Ketamine (also known as Special K) is a powerful dissociative drug, meaning it produces feelings of detachment from a user’s body. It’s commonly used in veterinary medicine and for sedation during surgery.
It is also frequently found on the party and club scene among people seeking the high it provides. While ketamine isn’t believed to have the same potential to cause dependence and addiction as many other abuse drugs, misuse occasionally occurs and can be detrimental to one’s health.
Ketamine comes in several forms, including powder, pills, and liquid. When consumed, ketamine can cause users to experience visual and auditory hallucinations and euphoria.
Because it’s an anesthetic, it also reduces the perception of physical sensations. Combining this drug with other nervous system depressants, including alcohol, increases the risk of profound respiratory depression, which can be life-threatening in extreme cases.
Ketamine is also available by prescription, as it is believed to be effective at treating symptoms related to alcoholism and depression.
Signs and Symptoms
Ketamine is relatively short-acting, and the primary effect that users enjoy is its ability to reduce pain sensations. Unfortunately, if a person does not react to painful stimuli, this can be very hazardous. As such, ketamine should not be used in any way outside a medical environment or as directed by a doctor.
Furthermore, ketamine use can impair coordination, particularly when used with other depressants. This effect could be risky and result in injury, and it could also cause an individual’s judgment capabilities to be diminished.
It’s not hard to unintentionally hurt yourself while on ketamine because it’s an anesthetic. Pain is sometimes vital for survival, as it warns us when we’re injured and forces us to take heed and concentrate on that injury, preventing further damage. A person on ketamine can suffer from a severe injury and go on with life as if nothing significant happened.
Ketamine can also induce out-of-body experiences in which the user feels detached from oneself and his or her surroundings. It can distort perceptions of sight and sound. At high doses, the user may experience intense and terrifying effects frequently described as similar to a near-death experience. Such an episode is also sometimes referred to as a “K-hole.”
Symptoms of ketamine abuse and addiction are comparable to those associated with alcoholism and may include the following:
- Feelings of detachment
- Slow or labored respiration
- Mood changes
- Impaired cognitive abilities
- Impaired memory
Effects of Ketamine Abuse
The repeated abuse of ketamine can cause a wide variety of adverse effects on the brain and body. For example, it can prompt severe abdominal pain, as well as damage to the urinary tract and bladder, also referred to as ketamine bladder syndrome. This condition can lead to decreased control of the bladder and incontinence. It may also cause ulcers and blood in the urine.
Because ketamine is often found as a powder, it is frequently snorted. Unfortunately, many of these powders are adulterated with other drugs. It may be a relatively benign substance, such as talcum powder or sugar, but it could also be laced with something more dangerous, such as acetaminophen (Tylenol) or drain cleaner.
A dose can be challenging to gauge, and in some instances, it could be the wrong substance altogether (e.g., fentanyl), and cause a life-threatening overdose.
Withdrawal from ketamine typically lasts between 4-6 days after the last dose, and it might feel like suffering from a severe flu. During withdrawal, a person might experience the following symptoms:
- Chills and sweating
- Stiff muscles
- Involuntary eye movement
These symptoms can be very unpleasant, but they can be effectively managed with appropriate medical care. Undergoing a supervised medical detox can ensure the patient is monitored and as safe and comfortable as possible as he or she is undergoing withdrawal.
Treatment for Ketamine Abuse or Addiction
At Just Believe Detox and Just Believe Recovery centers, you can receive treatment for ketamine abuse in a safe and comfortable environment where relapse is not possible.
It’s not uncommon for those who abuse ketamine also to use other substances, and if these other problems exist, they can be addressed concurrently. Therapies and activities we offer are intended to treat all aspects of a person’s health and well-being and include the following:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Individual and family counseling
- Peer support groups
- Health and wellness education
- Substance abuse education
- Art and music therapy
- Medication-assisted treatment
- Aftercare planning
We also provide treatment for co-existing mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, PTSD, childhood trauma, and more.
For more resources on this disorder, or to explore other treatment options, contact Just Believe today.