GHB: Physiological effects
Last modified: Sunday, 31. May 2009 - 3:51 pm
Besides the Mental effects, GHB affects the body in a wide range of other ways, including:
• Neurological system: nystagmus (involuntary, rapid eye movement); vertigo (a false sensation of motion or spinning); dizziness; ataxia (poor muscle coordination); weakness; and sedation.
• Respiratory system: respiratory depression; hypothermia; bradycardia with increases or decreases in blood pressure; apnea (cessation of breathing that is usually temporary).
• Gastrointestinal system: vomiting.
• Endocrine system: mild hyperglycemia (abnormally high concentration of sugar in the blood).
Harmful side effects
GHB can be harmful and even deadly to people who use it. But it may mistakenly be perceived as a safe drug because it was only recently made illegal. Also, it was previously available in health food stores as a dietary supplement, is marketed over the Internet, and is prescribed for limited medical use.
For those who take GHB deliberately, the objective is to take the right amount to achieve the desired high. But the drug is unpredictable and users risk deadly overdose, which can occur within 15 minutes of ingestion. An overdose can result in such severe adverse effects as vomiting, difficulty breathing, seizures (especially when GHB is combined with methamphetamine), unconsciousness, coma (especially when combined with alcohol), and death.
The danger of a fatal overdose is increased when GHB is combined with alcohol or opiates.
Long-term health effects
The long-term effects of GHB use are largely unknown. Recent research shows that some club drugs can have lasting effects on the brain, resulting in memory loss, impaired motor skills, and distorted sensations. It is possible that GHB may cause these long-term effects as well.
Repeated GHB use is associated with mood swings, liver tumors, violent behavior, and dependence. If the drug is discontinued, the user can experience withdrawal. Severe withdrawal symptoms include extreme agitation, delirium, insomnia, tremor, rapid heart rate, and anxiety.
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