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Gamma-Hydroxybutyrate (GHB) addiction is a serious problem in the US. Teens and young adults commonly use the Central Nervous System (CNS) Depressant. The prolonged use of GHB is associated with negative brain changes. What makes GHB so dangerous is its odorless, tasteless, and colorless appearance. It is almost undetectable without the proper lab equipment. Even with the right tools, only 1-5% of the dose of GHB is recoverable. Its detection window is also short and lasts about 3-10 hours. GHB’s potency and undetectable nature mean it’s often used in the commission of sexual assault.
When a GHB user takes the drug, they may experience a feeling of joy. Afterward, the individual may feel drowsy and choose to rest. During that time, there are no indications of negative side effects following the drug encounter. However, studies found that GHB use negatively affects its users’ physical, mental, and emotional health. These damaging effects can result in reduced long-term memory, working memory, and IQ.
Other destructive symptoms of GHB addiction include:
- Difficulty thinking
- Slurred speech
- Higher levels of stress and anxiety
Though GHB addiction may result in severe consequences for the user, there is treatment available.
GHB Addiction Treatment
Finding GHB addiction treatment is possible. The first step is to acknowledge the need for change. An individual must decide that they are ready to regain control of their lives. Being self-determined and committed is correlated with a higher recovery rate.
Treatment for GHB addiction usually begins with a detox plan. Since GHB has a high level of physical dependence, clearing a patient’s system is generally prioritized. During the system’s detoxification, individuals may experience overwhelming withdrawal symptoms. In this stage, it is crucial to watch patients and avoid life-threatening withdrawal syndromes. Due to the complex nature of GHB addiction, the safest treatments are in inpatient rehabs.
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GHB Addiction Treatment And Inpatient Rehabs
GHB addiction treatment at an inpatient rehab has a higher chance of recovery. Inpatient facilities offer their clients the opportunity to heal away from familiar and negative triggers. They are designed to allow their guests to recover from addictions in a safe space.
A typical inpatient facility can offer its guests the benefits of:
- A sober environment
- Individualized medical care
- Space to break the cycle of addiction
- A positive community
- Professional guidance and support
- Reduced chance of relapse
The length of time at an inpatient facility varies per individual. On average, GHB rehabilitation can take between 30 and 60 days. If extra care is needed, treatment can last up to a year or longer, depending on the patient’s unique needs. During their stay, individuals receive personalized care. In detox, a healthcare professional may recommend medically-assisted treatment (MAT). MAT helps ease withdrawal symptoms and avoids any possible lethal complications. During MAT at an inpatient facility, patients receive round-the-clock professional’s supervision to ensure their safety.
Medications commonly used to relieve GHB withdrawal symptoms include:
- Benzodiazepines (for anxiety).
- Anticonvulsants (to suppress hyperactivity and prevent seizures).
- Antihypertensive medications (to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of a heart attack).
- Antidepressants (to restore serotonin in the brain and assist with depression or anxiety).
A combination of the listed treatments above is typically used when treating GHB addiction. MATs assist patients with crippling withdrawal symptoms, but a true recovery requires therapy. To further increase recovery, a healthcare professional may recommend a combination of science-based treatment like counseling or aftercare support.
Many inpatient rehab facilities may offer a variety of therapies like:
- Equine therapy
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Art therapy
- Dialectical behavioral therapy
- Animal-assisted therapy
- TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Therapy)
- EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing)
- MET (Motivational Enhancement Therapy)
- Psychodynamic therapy
- NAD (Nicotinamide Adenine Dinucleotide IV Therapy)
- Biofeedback therapy
- Meditation therapy
Though receiving GHB addiction treatment at an inpatient rehab is the best way to ensure complete recovery, it is not always possible. For those who cannot attend inpatient rehab, there is another option.
GHB Addiction Treatment And Outpatient Rehabs
GHB addiction treatment in outpatient rehab is an excellent option for individuals who cannot go away for treatment. Outpatient rehabs offer their guests part-time treatment options. Treatment can last 3 to 6 months or over a year, depending on an individual’s needs. Outpatient rehab detoxes last an average of 6 to 7 days. These programs are less restrictive and typically only require a few weekly visits to a local treatment center. Outpatient facilities usually expect 10 to 12 hours of weekly commitment. Meetings are generally conducted early in the morning or at night. The time frames help patients receive the help they need without interrupting their regular schedule. Patients who opt-in for outpatient rehab can recover in a safe space while still attending to their responsibilities.
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Find Rehab Services For GHB Addiction
Whether a person chooses inpatient or outpatient therapy depends on their unique needs. The most important thing to remember is that the easiest way to recover is by asking for help. Treatment at these facilities provides patients a real chance at success. If a person had attempted sobriety before and failed, finding a facility to assist during their recovery is a good choice. If you or someone you care about is struggling with a GHB addiction, reach out to a treatment provider today.
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