GHB Detox, Withdrawal Symptoms, Timeline, Care & Treatment
Detoxing off GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate) should be done under the guidance and supervision of a healthcare professional, ideally in a detox center or rehabilitation facility. GHB is a central nervous system depressant that can be addictive and potentially dangerous when misused or taken in high doses. Read more about GHB detox timeline, withdrawal symptoms management, and proper treatment.
By We Level Up | Editor Yamilla Francese | Clinically Reviewed By Lauren Barry, LMFT, MCAP, QS, Director of Quality Assurance | Editorial Policy | Research Policy | Last Updated: May 12, 2023
GHB Detox Overview
One of the newest drugs people turn to is GHB or gamma-hydroxybutyric acid. If you face addiction and want to find sobriety, one of the most critical steps is undergoing GHB detox in a qualified addiction treatment center. At We Level Up, we offer GHB detox to help you commence your journey to long-term recovery. Treatment will begin by removing the GHB from your system while minimizing withdrawal symptoms. GHB detox is crucial to recovery; you will never want to go through it alone. We Level Up offers detox programs to help you avoid severe withdrawal symptoms and learn relapse prevention skills.
GHB is an illicit substance that targets the central nervous system. People use it to receive sedative, euphoric, or amnesic effects. The Drug Enforcement Administration categorizes GHB as a Schedule I drug because it has no therapeutic use and a high potential for misuse.
GHB has the street name “Liquid E” because it has similar effects to Ecstasy but is chemically very different from the party drug. GHB affects various neurotransmitters, including gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA inhibits certain kinds of brain activity, leading to feelings of relaxation and drowsiness. The powerful effects GHB has on the brain cause tolerance to develop quickly. When your body becomes accustomed to the substance and is no longer aware of how to function without it, you have an addiction and can experience withdrawal symptoms.
GHB Withdrawal Timeline
Some people may experience prolonged withdrawal symptoms, and others may have symptoms that last for a shorter period. Seeking medical help and support during GHB withdrawal is crucial for a safe and successful detox.
|6 to 12 hours after the previous dose.||Initial withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, tremors, and sweating may begin.|
|12 to 24 hours after the previous dose.||Withdrawal symptoms may intensify, including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea. Insomnia and restlessness may also occur.|
|24 to 72 hours after the previous dose.||Withdrawal symptoms may peak during this time, with symptoms such as hallucinations, delirium, and seizures becoming more common.|
|3 to 7 days after the previous dose.||Symptoms may start to subside during this time, although some symptoms, such as insomnia and anxiety, may persist.|
|7 to 14 days after the previous dose.||Many physical withdrawal symptoms may have resolved, but psychological GHB withdrawal symptoms such as depression and cravings may persist.|
GHB Withdrawal Symptoms
When you have an addiction to GHB, your body no longer remembers how to function without the drug, so if you stop using it, you can begin experiencing withdrawal from GHB. GHB has a short duration, and your body clears it quickly. This is why you may experience a relatively rapid onset of withdrawal, typically within a few hours after the previous drug use.
You can experience mild GHB withdrawal symptoms or more severe ones requiring prompt medical attention, so turning to a medical detox facility is right. This is especially important if you develop GHB withdrawal syndrome, which causes extreme withdrawal symptoms.
Symptoms of GHB withdrawal can include:
- Intense cravings.
- Increased heart rate.
- Excessive sweating.
- Increased blood pressure.
- Muscle cramps.
- Overactive reflexes.
We Level Up offers safe medical detox programs to help with GHB withdrawal symptoms. We begin by performing a thorough mental and physical assessment of your physical and psychological health. This will allow us to find the proper medications to treat the addiction and any co-occurring mental health conditions you may have. This information will enable us to assemble the right treatment program for your needs.
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GHB Withdrawal Treatment
If your GHB withdrawal symptoms are mild to moderate, you may experience anxiety, tremors, and insomnia but remain lucid. You are also at a lesser risk for severe health complications. Inpatient GHB detoxification is an advised treatment at this stage.
To treat GHB withdrawal with acute symptoms, we may turn to sedative-hypnotic agents, such as diazepam, or barbiturates, like phenobarbital and pentobarbital. We may also turn to anticonvulsant medications to help you if you develop physical tremors. We will monitor your pulse, mental status, and vital signs 24/7 and adjust medications to control psychological and physical distress.
The expected time required for GHB detoxification is about 10 to 14 days. After detoxification, once you no longer have GHB withdrawal symptoms, you can begin your addiction treatment, including participating in the therapies we offer at We Level Up.
GHB Drug Facts
Understanding GHB Addiction
People with loved ones or close relatives who have an addiction to GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate) are also more likely to develop this condition. Your environment can also influence addiction, as can trauma and other mental health concerns.
GHB has such powerful, relaxing, and intoxicating effects that people with anxiety disorders and other co-occurring conditions may use it to self-medicate their symptoms.
Some of the signs of a GHB addiction include:
- Using GHB despite its harmful effects.
- Spending time acquiring, taking, or recovering from GHB.
- Slurred speech.
- Depressed breathing.
- Lowered body temperature.
- Lowered heart rate.
- Excessive sweating.
- Loss of muscle control.
- Increased sensitivity to light and sound.
- Memory loss.
- Decreased anxiety.
- Lowered inhibitions.
Common or GHB Street Names
GHB is dangerous but can be fatal if combined with other depressants, including alcohol. This is because central nervous system depressants affect breathing and heart rate, slowing them down to dangerous levels.
Below are some of the common GHB street names:
- Date Rape Drug.
- Forget Pill.
- Forget-Me Pill.
- La Rocha.
- Lunch Money.
- Mexican Valium.
- Mind Eraser.
- Roach 2.
- Rochas Dos.
Overdosing is another concern for people who use GHB. Some of the signs of GHB overdose include:
- Loss of consciousness.
- Slowed heartbeat.
- Respiratory depression.
- Extreme confusion.
- High blood pressure.
- Anxiety attacks.
- Uncontrollable shaking.
If you have a GHB addiction, you need help to avoid risking your life. We Level Up offers inpatient programs to help with substance use disorders.
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GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate) abuse is a growing problem worldwide, particularly among young adults. GHB is also commonly abused in the bodybuilding and fitness communities as a performance-enhancing drug to aid muscle recovery. However, GHB is highly addictive, and regular use can lead to tolerance, dependence, and addiction. Withdrawal from GHB can be dangerous and potentially life-threatening, and medical supervision is required during detox.
Among US citizens aged 12 and older, 37.3 million have an addiction.
In 2019, roughly 66,000 Americans aged 12 or older had used GHB in the past year.
GHB is one of the most used substances in drug-facilitated sexual assault, with estimates suggesting that it is involved in 50-75% of such cases.
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Inpatient Treatment for GHB Addiction
Medical supervision is vital, as GHB’s physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms can disturb you. The critical thing to remember with GHB addiction treatment is that you are not alone.
At We Level Up, we offer inpatient treatment for GHB addiction. Once we stabilize you and you are through the GHB detox process, you can begin addiction therapy sessions, where you can explore the causes of why you started using GHB. This will help you prevent a relapse. Behavioral therapies may include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), group therapy, motivational interviewing, and family therapy.
Support groups are essential for addiction patients, and we offer them at our center. They can help you feel less alone with substance abuse. There are also evidence-based therapy options that can help you understand your GHB use.
We Level Up addiction treatment centers have supervision and a safe and supportive setting where you can delve into the cause of the addiction and what may be stopping you from recovering. If you have a dual diagnosis and a co-occurring mental health condition, we will create a personalized treatment program to help you with both needs. Treating one illness without the other can cause treatment to fail, so our intake process will focus on understanding whether you have mental health conditions that may impact your chances of recovering.
GHB Detox Protocol
GHB detox should be conducted under medical supervision due to the potential for severe GHB withdrawal symptoms. Here is a general GHB detox protocol that may be followed:
- Evaluation: The first step in GHB detox is an evaluation by a medical professional. The assessment will help determine the severity of addiction and the appropriate treatment plan.
- Medications: Medications may be used during GHB detox to help manage withdrawal symptoms. These medications may include benzodiazepines to help with anxiety, seizures, and other symptoms.
- Fluids and electrolytes: GHB withdrawal can cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalances. Ensuring that the individual undergoing detox is appropriately hydrated and their electrolyte levels are monitored and managed is critical.
- Nutritional support: Nutritional support may help restore the individual’s physical health. This may include vitamins, minerals, and other supplements.
- Psychological support: GHB addiction can have a significant impact on mental health. Psychological support, such as therapy and counseling, may be provided to help manage mental health symptoms during detox.
- Gradual tapering: Gradual tapering may be used during GHB detox to help reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms. This involves gradually decreasing the GHB dose over days or weeks until the individual no longer uses the drug.
- Aftercare: Aftercare is an essential part of GHB detox. This may include continued therapy and counseling, support groups, and other resources to help prevent relapse.
How Long Does GHB Stay In Your System?
GHB is not detectable by most standard drug tests, and specialized tests may be expensive and require specialized equipment and expertise. Suppose you are concerned about being tested for GHB. In that case, it’s essential to speak with a medical professional or drug testing company to determine the specific tests that may be used and to seek guidance on how to prepare for testing. Here is a general timeline for how long GHB can be detected in different parts of the body:
|Blood.||GHB can typically be detected in blood for up to 12 hours after the last use.|
|Urine.||GHB can typically be detected in urine for up to 12-24 hours after the last use.|
|Saliva.||GHB can typically be detected in saliva 6-12 hours after use.|
|Hair.||GHB can be detected in hair for up to several months after use.|
GHB can have a cumulative effect, meaning it builds up in the body after repeated use. This can increase the risk of GHB overdose and other health complications. It’s crucial to seek medical help and support if you or someone you’re concerned with is struggling with GHB addiction. Withdrawal from GHB can be detrimental and potentially life-threatening, and medical supervision is required during detox.
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Withdrawal GHB Management
GHB withdrawal (gamma-hydroxybutyrate) can be difficult and potentially painful and should be managed under medical supervision. GHB produces withdrawal because it can cause physical dependence when used regularly and in high doses. When the brain is exposed to GHB over an extended period, it can adapt to the presence of the drug and become dependent on it to function normally. As a result, when GHB use is suddenly stopped or reduced, the brain can experience a range of withdrawal symptoms as it tries to readjust to functioning without the drug.
Drug detox, or detoxification, eliminates drugs or other substances from the body and manages withdrawal symptoms. The GHB detox process can vary based on the type of drugs, the severity of the substance use disorder, and other individual factors, but it generally involves the following steps:
- Evaluation: Before detox begins, the individual undergoes a comprehensive evaluation to assess their overall health, the severity of the substance use disorder with GHB, and any co-occurring mental health or medical conditions that may require specialized treatment.
- Stabilization: In this phase, the individual is prepared for detox, which may involve gradually tapering off the drug or using medication to manage withdrawal symptoms. This phase may also include addressing any medical or mental health issues.
- Medical detox: During medical detox, the individual undergoes detoxification while under medical supervision to ensure their safety and comfort. This may involve medication to manage withdrawal symptoms, closely monitoring vital signs, and other measures to manage potential complications.
- Transition to treatment: Once detox is complete, the individual may transition to ongoing treatment, such as therapy, counseling, or other forms of addiction treatment. This phase is designed to help the individual address the underlying causes that contributed to their substance abuse and develop strategies for long-term recovery.
GHB detox program aims to help the individual safely and comfortably withdraw from the drug and begin recovery. The process can be challenging and involve physical and psychological discomfort, but overcoming addiction and achieving lasting recovery is possible with the proper support and care.
Therapies After GHB Detox
After completing detox from GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate), it’s essential to continue with ongoing treatment and therapies to address the underlying issues or problems that led to the addiction and develop strategies for long-term recovery. Here are some standard behavioral and pharmacotherapies that may be used after GHB detox:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT): CBT is a talk therapy that concentrates on distinguishing and changing negative thought patterns and behaviors that contribute to addiction. It can help individuals develop coping skills and strategies to manage cravings and prevent relapse.
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT): DBT combines elements of CBT with mindfulness practices to help individuals develop skills for managing intense emotions and improving interpersonal relationships.
- Group therapy: Group therapy can be a valuable part of addiction treatment, providing individuals with a supportive environment to share experiences, gain insights, and develop a sense of community.
- Family therapy: Family therapy programs can help people and their loved ones acknowledge and address addiction-related issues and develop strategies for improved communication, boundaries, and support.
- Medication-assisted treatment (MAT): MAT involves using medications, such as naltrexone or buprenorphine, in combination with therapy to help manage cravings and prevent relapse.
- Aftercare: Post-detox treatment aims to provide individuals with the support they require to achieve long-term recovery and enhance their overall quality of life. This may involve continuous treatment, support groups, and other tools to aid in maintaining sobriety and preventing relapse.
Get GHB Detox & Addiction Treatment
If you have an addiction to GHB, the most significant resolution you can make is to reach out to a qualified and accredited addiction treatment center. GHB use is hazardous, and the withdrawal process requires close medical supervision to ensure safety. At We Level Up, we can offer some of the leading therapies to help you overcome your addiction while also making it possible for you to remain comfortable and free of severe cravings as you engage in treatment. Call We Level Up today to get started with GHB detox.
Top 3 GHB Withdrawal Treatment FAQs
What are the coping mechanisms for GHB withdrawal?
GHB withdrawal can be dangerous and should be done under medical supervision. It is recommended that individuals seek medical help if they are experiencing GHB withdrawal symptoms. A doctor can provide medications to manage symptoms and monitor the individual’s progress. Therapy can also help individuals address the underlying issues that led to GHB use and provide strategies to avoid relapse.
How to detox GHB safely?
Detoxing from GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate) can be dangerous and should always be done under medical supervision. Abruptly stopping GHB use can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms, including seizures and delirium, which can be life-threatening.
What are the withdrawal symptoms of GHB?
GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate) is a central nervous system depressant often used as a party drug or a sleep aid. Withdrawal from GHB can be challenging and may include symptoms such as anxiety, tremors, and seizures.
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 GHB and Analogs Fast Facts – Department of Justice Available from: https://www.justice.gov/archive/ndic/pubs4/4532/4532p.pdf
 Drug Fact Sheet: GHB – Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Available from: https://www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2020-06/GHB-2020_0.pdf
 GHB and Analogs Fast Facts – Department of Justice (DOJ) Available from: https://www.justice.gov/archive/ndic/pubs4/4532/index.htm
 Gamma Hydroxybutyric Acid (Street Names: GHB, G, Gina, Liquid Ecstasy, Liquid X, Liquid G, Goop, Georgia Home Boy, Grievous Bodily Harm, Easy Lay) – Available from: https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_chem_info/ghb.pdf
 GHB – Gamma-Hydroxybutyric Acid – Get Smart About Drugs – Available from: https://www.getsmartaboutdrugs.gov/drugs/ghb-gamma-hydroxybutyric-acid
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 Club Drugs (GHB, Ketamine, and Rohypnol) – US Veterans Affairs
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