What is Ketamine? 

Ketamine is something called a dissociative anesthetic and is originally used as a veterinary and human anesthesia for medical procedures. It falls under this qualification because it is not a painkiller, it has hallucinogenic properties and makes the user feel detached from their pain and environment. 

Veterinary clinics use ketamine legitimately in its clear injectable form but when abused, it is changed into a powder and snorted. Distribution of ketamine usually occurs when it is diverted or stolen from these clinics and then used in a party setting as a “club drug”. It is extremely uncommon for users of ketamine to inject it. Ketamine abuse and addiction happen as a result of the powder form being snorted and used socially, then individuals typically find that they only wish to socialize under the influence of this hallucinogenic drug. 

Common street names for ketamine are Special K, Vitamin K, Cat Tranquilizer, and Kit Kat. 

Ketamine Effects

When under the influence of ketamine, users report feeling relaxed and sedated and experiencing memory loss. When taken at hallucinogenic levels, users feel dream-like and detached, have an altered perception of time, and feel vibrating sensations in the body, particularly when around music. 

Unfortunately, because of its association with memory loss, ketamine has been used to facilitate sexual assault and date rape. 

Signs of Ketamine Abuse and Addiction

Repeated use of this hallucinogen causes the individual to develop a tolerance, meaning they have to increase their dosage to feel the same effects. Ketamine abuse and addiction are the results of psychological dependence, where individuals prefer to be in the dissociative dream state that ketamine evokes. 

Some signs that someone you know might be struggling with ketamine abuse and addiction are:

  • Redness of the skin
  • Rapid eye movements
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Antsy behavior or paranoia
  • Loss of coordination 
  • Ignoring responsibilities
  • Interpersonal issues

Ketamine Withdrawal Symptoms

The psychological effects of ketamine abuse and addiction can cause users to experience mental and emotional withdrawal symptoms when they are forced to go for a period of time without using the substance. This can look like this:

  • Cravings for the drug
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Fatigue
  • Shakes
  • Sweating
  • Elevated body temperature

The symptoms of withdrawal from ketamine will be right before the individual has the chance to use it again, after which you will notice a significant change in your behavior, mood, and even personality. 

Long Term Side Effects of Ketamine Abuse

An extended period of ketamine abuse and addiction can lead to harmful and lasting health effects. Ketamine was designed for short-term use in a medical setting, not long-term social use. These harmful long-term side effects include:

  • Respiratory distress from snorting it
  • Psychotic episodes and hallucinations
  • Loss of coordination and slowed movement
  • Memory loss
  • Numbness, particularly in the nose
  • Distorted perception of sight and sound
  • Bladder damage
  • Blood in urine
  • Pain with urination

Significant bladder damage can occur after only a few months of heavy use of ketamine. This is due to the abrasive nature of the chemicals passing through the kidneys and urinary tract. 

Ketamine Addiction Treatment

Ketamine abuse and addiction can cause physical damage to the body in a shorter amount of time than most addictive substances. If you or someone you know is struggling with a substance use disorder to ketamine, it’s important that they seek and receive professional addiction treatment as soon as possible. 

If you live in the Los Angeles or New Jersey area, TruPath is a nationwide network of detox and rehab centers for addiction that are well-equipped to help treat those who are wanting to recover from ketamine abuse and addiction. We offer the full continuum of care, from detox to inpatient care and outpatient treatment, and specialize in offering evidence-based therapies that are supported by holistic treatments to heal the mind, body, and soul. 

We understand that taking that step to enter treatment can feel overwhelming, so we have designed our admissions process to make this transition as painless as possible. Our admissions office is capable and compassionate, prepared with all of the information you need about entering treatment, what to bring, and what to expect. We can also help with insurance verification and exploring alternate methods of paying for or covering the cost of your treatment. 

Our staff is eager to make your stay as productive as possible, we encourage you to contact us with any questions, or begin the enrollment process. TruPath sets itself apart from other recovery centers with our passion for our clients and commitment to serving their best interests. Begin your journey through recovery with us today.