Dependence, addiction and overdose risk
Dependence and addiction
GHB can become both physically and psychologically addictive. Regular users say they often feel like they need a little GHB to feel normal.
If people suddenly stop using GHB, symptoms of withdrawal will occur including anxiety, inability to sleep and irregular heartbeat. Many heavy users say they were able to taper off their use to zero by reducing their intake slowly over a two week period.
Withdrawal effects may include hallucinations, insomnia, anxiety, tremors, sweating, edginess, chest pains and tightness, muscle and bone aches, sensitivity to sounds and colours and mental blocks. These side effects will last between two and 21 days depending on usage. Some people might experience bowel or bladder incontinence and blackouts. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek medical assistance.
GHB has a very steep dose-response curve, meaning that there is only a small difference between the amount required to provide the desired effect and an overdose. Also, the same dose may affect different people in different ways.
Once users overindulge in GHB the effects act as a sleep aid and there is the potential for vomiting, blocked airways, and severe respiratory depression.
See our How to get help section for advice on dealing with an overdose.