GBL is a powerful substance that is taken recreationally for the feelings of euphoria and relaxation it produces. However, GBL abuse can be very dangerous, often resulting in GBL addiction which can be extremely difficult to overcome. Infamous for its use as a date rape drug, GBL is easily attainable, making it hard for the UK government to control possession or supply. GBL addiction usually requires professional help to overcome, but it is possible to break the addiction with willpower and the right support.
GBL, or gamma-butyrolactone, is a central nervous system depressant that is often abused for its euphoric effects, similar to cocaine and ketamine, making it an attractive party drug. It is a clear liquid with a slightly sweet or bitter taste that is often sold in small bottles and is sometimes known as “liquid G” or “liquid ecstasy.”
When GBL is consumed, it is metabolised into GHB inside the body, which is a powerful sedative that can cause blackouts and memory loss which is why both substances are sometimes used as date rape drugs by “spiking” somebody’s drink. In the UK, it is illegal to possess or supply GBL, knowing that it will be used for consumption with sentences of up to fourteen years in prison while administering it to someone without their knowledge or consent or to control them carries a prison sentence of up to ten years.
However, part of the issue with GBL abuse is that the substance is commonly present in numerous household and industrial products, making it difficult to ban the substance altogether. This also means that it can be easily sourced and is often not as expensive as other drugs, which enable recreational abuse and the criminal use of GBL as a date rape drug.
GBL addiction can develop quickly, particularly if the substance is being used recreationally, as the effects are short-lived and wear off within a couple of hours. This can lead to a person taking more GBL to maintain the desired effect, which can quickly spiral out of control, leading to a physical dependency.
Once dependent on GBL, you may experience GBL withdrawal symptoms such as anxiety, tremors and insomnia when you try to stop taking it, which can be highly unpleasant. Unfortunately, these withdrawal symptoms often compel a person to keep taking GBL, even if they are aware of the risks.
Although anybody can develop a GBL addiction, certain groups of people are more at risk than others. This includes:
There are several dangers associated with GBL abuse and addiction, both in the short and long term.
A potentially fatal overdose is a particular risk with GBL because the amounts required to produce the desired effect are so close to the amounts that can cause an overdose. Overdoses are often accidental as people are not always aware of how potent GBL is and may mistakenly believe that they can handle more than they actually can.
Like all forms of drug addiction, GBL addiction can have a number of negative effects on every area of your life. These include:
No amount of GBL abuse is either safe or legal and if you are addicted to GBL, it is vital that you seek professional help as soon as possible. Here are some questions to ask yourself which may indicate you need GBL addiction treatment:
If you have answered yes to any of these questions, it is likely that you are suffering from GBL addiction and need treatment. The sooner you seek this treatment, the faster you can get started on your road to recovery and the less chance you will have of experiencing serious health consequences.
GBL addiction can be a very powerful force which requires professional GBL addiction treatment. Treatment is made up of three main stages: detox, rehab and aftercare. Liberty House provides inpatient detox and rehab because we believe this gives you the best chance of recovery as you will be away from the temptations and triggers of your everyday life and will have 24/7 support from staff and other clients. Here is what to expect from the three stages:
The first stage of GBL addiction treatment is detoxification, during which your body will rid itself of the toxins associated with GBL abuse. This can be difficult, and you might encounter GBL withdrawal symptoms during this period. Therefore, it’s important to undergo detox under medical care for your safety. GBL withdrawal symptoms may include:
GBL withdrawal can be very severe and can last days or weeks, depending on the amount of GBL you have been taking and for how long. At Liberty House, you will receive a full medical assessment when you begin GBL detox so that our medical team can devise a GBL detox plan which is right for you. This may include the use of medication to ease your GBL withdrawal symptoms and help you through this difficult time.
The second stage of treatment is GBL rehab, during which you will work with counsellors and therapists to identify the underlying causes of your GBL addiction so that you can develop coping mechanisms to deal with them. At Liberty House, all of our counsellors have been through recovery themselves, so they really understand what you are going through and can offer invaluable support and guidance.
Our GBL rehab programme comprises a range of evidence-based therapies, including:
These holistic therapies will focus on every aspect of your recovery, helping you to develop the skills and knowledge you need to cope during difficult moments when GBL cravings or negative thoughts or feelings may arise.
The third stage of GBL addiction treatment is aftercare, during which you will be supported as you transition back into everyday life. At Liberty House, aftercare comprises one year of weekly group therapy sessions, which will help you to stay on track with your recovery and get the support you need from other people who are on the same journey.