Sometimes it seems like stress is going to overwhelm us.
There is always a new deadline to meet. There is always a challenging relationship to manage—at home, at work, or both. There are bills to pay (when is that due?), and household upkeep (how long has it been since I mowed the lawn?), and car repairs (why is my check engine light on?) to stay on top of. There are obligations to be met at your house of worship, at the kids’ school, and for the volunteer organization you signed up with. There are social justice and political issues to attend to in the hope of finding positive ways to contribute to public discourse.
When we are not actively engaged in an urgent activity (and sometimes even when we are), we are actively worrying about a whole range of urgent activities. It can get so bad that it becomes nearly impossible to relax. Even when we set aside time for a favorite activity or to get together with friends, our frantic minds are thinking about all the things we could be accomplishing if we were not “wasting” time in this way.
This unrelenting stress can really start to wear a person down. And some people, desperate for a solution, may turn to drugs or alcohol to try to turn off the worry and stress long enough to feel a sense of relaxation. One of the drugs they might try for this purpose is GHB.
GHB: What Is It?
The full name of the drug is gamma-hydroxybutyrate. We will admit that the name doesn’t make it sound relaxing at all. Heck, it sounds much more like something that might turn you into The Hulk, and heaven knows that guy really needs to relax.
But GHB does provide the user with a sense of tranquility and euphoria—feelings that are not generally available to a person who is wholly consumed by stress. For some, it also amps up the user’s libido, which may be otherwise quite low when a person is overly stressed. Feelings of relaxation and happiness—as well as a renewed interest in sex—can sound awfully good when it seems like those feelings cannot be achieved any other way.
The relief from stress can be quite compelling. It can be easy to fool yourself into thinking that GHB offers far more pros than cons. And any risk may well seem worth it given that you are finally—finally!—feeling relaxed.
But as you have probably guessed, GHB is not, in fact, all upside. Instead, the drug comes with plenty of downside that can upend your life.
The Downside of GHB
While GHB may provide positive feelings in the early going, plenty of negative symptoms will arise quite soon as a person continues to use the drug. These may include comparatively mild symptoms like nausea and/or sweating. But there are more serious possibilities as well, including hallucinations, amnesia, loss of consciousness, or coma.
Obviously, those sorts of symptoms more than cancel out any supposed upside of taking GHB. Unfortunately, a GHB user may find it extremely difficult to give up the drug—even after all of the pleasant effects have been replaced by negative experiences.
That’s because your body and brain get used to having GHB in the system. Any attempt to stop taking the drug can cause a variety of negative reactions as your body tries to tell you that you really should keep providing GHB.
Ways to Weather Withdrawal
For some people, GHB withdrawal symptoms are fairly mild. In those cases, participation in an outpatient treatment program can be enough to help a person weather withdrawal and give up GHB.
But for other people, withdrawal is much more challenging. Strong cravings for the drug can drive a person back to GHB even when they sincerely wish to stop taking it. In that situation, getting help via a fully certified residential treatment center is the best option. In treatment, you’ll go through medically supervised detoxification—which can help you make it through the challenges of withdrawal—and a robust rehabilitation program that includes both group and individual therapy.
Don’t Stress: Wooded Glen Recovery Center Can Help
It is a terrible turn of events when something you have turned to for relief from stress becomes a cause—or possibly the cause—of stress in your life. But that is what can happen when you use drugs or alcohol as a way to manage stress. GHB and other drugs might seem like an easy answer to the hard problems related to stress in our lives, but they are not. Drugs, including GHB, will ultimately make things worse rather than better.
If you have found yourself in a bad situation due to drug or alcohol use, don’t despair. At Wooded Glen Recovery Center, we provide compassionate, evidence-based, personalized treatment that will help you get—and stay—sober. We are committed to addressing not only your substance use disorder, but any co-occurring mental health disorders as well. And we will provide you with strategies and resources that can help you address the stress of day-to-day life without relying on drugs or alcohol.