Ketamine is an anesthetic medication used for beginning and maintaining anesthesia. Additional uses include sedation and in the treatment of chronic pain. When used recreationally in high doses, Ketamine induces a trance or dream-like state. Due to the fact it is a strong anesthetic, the drug affects a user’s hearing and sight, creating an “out-of-body” experience. Ketamine addiction and abuse forms as tolerance to the drug develops, leading the user to want more of the drug which in turn causes undesired side effects, as described below.
The effects of Ketamine start in around 2 to 5 minutes and produces a short high, lasting for about an hour. Ketamine is typically smoked or injected. Taking this drug on a regular basis can quickly lead to Ketamine addiction in the user. Ketamine addiction is associated with increased tolerance of the drug and, ultimately, dependency.
Ketamine was approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) in the 1970s for use as an anesthetic for both humans and animals. It wasn’t until 1999 that the FDA put the drug on the list of controlled substances.
The FDA has scheduled Ketamine as a Schedule III drug, meaning it has an accepted medical use, and potential for abuse. However, Ketamine addiction is less likely than its Schedule I and II counterparts. According to the FDA, Ketamine abuse may lead to low or moderate physical dependence and high psychological dependence.
Common street names for Ketamine
Common Ketamine street names include:
- Cat Tranquilizer
- Cat Valium
- Vitamin K
- Super K
- Jet K
- Special La Coke
- Special K
- Kit Kat
History and Trends in Ketamine Addiction and Abuse
Ketamine is commercially produced in many countries, the US included and is widely used as an anesthetic on animals in veterinary practices. Doctors have been prescribing Ketamine in recent years to treat psychological disorders such as depression. A study performed in 2016 revealed that ketamine can relieve an individual from depression without hours, or even minutes, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Current antidepressants on the market can take weeks for depression to lift. Further research must be conducted, however, to determine if ketamine is a safe and effective treatment for long-term use.
Ketamine Side Effects
Even though ketamine addiction is typically not as difficult for an individual to overcome as Schedule I and II drugs (like heroin or cocaine), the dangers and risks are very real. Addiction to the drug can lead to a slew of undesired, dangerous Ketamine side effects.
Side effects associated with taking Ketamine include:
- Constipation (when taken over time)
- Trouble urinating
- Dilated pupils
More serious Ketamine side effects can include:
- Slowed heart rate
- Severe stomach or abdominal pain
Signs of Ketamine Addiction and Abuse
Those suffering from ketamine addiction will either snort the drug, inject it or put it into drinks. Some may additionally mix it with cigarettes. To describe its euphoric effect, users may call it entering a “K-Hole” or “K-Land.” The effects of ketamine have been compared to those of the drug PCP. Ketamine is typically put into the “Club Drug” category by various institutions and by youth culture. Unfortunately, the drug is also used as a date rape drug by criminals.
Signs of Ketamine abuse:
- Trance-like states
- Impaired memory
- Impaired attention
- Impaired learning ability
Those suffering from ketamine addiction can develop a tolerance to the drug. At high doses, ketamine can lead to deadly side effects, typically causing difficulty of breathing. Decreased motor function and drowsiness can very easily lead to fatal car crashes, drowning and accidents.
Withdrawal symptoms of Ketamine
Withdrawal symptoms of ketamine are not usually known for being deadly, but are significant enough to keep an individual from getting off the drug.
Ketamine withdrawal symptoms include:
- Difficulty hearing
- Double vision
- Poor motor skills and coordination
- Increased heartbeat
Those going through the detox process for ketamine addiction and abuse also report having flashbacks even weeks after using the drug.
Treatment for Ketamine Addiction and Abuse
In addition to offering medically supported detoxification treatment, drug rehab programs often include counseling and therapy to address any underlying psychological issues. Individuals suffering from ketamine addiction often find counseling helpful in understanding how ketamine abuse affects them and their loved ones.
If you or your loved one is suffering from ketamine addiction, don’t hesitate to ask for help. Contact White Sands Tampa at 1-877-640-7820.