June 21, 2024

GHB Withdrawal: Signs, Symptoms, & Treatment

image depicting ghb withdrawal

GHB is highly addictive and GHB withdrawal causes severe symptoms that can last for weeks. Withdrawal from this drug is a medical emergency that requires supervised detox.

Read on to learn about the withdrawal symptoms of GHB and discover how to connect with effective addiction treatment.

Signs of GHB Withdrawal

When someone stops using the drug, GHB withdrawal symptoms can start within hours because the drug leaves the body quickly. The first withdrawal signs include anxiety attacks, a rapid pulse, high blood pressure, and sweating.

For people who haven’t used GHB for long, these symptoms will improve after a few days. However, if someone has been using high doses of GHB for a long time, they may go through different stages of withdrawal. Mild withdrawal usually lasts 3 to 5 days. Severe withdrawal can last 2 weeks.

GHB Withdrawal Symptoms

Quitting GHB suddenly after long-term use can cause physical and mental withdrawal symptoms. The symptoms are most severe in those who use the drug frequently or in high doses for a long time.

Withdrawal symptoms of GHB can include:

  • When your body gets used to GHB, stopping suddenly can make you feel anxious and agitated.
  • People who often use GHB experience its calming effects, so they might have trouble sleeping when they stop.
  • Withdrawal from GHB can cause tremors, shaking, and even seizures as your body adjusts.
  • Your digestive system can also be affected, leading to nausea and vomiting.
  • Since GHB slows down the central nervous system, stopping it can cause your heart rate and blood pressure to go up.
  • In severe cases, people may experience hallucinations and delirium as their brains struggle without the drug.
  • Confusion and disorientation can also happen during GHB withdrawal.
  • Muscle cramps and joint pain are common, making it hard to move around comfortably.

The severity of these symptoms can be different for each person. Some might have mild symptoms, while others could face severe and long-lasting withdrawal. It’s always best to get medical advice if you or someone you know is going through GHB withdrawal.

Besides physical symptoms, GHB withdrawal can also cause psychological effects like depression, irritability, and mood swings. These can be tough to handle and might need support from a counselor or therapist.

man talking to therapist depicting ghb withdrawal symptoms

GHB Withdrawal Treatment

Withdrawal from GHB needs medical detox in a professional treatment facility.

GHB has relaxing and intoxicating effects similar to alcohol and benzodiazepines, which are widely abused and addictive substances. Since GHB acts on the same brain receptors as alcohol and benzodiazepines, it causes similar withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal can be complex, leading to post-acute withdrawal syndrome, and cause life-threatening symptoms.

Many detox facilities use small doses of benzos, especially long-acting Valium, to ease initial symptoms. Avoiding prolonged withdrawal and helping the body adjust can improve mood and physical well-being, reducing the risk of early relapse.

Other treatment protocols for GHB withdrawal include barbiturates, anticonvulsant medications, or antipsychotic medications. These can help with symptoms like sleeplessness, seizures, and hallucinations. Reducing psychological and physical distress is important for safe detox and entering a rehab program.

Medications are most effective when combined with behavioral therapy. Both inpatient and outpatient programs focus on changing thoughts and behaviors around drug use, further reducing the risk of relapse, overdose, and addiction.

GHB Withdrawal FAQs

How soon do GHB withdrawal symptoms appear?

GHB withdrawal symptoms may appear four hours after the last dose. These symptoms can include anxiety, tremors, insomnia, and sweating.

How long does GHB withdrawal last?

GHB withdrawal can last for several days to weeks, with symptoms peaking within the first few days and gradually improving over time. Seek medical help to manage withdrawal safely and reduce the risk of complications.

What are the dangers of GHB withdrawal?

The dangers of GHB withdrawal include hallucinations, seizures, potentially life-threatening delirium, and respiratory depression. Seek professional medical assistance during withdrawal to ensure safety and receive appropriate care.

image of gratitude lodge | ghb withdrawal treatment

Get Treatment for GHB Withdrawal at Gratitude Lodge

If you or a loved one is fighting addiction, we offer many treatment programs at Gratitude Lodge in California.

Begin your recovery from GHB abuse with medical detox at one of our rehabs in Long Beach or Newport Beach. You’ll be ready for ongoing inpatient treatment at one of our beachside centers after about one week.

All GHB addictions are different, so all our treatment programs offer tailored therapies. These include:

Take action against GHB addiction by calling our recovery experts at 800-994-2184.

Want to learn more?

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Jenni Bussi

Jenni Busse MS, LPCC

Jenni Busse MS, LPSS is the Clinical Director at Gratitude Lodge. Jenni oversees the clinical program and the clinical team at Gratitude Lodge as a whole. Jenni has worked in treatment for almost 14 years. Her background as a licensed therapist and her passion for helping others intersected with addiction recovery when she started working primarily in detox residential treatment.

Drug detox can vary according to the patient’s addiction factors, including the substance abused, how long the addiction has lasted, the patient’s medical condition, if any other disorders are present, and more. Our skilled and credentialed team at Gratitude Lodge work closely with every patient going through drug detox, facilitating the beginnings of a successful recovery at our rehab addiction centers in Orange County, CA.

Drug detox can vary according to the patient’s addiction factors, including the substance abused, how long the addiction has lasted, the patient’s medical condition, if any other disorders are present, and more. Our skilled and credentialed team at Gratitude Lodge work closely with every patient going through drug detox.

Many patients don’t realize the toxicity of prolonged alcohol abuse and how it affects the body. Alcohol detox at the luxurious rehab addiction centers at Gratitude Lodge leeches your body of these toxins in preparation for successful treatment for drugs and alcohol abuse. Alcohol detox may not take as long or produce severe withdrawal symptoms, but it is still an essential beginning to your recovery.

Many patients don’t realize the toxicity of prolonged alcohol abuse and how it affects the body. Alcohol detox at the luxurious rehab addiction centers at Gratitude Lodge leeches your body of these toxins in preparation for successful treatment for drugs and alcohol abuse.
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Our holistic therapy treatments offer a full-scope approach to recovery, addressing your mind, body, and emotions as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. This therapy is designed to help address underlying issues and integrate alternative therapies to promote overall health and well-being.
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An essential part of your treatment experience, we offer individual (CBT and DBT talk therapy) and group addiction treatment counseling to help you explore and address the emotional component of addiction, providing you with the tools, self-awareness, and empowerment you need to maintain recovery.
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Medication-Assisted Treatment provides you with FDA-approved medications to help ease the symptoms of withdrawal while you’re in treatment. This makes the detox process easier and safer, as well as increasing the chances of a successful recovery.
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Sober living provides a supportive and substance-free living environment for your ongoing recovery. We partner with a number of upscale and carefully vetted sober living homes that are available to our clients after inpatient alcohol and drug addiction treatment.
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Once detox and inpatient are complete, we provide an easy transition to outpatient care through our hand-selected partners. This program offers a more flexible approach, allowing you to ease back in to daily life while still receiving frequent & effective care.
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A crucial first step in the recovery process, our detox program provides a comfortable, medically supervised environment that addresses the physical aspect of addiction and eliminates substances from your body.
Joe Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been working in the addiction industry for half a decade and has been writing about addiction and substance abuse treatment during that time. He has experience working for facilities all across the country. Connect with Joe on LinkedIn.

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