Many individuals may be concerned over the growth of use of club drugs. One such drug they may have heard of is ketamine. Ketamine is an anesthetic drug that has gained a reputation as a club drug in more recent years. It was first developed in the 1960s and became a federally controlled substance in 1999. Another anesthetic drug with similar effects is phencyclidine, or PCP, which was first synthesized in the 1950s. Both drugs have been used in veterinary medicine for their analgesic effects on animals. Recreational use of the drug has been associated with a high potential for overdose due to the strength of the drug.
Methods of abuse
Ketamine is most often snorted or injected. However, it can also be taken orally as a pill or smoked. Ingesting the drug in these ways will produce less intense effects overall. This substance has also been used as a date rape drug because of its dissociative properties. Ketamine does have the potential to cause hallucinations in recreational use, though this will be limited to the first hour after taking the drug. Impaired reasoning and dexterity may persist for one day following use.
Likelihood of dependence
Those who abuse ketamine may experience dependence as a result of the substance. This may escalate over time with repeated use. Eventually, those who abuse this anesthetic will no longer be able to experience its dissociative effects. Some may binge in their abuse for a concentrated period of time. This naturally will increase the possibility of an overdose for those using the drug non-medically.
Effects of abuse
In smaller doses, ketamine will produce effects such as dissociation and hallucinations. However, larger doses will lead to greater dangers, such as twitching of muscles, nausea, slurring of words and lightheadedness. The abuser may experience disorientation as a result of the substance. One’s vision and balance may be adversely affected. Amnesia and flashbacks are also common occurrences. Those who ingest ketamine will also be at risk of an elevated heart rate. Aggressive responses, as well as delusions of invincibility may also occur as symptoms of such drug abuse. This sense of invincibility may also occur in those who have taken PCP.
The dependence on ketamine has been shown to be not physical in nature, but rather psychological. Brain damage and troubles with memory may arise in heavy abuse; this damage can be lasting in nature. Hearing and visual perception may also be distorted as a result. Flashbacks may also occur at random, which may cause disruption in the individual’s life. One’s personal life or professional life may suffer, as this kind of drug abuse may make it difficult to take care of certain responsibilities and expectations.
Detoxification and therapy will often be necessary in cases of serious ketamine dependence. Those who use a treatment center often have much more successful outcomes than those who attempt to stop use altogether on their own. In such a treatment program, the abuser will often be weaned off of the drug gradually. The withdrawal process may take about five days or so altogether. Symptoms at this time may include sleepiness, depression, perspiration and agitation.
Cognitive behavioral therapy may also prove to be helpful for patients during recovery from ketamine abuse. They will closely look at their reasons for using ketamine originally and adapt their behaviors to overcome their dependence. Developing a new hobby or interest, or participating in a self-help program for abuse, such as Narcotics Anonymous, may prove useful as well. Psychotherapy and family therapy can also provide proper guidance for those who have become dependent on ketamine to help them recover and avoid the numerous health dangers associated with this controlled substance in the future.
Sovereign Health helps patients overcome dependence to alcohol and other illicit substances. Our holistic treatment program will helps clients through the use of individual therapy, group therapy and alternative therapies. We also assist patients identify and treat co-occurring conditions with dual diagnosis treatment. Get in touch with our admissions team at (866) 819-0427 to begin the path to wellness for yourself or a loved one.
Written by Ryan McMaster, Sovereign Health Group writer