How Does GHB Addiction Treatment Work?
GHB, or Gamma Hydroxybutyrate (C4H8O3), is a central nervous system depressant, naturally produced in small amounts by the brain. GHB is traceable in certain meats, beer, and wine; with the average liter of wine containing between 4 and 21 mg of GHB. Commonly used as a ‘party drug’ by teens and young adults in the club scene, confiscated illicit GHB holds between 500 to 3,000 mg of GHB, a drastic difference when compared to the trace amounts naturally occurring in wine. The drug, popularly known as “Georgia Homeboy,” is found in liquid, tablet, powder, and capsule forms. But what makes GHB so renowned is its odorless, tasteless, and colorless appearance, rendering it undetectable to victims of “date rape.” GHB can cause serious addiction issues, which may require professional treatment.
Some symptoms of GHB abuse include:
- Difficulty thinking
- Slurred speech
- Increased sex drive
Though the effects of GHB vary, when used regularly, it is known to be highly addictive and to cause severe consequences for the user.
Types Of GHB Addiction Treatment
Acknowledging the need for help is one of the most significant leaps a person can make towards recovery. By finding treatment for GHB addiction, a recovering user can gain back control of their life.
There are many forms of treatment available, but the first milestone towards a successful GHB recovery is detoxification. If the person is an intense user, they may experience overwhelming withdrawal symptoms during detox. But even in severe cases of GHB withdrawal, one of the best ways to cleanse the body, prevent discomfort, and avoid complications is through a well-managed medication-assisted treatment (MAT).
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GHB Addiction Medication
During a medication-assisted treatment, a recovering user may be prescribed medications to assist them with relief from physical and emotional withdrawal discomforts like tremors, cravings, and anxiety.
Medicine commonly used to relieve GHB withdrawal symptoms include:
Benzodiazepines are used to reduce acute anxiety or panic, as well as longer-term anxiety disorders.
Used to suppress hyperactivity in the brain, prevent seizures, and to calm the patient.
Antihypertensive medications are used to help lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of a heart attack.
Antidepressants help in the restoration of serotonin in the brain and assists with depression and anxiety.
Though there are no proven treatment medications for GHB addiction, a combination of the prescriptions listed above, coupled with other forms of therapy like counseling and aftercare support, can dramatically increase a patient’s success rate. The intensity of GHB withdrawal symptoms can vary by the day. The best way to ensure a safe recovery with MAT is through professional supervision in an inpatient treatment facility.
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Inpatient Rehabilitation For GHB Addiction
When going through a medically assisted treatment, a healthcare professional’s supervision is necessary to avoid any possible lethal complications. The safest way of ensuring a successful completion of MAT is by opting in for inpatient rehabilitation. There are many versions of inpatient rehab, but they all involve patients living in a residential facility.
A typical inpatient facility can offer its guests the benefits of:
- Structure – A sober environment.
- Individualized medical care – Time to heal.
- Space to break the cycle of addiction – A positive community.
- Professional guidance and support – Reduced chance of relapse.
Inpatient facilities provide recovering users with the means to break away from triggers, enablers, and daily stresses. These facilities were designed to allow their guests to recover from addictions in a safe space.
Though recovery time varies and depends on every individual’s unique needs, inpatient treatment for GHB rehabilitation ranges from 30 to 60 days. In some cases where extra care is needed, treatment can last up to a year or longer.
If a person has attempted sobriety before and failed or has tried several other therapies to recover from GHB addiction unsuccessfully, inpatient care may be their best choice. This form of treatment offers the most thorough and constant immersion into recovery, providing patients a real chance at success.
Outpatient Rehabilitation For GHB Addiction
If committing to inpatient rehabilitation is not an option, outpatient rehabilitation is an excellent part-time option. Outpatient rehab programs offer the choice of recovering while maintaining an ongoing work or school schedule. This option may be great for people with a busy schedule and mild-to-moderate drug withdrawal symptoms.
Compared to an inpatient program, outpatient facilities are less intensive. A typical outpatient schedule requires recovering users to visit a local treatment center for 10 to 12 hours a week with the average outpatient detox period lasting 6 to 7 days. The program can last 3 to 6 months or over a year depending on an individual’s needs. Meetings are usually conducted early in the morning or at night to help patients maintain their regular schedule.
A typical outpatient schedule can include:
- Drug abuse education
- Relapse prevention education
- Group counseling
- Individual counseling
- Coping mechanism skills
Outpatient sessions focus on helping recovering users adapt, learn, and cope with their new life without the drug.
During detox, outpatients must have periodic mental and physical check-ups by visiting clinicians at a certified medical facility, like a hospital or treatment center. During their visit the medical specialist can assist the patient with acute withdrawal symptoms by prescribing them medications to help alleviate their discomfort.
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Therapies For GHB Addiction Treatment
Once an individual begins to recover from the physical and emotional withdrawals of GHB, other forms of therapy can begin. Often there are plenty of therapeutic options for addiction treatment offered at inpatient facilities. Below are a few of the most popular and currently used therapies:
- Equine therapy
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Art therapy
- Dialectical behavioral therapy
- Music therapy
- Animal-assisted therapy
- MET for Addiction
- Psychodynamic Therapy
- Biofeedback Therapy
- Meditation Therapy
The majority of these therapies help past users learn how to adapt and cope with life’s external pressures. By participating in their recovery and learning new healthy coping mechanisms, individuals can change their behavior for the better.
Continuing GHB Addiction Treatment
Recovering from GHB abuse is an ongoing journey that continues after rehab. Once a patient leaves a facility, it is solely up to them to avoid the old patterns that led them to addiction.
Individuals can significantly benefit from long term programs outside of rehabilitation like Narcotics and Cocaine Anonymous or GHB recovery support groups. Recovered users must find the support they need to continue succeeding in their sobriety, whether through their networks or external ones. Having the assistance of a group or community is encouraging and healing by feeling a sense of belonging and acknowledgment once addicts can learn to prosper in a new life free of GHB.
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Are you or a loved one ready to take the next step towards recovery? If you or someone you care about needs information about rehab or detox services, reach out to a treatment provider today.