Ketamine (an Overview of Abuse, Addiction, Signs, Symptoms, Treatment)

Ketamine can be used medically but is often abused by those who want to experience its dissociative effects. It is important to seek help for ketamine abuse, especially if this issue has already snowballed into a full-blown addiction. If you or someone you love has been abusing ketamine, call 800-654-0987 now to find safe, reliable rehab centers that can cater to your needs.

Understanding Ketamine Abuse

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic, mostly used in veterinary practice.” The drug is often stolen from veterinary offices or hospitals by those seeking to abuse its effects. It is usually found as a clear liquid or powder and can be snorted, smoked, or mixed into a drink.

Unfortunately, some of the most severe cases of ketamine abuse are associated with sexual assault. Many people use the drug in order to facilitate this violent behavior by giving it to their unknowing victims. The drug can cause sedation and amnesia, which are some of the most dangerous effects leading to this type of abuse.

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Others take the drug willingly, though, hoping to experience the intense dissociative and hallucinogenic effects. Ketamine is referred to as a club drug because, many times, its abuse occurs in parties or clubs. According to the National Drug Intelligence Center, “Teenagers and young adults represent the majority of ketamine users,” as a 2000 study found that “individuals aged 12 to 25 accounted for 74 percent” of the emergency department visits associated with the drug in that year.

Signs and Symptoms of Ketamine Abuse

Ketamine

Impaired vision and delirium are side effects of ketamine abuse.

The signs and symptoms of ketamine abuse are intense and easy to recognize. Most individuals on low doses of the drug become sedated and experience hallucinations. According to the Center for Substance Abuse Research, larger doses can also create

  • Muscle twitches
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Impaired vision
  • Coordination problems
  • Delirium
  • Increased heart rate

Many individuals also experience aggressive or violent behavior as a side effect, which can be a strange turn from the sedative effects of the drug. Extremely high doses can create what is known as a K-hole, causing an out-of-body experience and full sedation. Many people abuse the drug just to experience this effect, but it often occurs just before overdose, which makes it extremely dangerous. Large amounts of ketamine can cause respiratory depression, which can become deadly.

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Ketamine Addiction

There is some question about whether or not ketamine can cause addiction the way other drugs can, but further research has come to show that this effect is extremely likely. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, “In long-term exposure, high tolerance, drug craving, and flashbacks are described,” which are common issues associated with addiction. Many people also describe physical and psychological dependence associated with ketamine abuse, which can lead to severe depression when one attempts to suddenly stop abusing the drug.

Like most drugs of abuse, ketamine causes severe, long-term effects that will require treatment for the individual’s safe recovery. And because many individuals who abuse the drug have been known to binge on it before crashing, a behavior commonly associated with extremely addictive stimulants, there is considerable evidence that long-term abuse can lead to addiction.

Ketamine as an Antidepressant: Isn’t It Addictive?

Ketamine Addiction Treatment

Treatment for ketamine addiction often requires stabilization with medications, especially if the individual enters treatment in an overdose situation. Once they are stabilized, patients often start a regimen of behavioral therapies to work through their substance abuse issues. These therapies help teach patients how to view their abuse with better attitudes and beliefs, rather than the dangerous ones that led them to it in the first place.

In addition, many individuals who abuse ketamine experience depressive symptoms while in rehab. Antidepressants can be a helpful treatment in this case, but patients must also be assessed and treated for any comorbid mental or physical issues in addition to their addictions.

Seek Treatment Today

Abusing ketamine is extremely risky and can, like most drugs, lead to addiction. If you have been taking this drug consistently and in large doses, now is the best time to seek help. Call 800-654-0987 to find the best rehab programs available for your needs and to recover as safely and effectively as possible.

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