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Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic, which means the drug alters the sight and sound perceptions. It also generates a feeling of detachment or disassociation forms the environment.  It also blocks painful sensation to the brain. Doctors commonly use the drug before surgery or certain medical procedures.


The drug comes in liquid or powdered form and users sometimes snort, smoke or injects the drug. The US government placed the drug under controlled substances in 1999. Ketamine has a reputation of being a ‘date-rape’ drug. Because the drug produces dreamlike state and users find it difficult to recall memories. In severe cases, users who abused the drug at high doses experience “K-Hole” or near death experience.


Quick Facts about Ketamine:

  • The US military used Ketamine as anesthetic during the Vietnam War
  • Ketamine is commonly used as anesthetic medicine in veterinary.
  • Since Ketamine is an odorless and colorless drug, it is often used as a date rape drug.
  • The drug is so powerful that the use is consigned to animals.
  • In a report of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 1.5% of 12th graders used ketamine in 2014.
  • According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services or SAMHSA, 41,000 people ages between 12 to 17 years of age reported using ketamine at some point during their lifetime in 2013.


History of Ketamine

Calvin Stevens, an American scientist first synthesized ketamine in 1962 at the Parke-Davis Laboratories.  Ketamine was initially named CI-581 and derived from PCP. Experts considered these drugs as hallucinogens and more potent than other hallucinogen drug categories.


Why was the Ketamine made?

The purpose of ketamine is to replace another anesthetic, PCP. The drug can cause long lasting and intense hallucinogenic effects. Also, it produces psychotic symptoms like deliriums, delusions, and psychosis.


Why is Ketamine abused?

Accessibility makes ketamine prone to abuse. Users can easily steal ketamine from veterinary clinics or get from black markets. The drug can also obtain in Mexico and those who want to get the drug can just cross the border.


What are the signs and symptoms of Ketamine addiction?

Ketamine has a short-acting drug and blocks pain. Users may find it difficult to react to a painful situation while they are under the influence. It also makes their movement appear exaggerated because the movements are slower than normal. Users may slur while talking and confused. Signs and symptoms of ketamine abuse are similar to alcohol abuse.

 Signs and symptoms of ketamine abuse include:

  •  Depression
  • Reduced ability to think or learn
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of memory
  • Disorientation/ Confused
  • Feelings of detachment/dissociation
  • Hallucinations
  • Slowed or difficult breathing
  • Mood changes


What are the side effects of Ketamine?


Short-Term Effects of Ketamine

 Ketamine produces a sudden high that usually lasts for an hour. Users may experience the feeling of relaxation floating sensation and hallucinations.

 Short-term Effects of Ketamine includes:


  • Drowsiness
  • Increased heart rate
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Double vision
  • dream-like state
  • flushing or redness of the skin
  • loss of appetite
  • nausea
  • pain at the injection area
  • seeing double visions
  • uncontrolled eye movements
  • unusually warm skin
  • vomiting
  • weight loss

Long-Term Effects of Ketamine


It is difficult to discern the long-term effects of ketamine since it is often mixed with other drugs. However, here are the common effects of ketamine to the human body.

  • As an anesthetic, it reduces even eliminates pain this can lead to more injuries as the user does not react to the pain.
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • kidney problems (prolonged heavy ketamine use can result in the thickening of the bladders thus preventing urine from passing through)
  • mental disorders
  • ulcerative cystitis



What are the treatments available for Ketamine addiction?


Ketamine treatment includes a program which helps the user to get rid of drug dependence via detoxification. This process will remove all traces of ketamine in the body. However, the user may experience withdrawal symptoms. The withdrawal symptoms of ketamine are not as uncomfortable compare to other drugs. The main point of the treatment aims to keep the user having a relapse and stay off ketamine.


Ketamine withdrawal symptoms include:


  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Dilated pupils
  • Chills
  • Cravings
  • Involuntary eye movements
  • Tiredness
  • Nightmares
  • Sweating
  • Stiff muscles


Under a medical care, these symptoms are likely to cause any harm to the user. An inpatient rehab is always recommended to ensure the safety and care of the user. However, depending on the user’s condition, outpatient rehabilitation can also help them recovery from addiction.

Therapists can monitor and assess the user while attending activities and therapy sessions. Counseling and psychotherapy can help the user identify the source of the addiction. Also, counseling can assist the user deal with their daily stressors and help with the relapse.


Ketamine Withdrawal Timeline
1 to 3 days Users may experience intense withdrawal symptoms just after 24 hours from the last intake of ketamine. Symptoms of fatigue, shaking, insomnia, depression, hallucinations, rage, double visions and hearing loss may occur during this time.
4 to 14 days For two weeks, withdrawal symptoms may continue but will begin to subside after 14 days mark.
15 days and beyond In this window, the physical symptoms start to disappear. However, the psychological issues will still persist like depression and anxiety.



The most important part of the treatment is sustained recovery. This is the hardest stage of the treatment. Users often times can still get intense cravings of ketamine and can go back to using the drug. But with the right support and skills absorbed in treatment, users can fully regain their lives back.



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