Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate (GHB) is most well known for its use as a date-rape drug1, as its common effects include drowsiness, loss of consciousness and the inability to recall events that took place while under the influence of the drug. However, GHB has recently found its way into the club scene, where users often space out doses so that the drug can simulate or enhance the effects of alcohol. Since GHB can come in a tasteless, colorless solution, it is possible for users to intoxicate themselves without feeling as though they are taking anything or consuming the calories one finds in a cocktail.
Symptoms of GHB Withdrawal
Like most drugs, however, it is possible to get addicted to GHB and the withdrawal symptoms from suddenly stopping the drug can be serious or even life threatening4. As the body attempts to readjust itself to the lack of GHB depressing its system, those suffering withdrawal have been known to exhibit:
- Muscle and Bone Aches
- Profuse Sweating
- Nausea and Vomiting
- Panic Attacks
- Increased Heart Rate and Blood Pressure
As even short-term recreational use of GHB can lead to addiction and withdrawal, it is important to seek help when attempting to stop the use of GHB. It is important to find an appropriate program for rehabilitation, as each case of addiction is different. Some people will find their addictions easier to break than others. However, it is important to know that GHB rehabilitation is a multi-phased, multi-faceted, long-term process.
Basic Cost of GHB Rehab
As with most long-term medical treatments, GHB Rehab can be expensive—especially when many HMOs will pay for only a fraction of the cost, if any at all. For those with a low level of addiction, it may be possible to recover solely through a medical detox program alone. Still, GHB withdrawal symptoms can last for 10 to 14 days6, which will require two weeks of medical treatment. Patients and their families can decide if an inpatient or outpatient program will be most beneficial for the patient, taking into account that inpatient programs will be more expensive than outpatient programs, which tend to start around $1000.
After detox, many patients will still need recovery help in the form of counseling, group meeting or other rehab programs. Of course the cost of each program varies from Addicts Anonymous meetings, which are generally free, to luxury rehab facilities, which can cost upwards of $30,0007.
Cost of GHB Rehabilitation Programs versus Not Treating Addiction
At $5 to $25 a dose, GHB seems to be one of the cheaper drugs addictions to maintain. However, when fully addicted, GHB users may begin to suffer withdrawal symptoms within four to six hours of not using, meaning that many users are taking up to six doses a day, or $30 to $150 worth of GHB every day. Even if a user is buying at the cheaper end of what’s available, the $1000 for an outpatient program could be made up within a couple months of no longer using.
About GHB Rehab Programs
Whether at an outpatient program or luxury rehab, the basics of the programs are the same. Rehab facilities will first help a patient to wade out the withdrawal symptoms in a way that will be safe for the patient and minimizes the symptoms as much as possible. Caregivers will then plan the best follow up treatment that will keep the patient from using again.
Admitting that help is needed is the hardest part of any recovery, but there is always help available. With the vast range of GHB rehab programs available, a health care professional will be able to help put together a program for any situation and any budget. All anyone has to do is ask.
Information on Date-Rape Drugs