GHB Substance Abuse

GHB (Xyrem) is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant that was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2002 for use in the treatment of narcolepsy (a sleep disorder). This approval came with severe restrictions, including its use only for the treatment of narcolepsy, and the requirement for a patient registry monitored by the FDA. GHB is also a metabolite of the inhibitory neurotransmitter gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). It exists naturally in the brain, but at much lower concentrations than those found when GHB is abused.

How is GHB Abused?

  • GHB like Rohypnol are available in odorless, colorless, and tasteless forms that are frequently combined with alcohol and other beverages. Both drugs have been used to commit sexual assaults (also known as “date rape,” “drug rape,” “acquaintance rape,” or “drug-assisted” assault) due to their ability to sedate and incapacitate unsuspecting victims, preventing them from resisting sexual assault
  • GHB is usually ingested orally, either in liquid or powder form
  • GHB  is also abused for its intoxicating effects, similar to other CNS depressants
  • GHB also has anabolic effects (it stimulates protein synthesis) and has been used by bodybuilders to aid in fat reduction and muscle building

How does GHB Affect the Brain?

GHB acts on at least two sites in the brain: the GABAB receptor and a specific GHB binding site. At high doses, GHB’s sedative effects may result in

  • Sleep
  • Soma
  • Death

Addictive Potential

Repeated use of GHB may lead to withdrawal effectsincluding

  • Insomnia
  • Anxiety Tremors
  • Sweating

Severe withdrawal reactions have been reported among patients presenting from an overdose of GHB or related compounds, especially if other drugs or alcohol are involved.

What Other Adverse Effects Do Club Drugs Have on Health?

Uncertainties about the sources, chemicals, and possible contaminants used to manufacture many club drugs make it extremely difficult to determine toxicity and associated medical consequences. Nonetheless, we do know that:

  • Coma
  • Seizures

Combined use with other drugs such as alcohol can result in nausea and breathing difficulties. GHB and two of its precursors, Gamma Butyrolactone (GBL) and 1,4 Butanediol (BD), have been involved in poisonings, overdoses, date rapes, and deaths.

Treatment Options

Inspirations for Youth and Families is a 32 bedroom, residential facility for teens specializing in all types of substance abuse and addiction, including for GHB. The drug’s abuse requires therapeutic treatment and at times, even psychological help; that’s what we’re here for. We understand what you are going through and we care about the future of your teen. Our gender based treatment program includes family therapy, music and art therapy, psychotherapy and recreational therapy. Along with the proper care from licensed, in-house therapists and a superior staff, we are confident that our teen rehab can be a step in the right direction for you and your teen.

These data are from the 2009 Monitoring the Future survey, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, and conducted annually by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research. The survey has tracked 12th-graders’ illicit drug use and related attitudes since 1975; in 1991, 8th- and 10th-graders were added to the study. For the latest data visit: High School and Youth Trends.

 

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