GHB Treatment: Helping a User Help Themselves
GHB, or gamma-hydroxybutyrate, has been classified by the Controlled Substances Act as a schedule 1 drug, indicating its high potential for abuse coupled with little significant medical use. Although still currently in use in the medical field as a treatment for narcolepsy, GHB has long since lost favor among the medical community simply because the dangers associated with this depressant and its abuse significantly outweigh any potential benefit. There is nothing redeeming about GHB and its effects on the human mind and body, though possibly one of the most dangerous effects thereof is the fact that it is addictive. This can lead to greater and greater consumption by the user, which in turn exponentially increases not only the damage it causes on the body, but the possibility that overdose or drug-induced coma can result. The effects of GHB, even without an overdose, can include nausea and vomiting, visual impairment, seizures, drowsiness, unconsciousness, breathing difficulties, hallucinations and agitation.
The withdrawal effects of GHB include nausea, anxiety, increased blood pressure and heart rate and insomnia, and slowed heart rate, increased sweating, hallucinations and even delirium or psychosis.. While death is clearly the worse alternative, some people feel the symptoms of withdrawal so sharply, so painfully that they will do anything to make the pain and misery go away, including relapsing back to using this dangerous drug. Unfortunately, death can also result if use of GHB is abruptly stopped for those who have a severe physical addiction. If you or someone you love uses or abuses GHB, rehabilitation treatment is the safest and most effective way of helping them to overcome the dangers of this deadly depressant.
Medications to Help with GHB Withdrawal and Cessation
GHB withdrawal can be almost as dangerous as the drug itself, and as such, there are several medications on the market for assistance with helping the user’s body to adjust to a life without GHB. There is no set standard for treatment, though the following medications have seen beneficial effect, often in conjunction with one another.
- Benzodiazepine – to help control the acute delirium of withdrawal
- Anti-seizure medication
- Blood pressure medication – to help reduce the potential for extremely high blood pressure
- Baclofen – not as widely used as benzodiazepine because more research is required, nonetheless shows the potential for being much more successful at alleviating GHB withdrawal symptoms
Behavioral Treatments for GHB Users
Medications alone, though quite effective at alleviating withdrawal effects, will not be enough to help someone who abuses GHB quit their use of this terrible substance. To that effect, behavioral treatments are the answer; they help individuals who are dependent on GHB to find the means within themselves to overcome their addiction, through education, understanding, avoidance and counseling. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps individuals by teaching them about GHB and their addiction to it, as well as helping them to understand the process of addiction and treatment, and teaching them the avoidance techniques they’ll need to continue without the use of this drug.
GHB is scary, because it’s deadly, it’s addicting and it’s easy to get. Withdrawal and rehabilitation from GHB is just as scary for the user, however, and they more than likely will need the assistance of a GHB rehabilitation treatment program in order to safely and effectively overcome their dependence. If you or someone you love abuses GHB, get the help they need now for a happy, healthy, drug free life.