Substance Use

GHB and Alcohol Substance Abuse

TABLE OF CONTENTSTable of Contents

hand pouring liquid ghb into liquor glass

Mixing Alcohol With GHB: What Are The Dangers?

People who use GHB often mix it with alcohol. This can be extremely dangerous and even life-threatening. In this blog post, we’ll explore the risks of simultaneous alcohol and GHB use, the long-term effects of mixing GHB and alcohol, and why people mix alcohol and GHB in the first place. 

GHB addiction can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms, including hallucinations and delirium. If you or a loved one needs help for GHB or alcohol abuse, call Zinnia Healing at (855) 430-9439.

GHB: What is it?

GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate or gamma-hydroxybutyric acid) is a central nervous system depressant initially developed as an anesthetic. Also called liquid ecstasy or Georgia Home Boy, GHB is associated with serious risks, including overdose and death. It’s often taken with other substances, including alcohol, other depressants, stimulants such as cocaine or methamphetamine, hallucinogens such as LSD, and marijuana. 

The Risks of Using Alcohol and GHB Together

Using alcohol with GHB can amplify its sedative effects. This is because both alcohol and GHB depress the activity of the central nervous system, leading to drowsiness, impaired motor function, and slowed thinking.

When used together, the effects of both drugs are magnified, increasing the risk of accidents and injuries, blackouts, respiratory depression, overdose, coma, and death.

How Does GHB Interact With Other Drugs?

GHB is often associated with raves and parties, where it’s known for its euphoric effects. In addition, it’s sometimes used as a date rape drug to facilitate sexual assaults due to its ability to reduce inhibitions and cause memory loss. People who use high levels of GHB and those who use multiple substances, including alcohol, have a greater risk of overdose.

Acute poisoning from drugs like GHB can lead to severe consequences like coma and death. Even if someone survives GHB poisoning, they may be left with brain damage that affects their cognition and memory.

Autopsies of people who have died from GHB poisoning indicate most die from:

  • Pulmonary edema: a condition that causes fluid to build up in the lungs.
  • Acute pneumonia: an infection of the lungs that causes difficulty breathing.
  • Vomitus aspiration: vomiting and breathing in the vomit.

Chronic use of GHB can dramatically affect your life in many ways. First, it can lead to dependence and addiction. As your body becomes accustomed to the presence of GHB, you will need to take larger and more frequent doses to achieve the same effects. This can lead to financial problems and difficulty maintaining a steady job or keeping up with schoolwork. In extreme cases, it can even lead to coma or death. If you or someone you know is struggling with GHB addiction, please seek professional help as soon as possible. With treatment, it is possible to recover and live a healthy, happy life.

For support, call Zinnia Healing at (855) 430-9439.

Long-Term Effects of Mixing GHB and Alcohol

As both GHB and alcohol are addictive substances, there is a risk of dependence on both drugs. Additionally, the withdrawal symptoms for GHB and alcohol are similar, meaning it can be difficult to stop using both substances without professional help.

As with alcohol withdrawal, there is also a risk of death from GHB withdrawal, so it is essential to detox under medical supervision.

How Does GHB Affect the Body?

The side effects of GHB are similar to alcohol and depend on the dose. Low doses of GHB can cause nausea, while high doses can lead to unconsciousness, seizures, slowed heart rate, considerably slowed breathing, lower body temperature, vomiting, nausea, coma, and death. GHB overdose is a medical emergency that requires immediate treatment. If you think someone has overdosed on GHB, call 911. 

What Part of the Brain Does GHB Effect?

GHB has a variety of effects on the brain. It increases levels of dopamine, which is associated with pleasure and reward. GHB also affects the endogenous opioid system, which helps regulate pain and emotions. 

What Are the Long-term Effects of GHB?

Like alcohol use, chronic GHB use can lead to tolerance, dependence, addiction, and withdrawal symptoms. Tolerance occurs when the body becomes less responsive to a given dose of GHB, leading users to escalate their dosage to achieve the desired effects. Dependence occurs when the body becomes so used to GHB that it cannot function properly without it. This can lead to severe withdrawal symptoms, including anxiety, insomnia, tremors, and increased heart rate and blood pressure. In some cases, psychotic thoughts have also been reported. 

It is common for those with GHB dependence to need frequent daily doses to avoid withdrawal symptoms. Some researchers report heavy users take it every 1-3 hours. People can develop a severe dependency on GHB within a year of first using it.

Why Do People Mix Alcohol and GHB?

Alcohol can help offset GHB’s taste, which can have a slightly salty or bitter aftertaste. Additionally, combining alcohol and GHB can lead to a more intense high. However, it is crucial to know that mixing these two substances can also be very dangerous. The combination can increase the likelihood of blackouts and accidental overdoses, so it’s vital to be careful if you mix alcohol and GHB.

What is the Treatment for GHB Addiction?

With proper treatment, GHB addicts can learn to manage their disorder and live healthy, productive lives. The treatment for GHB addiction is similar to the treatment for alcohol addiction. The first step in treatment is typically detoxification, which helps the body to rid itself of the toxic substances that have been ingested. Once detox is complete, the next step is usually counseling and therapy. This can help addicts understand the root causes of their addiction and develop coping skills to deal with triggers and cravings. In some cases, doctors may also prescribe medication to help manage symptoms. 

Zinnia Healing offers a comprehensive addiction treatment program to help you overcome GHB or other substance use disorders and build a foundation for lasting sobriety. Contact us today or give us a call at (855) 430-9439 to learn more about how we can help you on your journey to recovery from substance abuse. We work with most healthcare and insurance providers.