What You Need to Know about Ketamine
Ketamine is a hallucinogenic drug
is abused primarily by young people
at clubs and raves.
Ketamine is a hallucinogenic drug that is abused primarily by young people at clubs and raves. Sometimes it is used as a tranquilizer for humans and animals.
The Department of Justice’s National Drug Intelligence Center reported that individuals aged 12 to 25 accounted for 74 percent of the ketamine emergency department visits in the United States in the year 2000.
In 2006, the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future survey showed three percent of high school seniors had used the drug at least once that year.
The 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimated that 2.3 million people aged 12 or older used ketamine at least once in their lifetimes, with 203,000 users that year.
Ketamine is an anesthetic for animals that is often abused as a recreational drug. In fact it even has street names including Special K, Kit Kat, cat valium, Dorothy, and Vitamin K. It is especially popular in the club scene among young adults.
This substance is considered a dissociative anesthetic because of its sedating effects. When taken, it produces an out-of-body experience where the user feels detached from themselves and their surroundings.
The way ketamine distorts the user’s perceptions of sight and sound can also make it difficult for them to move. At high doses, users have reported feeling a “near death experience”. On the other hand, some users say they go into a state of “utter bliss” while on ketamine.
While ketamine is sometimes used in medical settings, it still has a high risk for abuse because of its euphoric effects.
In the medical setting, ketamine is used to sedate children who have had adverse reactions to other anesthetic medications. It is also used in radiation and burn therapy. In some cases where sedation is necessary but stronger anesthetics may be too much for the individual to handle, ketamine may be used instead.
Because it has some medical uses, ketamine is classified as a Schedule III controlled substance, which is the same category as codeine and anabolic steroids. Like other Schedule II substances, ketamine use can lead to physical dependence, and is very likely to cause psychological dependence.
Ketamine has a short lived high and tolerance to the drug builds up quickly. If a user takes high doses or takes the drug recreationally, they may develop tolerance and start taking larger doses just to chase the initial high.
It is important to keep in mind that using ketamine without a doctor’s prescription is illegal.
Recreational users of ketamine sometimes inject the drug directly into their bloodstream to get a more intense high. Others snort or dissolve it in water or drink it in pill form.
Ketamine has been used as a date rape drug because it is odorless and colorless, therefore undetectable when added to a victim’s beverage.
Ketamine Abuse and Effects
When taken, ketamine produces a full-body “buzz” that results in a pronounced sense of relaxation. The high usually lasts less than an hour. But higher doses can lead to the near-death sensation or out-of-body experience that some users have reported. It may also occur if the person takes ketamine intravenously. Ketamine can sometimes make users feel detached from reality.
The anesthetic properties of ketamine can make the person feel numb, which frequently leads to accidents and serious injuries due to the person’s limited perception.
Due to ketamine’s unpredictable effects, it can be difficult to gauge how much of the substance is “too much”. Sometimes an overdose can occur after a small dose, especially if other drugs or alcohol have also been ingested.
It is worth noting that some recreational users purposely attempt to reach the near-death or out of body experience—which is dangerous because it often leads to accidental overdoses.
Because ketamine is a tranquilizer, it is possible for users to suffer from complete loss of mobility. Respiratory failure is the leading cause of ketamine-related deaths.
Ketamine abuse may cause adverse physical effects like loss of coordination, muscle weakness, and stumbling.
Other adverse side effects of ketamine include elevated blood pressure, increased heart rate, muscle rigidity, respiratory issues, flashbacks of hallucinations, paranoia, depression, and long-term cognitive difficulties.
Even if a person only used ketamine for a brief period of time, there is a high probability that they will experience what is called a “comedown”. This comedown is the drug-induced equivalent of a hangover. It can be dangerous.
Ketamine is designed as a sedative, which is why it is very likely for users to experience intense confusion and delirium when the initial high dissipates. The comedown may also involve muscle weakness, anxiety, feelings of hopelessness, numbness, impaired vision, and feelings of helplessness.
In some cases, this comedown leads to aggressive behavior, amnesia, and delirium. Take note that these symptoms are more likely to occur at higher doses of ketamine; when a person takes the drug repeatedly over a couple of hours; and when a person takes ketamine with alcohol or other drugs.
Once a person becomes addicted to ketamine, they will start feeling completely detached from their surroundings, unable to lead a normal, productive life. They are usually cognitively impaired at this stage, with their speech and memory both affected by the chemical changes made by ketamine.
Not only will they increase the amount they take, they will also obsess over their next hit. They will prioritize the drug over everything else, spending excessive amounts of money on the drug and neglecting their responsibilities.
They will fail to keep up with school and work, and may even struggle financially. Their days will revolve around obtaining and taking the drug. In the process, they will neglect their friends and family.
A person who is addicted to ketamine will keep on taking the drug even when they are already struggling with the consequences. They may lose interest in old hobbies that they used to love. Even if they want to stop using the drug, it will be very difficult to do so because of cravings and withdrawal symptoms. Overcoming an addiction will require proper medical assistance and rehab.
If someone in the family is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, it is important to seek help. A combination of medical detox and behavioral therapy can go a long way in the fight against substance abuse. But because every individual is affected by addiction differently, a comprehensive program tailored to their specific needs is necessary. Look for a nearby addiction treatment facility today and find out how drug treatment programs work.
Rehab is Your Best Chance
Treatment is an addicted individualʼs best option if they want to recover. Beating an addiction not only requires eliminating the physical dependence, but also addressing the behavioral factors that prevent them from wanting to get better. Simply quitting may not change the psychological aspect of addiction. Some people quit for a while, and then take drugs again, only to overdose because they did not detox properly. Recovery involves changing the way the patient feels, thinks, and behaves.