What is GHB (Gamma- HydroxyButyrate)?

GHB (Gamma- HydroxyButyrate) is a chemical that is found in the brain, it is also manufactured in laboratories for various medical purposes. GHB gained its popularity being used as a dietary supplement in the U.S. However due to serious safety concerns the drug was taken off the market in 1990. It then became know to be the “date rape drug” at which time it became illegal throughout the US to sell or purchase without a medical prescription.

GHB is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treatment of narcolepsy. Illegally GHB is sold as a dietary supplement because of its ability to decrease the users appetite and increasing the users energy.  GHB has been studied for treatment of alcohol and drug dependence, showing benefits to the addict in treatment. Patients receiving treatment with GHB medications are carefully monitored by the prescribing physician because the drug has a high risk of tolerance and dependency.

GHB Drug Use

Medical Use

GHB is an a schedule I controlled substance that is only available for medical purpose. GHB has been used for weight loss, muscle building, and relief of some fibromyalgia symptoms including pain, fatigue, sleep problems and treatment of alcohol or opioid withdrawal. GHB is approved in the treatment of for treatment of narcolepsy and paralysis due to narcolepsy.

Recreational Use

GHB affects several nerve pathways in the brain. It is commonly abused because of its ability to create euphoric, stimulant, sedative, and sexual effects.
Prolong use of GHB can result in the user developing a tolerance, requiring larger doses to acheive the desired effects. As doses and frequency of its use increases the user is at great risk of developing an physical and psychological dependency to the drug. When stopping the use of GHB abruptly the user will experience withdrawal symptoms that can be painful and overwhelming.

Signs and Symptoms of GHB (Gamma- HydroxyButyrate) Addiction

A person who is addicted to GHB (Gamma- HydroxyButyrate) is overwhelmed by the thoughts and actions of using the drug. Regardless to if they were prescribed a GHB (Gamma- HydroxyButyrate) medication or are taking the drug illegally its prolonged use can lead to a tolerance and dependency developing that is followed by withdrawal syndrome when stopping its use.

Signs of GHB (Gamma- HydroxyButyrate) Addiction

  • Intentionally misusing medication
  • Unable to stop its use
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms
  • Cravings
  • Loss of interest in usual activities
  • Trouble at work, school and home
  • Difficulties in personal relationships
  • Financial hardship
  • Health effects due to GHB (Gamma- HydroxyButyrate) abuse

Symptoms of GHB (Gamma- HydroxyButyrate) Withdrawal

The onset of withdrawal symptoms due to GHB (Gamma- HydroxyButyrate) dependnecy is rapid, occurring 1 to 6 hours after the last dose. These symptoms are prolonged at 5 to 15 days. Withdrawal symptoms commonly include:

  • psychotic and severely agitated
  • tachycardia and hypertension
  • prolonged delirium
  • auditory and visual hallucinations
  • Diaphoresis
  • nausea
  • vomiting


GHB (Gamma- HydroxyButyrate) Addiction Treatment

GHB (Gamma- HydroxyButyrate) dependency and withdrawal are overwhelming and a serious health risk to the individual. This is why medical professionals strongly advise patients with an GHB (Gamma- HydroxyButyrate) addiction to seek treatment from a rehab center.

Within an rehab center the patient will be weened off GHB during the detoxification process. This period allows the body to be cleansed of the chemicals and toxins related to its abuse in a safe and therapeutic environment that will offer 24-7 supportive care to ensure the safety of the patient. Psychotherapy sessions will help the patient to work through their psychological addiction to GHB and to focus on developing the tools needed to maintain their sobriety.