Ketamine

Modified: 22nd Jul 2019

Last updated on July 22nd, 2019 at 12:44 pm

Are you concerned someone you love has developed a Ketamine addiction? Did your doctor prescribe it for your severe depression and you fear your use has gotten away from you? You’re not alone.

In this article, we’ll go over some of the basic FAQs of ketamine to help you familiarize yourself with the drug. It will also help you figure out what to look for if you’re concerned someone you love has become dependent on the drug.

Let’s take a closer look at ketamine, its uses, and signs of addiction.

What Is Ketamine?

Ketamine is a drug most often used as an anesthetic and to control severe pain. Let’s take a look at it in-depth.

Definition

Although ketamine has a reputation as a party drug, or as a horse tranquilizer, it’s used in a medical setting quite often.

Most commonly, medical professionals use ketamine for anesthesia to aid in procedures. In most procedures, it’s not used as the sole anesthetic, but it can be used in conjunction with other medication to ensure that you do not form memories of the procedure.

Sometimes, doctors will use ketamine in emergency surgery if there is not time to administer traditional anesthesia. It may also be used in war zones where immediate surgery is necessary.

Doctors sometimes will also give patients ketamine for very minor surgical procedures in which the patient is not under full anesthesia.

It may also be used to control asthma. Patients in the hospital recovering from surgery or a painful injury may be administered ketamine as an alternative to morphine. It can also help keep patients from becoming nauseated or vomiting after anesthesia.

Sometimes it is also given in a hospital setting for acute pain, such as a broken bone.

In recent years, studies found there are benefits to using ketamine as a means to treat severe depression.

It may also be used outside a hospital for complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS).

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How Is It Taken?

Ketamine can be administered orally as a tablet. It is most commonly, however, injected or put into your body intravenously.

Those who have become addicted to ketamine or use it as a party drug may also inject or snort the drug. They may also take tablets.

Who Takes It?

Anyone can be prescribed ketamine. However, it’s become popular as a “party drug” and is well known amongst young adults who like to attend nightlife events.

It can be referred to as “Special K,” “Cat Valium,” “Green,” “Vitamin K,” or “K.”

A Brief History of Ketamine

Ketamine was discovered in 1965 at Wayne State University. It first made its appearance for widespread use in the Vietnam War, where soldiers administered it during emergency surgery and battlefield emergencies.

The drug has been known as a party drug since the 1970s. It became known as a “club drug” due to the fact that it made users feel euphoric and uneasy on their feet.

It has also been used to immobilize individuals for robbery or other crimes.

Consequences of Ketamine Abuse

Like any other drug, ketamine has many effects on the mind and body. It has a long list of side effects, which is partially why it’s so popular as a party drug.

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Effects on the Mind and Body

People may feel a variety of these effects 15 minutes or so after taking ketamine. The most common effects are:

  • Hallucinations
  • Slurred speech
  • Uncontrolled eye movements
  • Loss of reflexes
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling detached from the body
  • Feeling calm
  • Feeling depressed
  • Feeling of being free from pain or unable to feel pain

Short-Term Health Effects

Ketamine is one of the more dangerous drugs to misuse. In the short-term, side effects range from mild to severe. Individuals may experience:

  • Elevated heart rate
  • Depressed heart rate
  • Chest pain
  • Extremely high or low blood pressure
  • Amnesia
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Seizures
  • Violent behavior
  • Panic
  • Terrors
  • Dizziness
  • Numbness
  • Flashbacks
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Agitation
  • Salivation
  • Depressed breathing
  • Muscle rigidity
  • Anxiety
  • Larynx spasms
  • Exaggerated strength
  • Death from overdose

Long-Term Health Effects

In the long-term, ketamine use can lead to symptoms relating to the bladder and kidneys. Individuals who have been using ketamine for a long time may lack control of their bladder or experience renal (kidney) failure.

People may also experience altered sleep patterns, mood swings, depressed heart rates, twitches, and memory loss. They may also experience hallucinations even when not taking ketamine.

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Using Ketamine With Other Drugs

Ketamine should not be mixed with other drugs, especially alcohol. However, this is often done in order to increase its effects. Taking alcohol with ketamine can not only increase the effects, but it can also create issues with the respiratory system.

Mixing too much alcohol and ketamine can lead to problems breathing, which can lead to death.

Which Drugs Are Commonly Used With Ketamine?

As it is often taken at parties and raves, it is often mixed with alcohol, cocaine, or MDMA.

It should be noted that mixing ketamine with any drug can be extremely dangerous and should only be done under medical supervision.

Treating Ketamine Addiction

If a loved one is addicted to ketamine, you should speak to him or her immediately. As taking ketamine even once can result in an overdose, it is important to impress on them the seriousness of the drug.

It is not a drug you can take without medical supervision, and long-term consequences are especially debilitating.

If someone you love is addicted to ketamine, or you suspect you may have a problem, contact us today. We can offer help.

Article Reviewed by Dr. Keerthy Sunder, MD, DFAPA

Dr. Keerthy Sunder, MD, DFAPADr. Keerthy Sunder, MD is an accomplished and internationally recognized expert in the field of addiction. He has earned diplomates from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, the American Board of Addiction Medicine, and the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.