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GHB Addiction

GHB (Gamma-HydroxyButyric Acid) – the date rape drug. But that is not all it is, and GHB addiction is as much of a problem as many other drugs more commonly associated with addiction. In date rape GHB is slipped into the drink of an unsuspecting victim, who blacks out within 10 to 30 minutes, and is then assaulted. GHB in addition to being a date rape drug is a very popular, highly illegal and potently addictive recreational drug.

GHB is naturally produced in the human body and is structurally related to the ketone body beta-hydroxybutyrate. GHB has been used as a general anesthetic and to treat insomnia, and can be artificially produced via the process of fermentation. Succinic semialdehyde dehydrogenase deficiency is a disease that causes GHB to accumulate in the blood.

At lower doses, GHB can relieve anxiety and produce relaxation. It can be a very effective and useful drug when used correctly, as a prescribed medication. But used illicitly it is dangerous, highly addictive and can alter basic personality traits, for example previously modest people have been known to suddenly become overpoweringly interested in pornography as a side-effect of GHB addiction. One of the most terrifying characteristics of GHB is the speed at which overdose occurs. Within 10 to 12 minutes the mind begins to go, almost immediately followed by loss of consciousness or coma. Breathing slows down significantly, 3 to 5 breaths per minute. One of two things happens at that point, either the user sleeps off the overdose, or they die.

How long does GHB last?

GHB is available in four forms. It can be obtained as a powder, a liquid, and as either a pill or a capsule. The initial impact of the drug, usually taken orally, is felt after 15 minutes, and the effects can last up to 7 hours. There are serious risks in taking GHB, particularly in association with alcohol. Fatalities linked to a mixture of GHB and alcohol in the bloodstream and being the primary cause of respiratory failure are not unknown. A single dose of GHB is equivalent to 6 shots of alcohol, and the effects hit the system much more quickly, so driving, or operating any machinery whatsoever for that matter, is an incredibly bad idea. GHB is illegal in several countries and carries stiff sentences; therefore it is wise to not have it in your possession, period, for both legal and health reasons.

A history of GHB

GHB was first created in France over 50 years ago, however, due to its extremely negative side effects it was rejected by the FDA as a medication suitable for prescription. Originally GHB was used in surgical procedures as an anesthetic. In later years it was used by body-builders to help increase size, and optimize performance. From there, word of the more pleasant effects of the drug hit the streets, and the rest as they say is history.

Currently, as more and more countries are being made aware of both the negative effects and illicit use of the drug, the medication is being banned. Until November 1990, GHB was for sale over the counter in many of the countries where it is now banned. Shortly thereafter, GHB was added to the United States list of controlled substances.

GHB addiction and abuse are not uncommon, and there are pointers that may indicate a problem is building up. Symptoms of GHB abuse include:

  • Behavioral changes
  • Twitching
  • Black outs
  • Growing increasingly distant
  • Anti-Social Behavior
  • Becomes drawn to pornography
  • Memory Issues

Treatment of GHB addiction

As seems to be the trend in dealing with all addiction issues, holistic treatment centers are becoming more and more popular and available. Holistic literally means – related to mind, spirit, and body. The facilities where these three aspects are all managed collectively are called Holistic Treatment Centers. These centers offer more than the standard medical provisions for drug addiction detox, rehab and recovery. They often have a range of less traditional therapies available to supplement and support traditional methods and techniques. In addition, they may offer the following treatments:

  • Massage
  • Acupuncture
  • Acupressure
  • The implementation of Buddhist philosophies
  • Guided meditation sessions

Having someone to talk to, who has either been where you have been, or otherwise intimately understands you and your needs intimately, makes all the difference in the world. Being able to communicate with someone who really understands what you are going through, can make the difference, between acquiring long term sobriety and not. Appropriate counseling and psychological therapies are important tools in the box to help addicts get clean and start recovery.

It is vital that an individual afflicted with GHB addiction knows that there is someone available to speak with night and day about how they are feeling, any cravings they might be experiencing, negative emotions or fears. Following detox and rehab, making sure that continued support mechanisms are in place for recovering GHB addicts is as important as the first stages in the process of treatment and recovery.

The use of drama therapy in holistic treatment centers

Drama therapy is another way for addicts to learn to express themselves, via a creative outlet. Some of the best alternative and holistic treatment centers use this technique to open up the addicts’ core issues and help to heal them from within.

  • One of the many techniques used in Drama Therapy is the Life Script. The life script is a written document, which delineates all the negative experiences that they have gone through in their lives. The purpose of this document is to give the addict a physically written text to look at whenever they feel the urge to hop off the wagon.
  • Storytelling is another method that is used in Drama Therapy. This is a method in which the group members all share their stories with one another. Story sharing works, because it allows the addict to understand that others have shared in similar experiences.
  • Therapy Games are also done in a group. They help build trust, and companionship. In these games everyone ends up a winner so there are no feelings of resentment.
  • Art Therapy and Drama Therapy often go hand in hand. Puppet making, drawing, and in fact all creative arts can allow the addict to open creative doors that they never even knew existed.
  • Taking off the Mask is a wonderful therapy technique as well. The participants in the group hold masks to their faces, assume a character appropriate to the mask, and then take off the mask. This exercise allows the addict to realize that they have been wearing masks their entire lives, and gives them the opportunity to feel the exuberance of finally taking it off.

There are many other techniques available as well, but the point is, that when it comes to holistic treatment it is just that. A fully physical, fully emotional, and fully spiritual approach to treating the addiction allows for a much more complete chance at sustainable full system recovery.

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