Liquid ecstasy is the new name for GHB. Also known as 4-hydroxybutanoic acid, it is a naturally occurring psychoactive drug and neurotransmitter. GHB is used in medical settings as an anesthetic to treat depression, sleeping disorders and in some cases, alcoholism. On the streets, its common name is liquid ecstasy. It’s used by fitness enthusiasts, as an intoxicant in clubs, but also as a date rape drug. For the sake of this article, we will focus the information on liquid ecstasy as an intoxicant.
What are the effects of liquid ecstasy?
In the mid to late 90’s GHB was becoming increasingly common on the club scene throughout North America and Europe. It was easy to get and cheap. After a few years its popularity decreased; this was more than likely due to a bad reputation as being a date rape drug. As it faded, ecstasy or MDMA became the go-to substance. These drugs are completely different in chemical makeup and are not related. However, the effects are similar.
As of 2015, liquid ecstasy use is on the rise. In small amounts liquid ecstasy acts as a stimulant and produces euphoric like effects. It helps a person to become more social and empathetic while losing one’s inhibitions. A low dose lasts between 1.5 and 4 hours. In higher doses, liquid ecstasy becomes a central nervous system depressant. It induces nausea, drowsiness, agitation, dizziness, visual impairment, slowed breathing, unconsciousness and in certain instances, death.
Abusers of liquid ecstasy often mix the drug with alcohol or benzodiazepines. This enhances the effects by influencing the same neurotransmitter, GABA, in the brain. This cocktail can produce serious side effects including respiratory arrest, vomiting, choking, coma and death.
Apart from its current most common name, liquid ecstasy, the drug may be referred to as lollipops, liquid X, liquid E, Mils, Fantasy, G, Liquid G and Georgia Home Boy.
- In 2001, GHB was made a Schedule IV of the 1971 UN Convention on Psychotropic Substances. (1)
- Liquid ecstasies’’ effects can begin within 10 minutes to one hour after the initial dose. (1)
- According to one survey of clubbers, the average age of liquid ecstasy users is 22 years. (1)
- GHB was first created by Alexander Zaytsev in 1474. (2)
- The DEA reports that since 1992, there have been at least 3500 confirmed overdoses on GHB in the United States. (3)
The Biggest Users of Liquid Ecstasy
Although most people associate clubbers and ravers as the biggest users of liquid ecstasy, it’s actually bodybuilders and athletes who take the lead. This is because GHB can be used as a weight loss supplement or workout aid. Other users include people who are extremely depressed and turn to the drug as a means of escape. It is rumoured to be heavily used amongst business professionals, but this is not confirmed.
Liquid Ecstasy Addiction
Contrary to what some people may believe, it is possible to develop an addiction to liquid ecstasy even after small short term use. After 2 or 3 days of using, disruption in the brains’ circuitry can lead to cravings and compulsive use of the drug. Although the research is limited, researchers have linked liquid ecstasy addiction to cognitive or memory impairment, respiratory damage, cardiovascular problems and liver damage. There is also a high risk of STD’s, pregnancy and hepatitis.
Withdrawing from a GHB Addiction
It’s common for people to feel mild symptoms of a withdrawal after one or two days use; often the weekend. This can be mistaken for a hangover and can be “treated” with more GHB. Unfortunately, this is a go to solution for many users and leads to abuse, addiction or serious health consequences.
Further research is needed to fully understand a withdrawal from liquid ecstasy. Physical symptoms can appear in people who have ceased using the drug after a few days of consecutive use. Symptoms could include anxiety, insomnia, nausea, chest pain or tightness, muscle aches, sensitivity to sound or light, dysphoria, seizures and mental impairment. These symptoms can last between 2 days and 4 weeks. There have been people who struggle to cope with these withdrawal symptoms and require the assistance of a detoxification and rehab center. This is more frequent in heavy liquid ecstasy users.
Some liquid ecstasy users will attempt to withdrawal on their own. Because the effects can be so severe, they may use benzodiazepines or alcohol to lessen them. Self medicating any drug withdrawal without medical supervision can be extremely dangerous. It’s highly recommended to consult a doctor or rehab before going cold turkey (quitting on your own).
Treating Liquid Ecstasy Addiction
Please note Serenity Rehab in Thailand can not detox people from GHB, if you are physically dependant on this drug you will need to fully detox in a medical facility prior to being admitted to Serenity.
Treating an addiction to liquid ecstasy, or GHB, requires a multidisciplinary approach. A GHB addiction not only will involve a physical withdrawal and cravings, but also psychological cravings and more than likely underlying issues for using.
A rehab for psychoactive drug addictions, such as liquid ecstasy, can be the most effective way to overcome an addiction in a safe and healthy manner. Depending on the severity of the addiction, a GHB detoxification may be necessary. This is on a case by case basis and will be discussed with the center.
Serenity Chiang Rai is a rehab in Thailand which treats people addicted to GHB. With a foundation of a 12 step program, we complete the treatment with a wide range of therapies including individual, counselling, journaling, CBT and more. These help a person to identify the reasons for using as well as those which led to the abuse and addiction. We strongly believe fitness and nutrition is a vital part of getting clean and sober. Our state of the art gym, yoga and fitness sessions will help a person to release chemicals in the brain to help them feel good. Depression, stress and anxiety are alleviated and self confidence is increased.
Upon completion of our liquid ecstasy rehab program, individuals will feel physically good and mentally balanced. They will leave with a plan to keep them on the right tract and the strength to keep them going in the right direction. If you would like to know more about our rehab treatment program for GHB, contact Serenity Chiang Rai today.