The use of drugs for recreational purposes has become common. A new addition rapidly gaining popularity among party goers for its euphoric effects is the depressant drug GHB (liquid ecstasy).
Despite its familiar name, it is vital to note that it is not related to ecstasy as both substances differ chemically and pharmacologically.
From ecstasy and ketamine to meth and cocaine, an increasing number of people, especially teens and young adults are using drugs to intensify their musical and social experiences.
As a depressant, Gamma hydroxybutyrate, or GHB, affects the central nervous system by altering activity in the brain. While GHB has some medical uses, such as treating narcolepsy and cataplexy and providing relief from some fibromyalgia symptoms, it is mainly used for its euphoric and stimulant effects today and is popular in the club and party scene. GHB also enhances sexual feelings and is considered to be an aphrodisiac.
How is GHB used?
Better known by its street name liquid ecstasy, GHB is available in liquid and powder form, rarely as a crystal powder. It is a colorless and odorless substance injected or taken by mouth, most often mixed with drinks like alcohol. Some users believe it to be tasteless, while others report it has a mild and salty flavor.
Liquid ecstasy is also frequently combined with other drugs like meth, cocaine, and MDMA. The combination of these drugs can make liquid ecstasy potentially lethal.
When slipped into a drink, it is virtually undetectable, making the other person vulnerable to being taken advantage of when taken unsuspectingly.
As it is a sedative that causes drowsiness and temporary memory loss, the victim’s usually can not recall what happened to them. The drug has been used in several cases of sexual assault and accordingly became notorious as a date rape drug.
Effects of GHB
As an illicit drug, there is no safe range of usage for liquid ecstasy, and taking it poses several health risks to the user. The effects of GHB may vary per person depending upon certain factors like the amount taken and body composition.
GHB causes euphoria, relaxation, hypersexual behavior, and memory loss. Those who take GHB also report restful sleep and heightened sociability – they become social butterflies!
Common side effects
Due to its high potency, liquid ecstasy produces profound effects on the human body, including
adverse side effects. Some of the most common short-term side effects of GHB include gastrointestinal upset, headaches, excess sweating, blurred vision, and lethargy. Neurological effects can include lethargy and confusion.
Severe side effects
It is essential to know that there is a thin line between ingesting liquid ecstasy at the correct levels and consuming too much of it. GHB is an addictive and potentially deadly substance, and its use always carries the risk of unintentional overdose. Cases of GHB intoxication requiring emergency care have sharply risen due to overdosing. High doses of GHB might lead to:
- Respiratory distress
- Kidney or liver failure
The risks of these dangerous and potentially fatal consequences increase manifold when liquid ecstasy is taken with other depressants as it is a very potent substance. Seeking medical attention immediately is vital for some who experience any adverse reactions from the drug as it can be potentially life-threatening.
As it is a highly addictive drug, liquid ecstasy might lead to physical dependence on the substance. Users develop tolerance rapidly, and substance use disorder is common.
Giving up liquid ecstasy is challenging without seeking professional support. Onset is rapid, and stopping use can result in mild to severe withdrawal symptoms as the body readjusts to function without the drug.
Symptoms start to occur within a few hours and can last up to two weeks or even months. Symptoms after withdrawal vary in intensity and can include nausea, insomnia, anxiety, depression, tremors, and delirium.
Users who suddenly discontinue from high doses might require medical attention and even experience potentially fatal symptoms, like seizures or cardiac arrest. Accordingly, if you wish to stop taking liquid ecstasy, it is crucial to consult a medical professional before proceeding.
GHB or liquid ecstasy is a highly potent and addictive depressant with several dangers associated with it. While there are various treatment options available to deal with GHB dependence, including detoxification and counseling, the best way to stay safe from its unwanted effects is to avoid the substance entirely.