withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Insomnia
  • Sweating
  • Tremors
  • Anxiety
  • Muscular Cramps
  • "Delirium"
  • "Combativeness"

Withdrawal symptoms can be seen "as early as 1-2 hours" after GHB was last ingested by a heavy abuser of the drug. In addition, The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that "severe withdrawal reactions have been reported among patients presenting from an overdose of GHB... especially if other drugs or alcohol are involved."

When used repeatedly and/or frequently in high quantities, it is very possible that a person could become addicted to GHB. Its effects of euphoria and calmness are an attraction for recreational users, and the drug can even be abused by those to whom it has been prescribed. And especially in repeat users who routinely abuse the drug, GHB does have a strong potential for addiction.

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