Ketamine Addiction Guide 

Misuse of ketamine can result in tolerance, dependency, and addiction, requiring users to take ever-higher doses of the drug to get the desired high. Outside of a medical setting, the effects of misused ketamine can be lethal and are exceedingly unpredictable. 

Ketamine, sometimes referred to as “the horse tranquilizer,” is a common anesthetic used by veterinarians and medical professionals. It is a simple substance to abuse as liquid ketamine can be easily poured into alcoholic beverages or added marijuana joints.

To learn more about how we can help you overcome all obstacles to a sober and fulfilling life, contact Myrtle Beach Recovery.

Understanding Ketamine Addiction

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) authorized the use of ketamine, a dissociative anesthetic, in 1970. Ketamine is commonly used for anesthetic treatments in people and animals and was the most popular anesthetic used during the Vietnam War.

Ketamine has lately been used to control treatment-resistant depression and has been proposed as a treatment for chronic pain, bipolar disorder, and anxiety.

Phencyclidine (PCP) derivative ketamine is also used recreationally to create euphoric and dissociative effects, which users have described as having “out of body experiences” and “melting into their surroundings.”

Ketamine Abuse 

In addition to its legitimate medical applications, synthetic analogs of ketamine have developed into drugs of abuse having hallucinatory effects. When used abusively, it is often inhaled (or “snorted” up the nose) in public. Moreover, it can be injected, taken orally as a liquid (mixed into drinks), or smoked with tobacco or marijuana.

In many cases, it is abused in conjunction with other drugs like cocaine, MDMA, or amphetamines. Multiple drug use at once has resulted in fatalities.

When used improperly, it is frequently obtained through the unlawful diversion of prescription drugs, however, analogs can be purchased off the shelf. Ketamine can only be obtained through the diversion of drugs that are prescribed for use.

Ketamine Abuse Symptoms

Although ketamine effects vary from person to person, they are dose-dependent; smaller doses of ketamine cause drowsiness and analgesia, while larger doses cause greater dissociative effects.

The duration of the intoxicating effects of ketamine can range from 15 minutes to several hours depending on a number of variables, such as the dosage and method of administration.

Ketamine and other dissociative substances may cause users to become less conscious of their surroundings and potential dangers. As a result, they may be at risk for both physical attack and accidents. 

Some effects of ketamine are:

  • Memory decline.
  • Awkwardness or lack of muscle control (i.e., ataxia).
  • Difficulties with the lower urinary tract.
  • Hallucinations, lucid dreaming.
  • Vascular problems (e.g., high blood pressure, elevated heart rate, palpitations, irregular heart rhythm, chest pain).
  • Paranoia.
  • Dizziness.
  • Breathing is dangerously slow.
  • Nausea and vomit.
  • A lack of response to stimuli.
  • Sedation.
  • Unease and worry.
  • Diminished interest.
  • Muscle rigidity.
  • Consciousness loss.
  • Speaking slowly or with difficulty (i.e., dysarthria).
  • Disorientation and confusion.

Ketamine Abuse Statistics

Some important things to keep in mind for ketamine abuse are the following:

  • The National Drug Intelligence Center of the Department of Justice reports that 74% of Ketamine emergency department visits in the United States in 2000 were made by people between the ages of 12 and 25.
  • The 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health in the United States found that 203,000 people aged 12 or older used ketamine in 2013, making the estimated lifetime usage of the drug at 2.3 million.
  • 3% of high school seniors who participated in the Monitoring the Future study at the University of Michigan in 2006 reported using the drug at least once throughout the year.
  • In the 1970s, subcultures also began experimenting with ketamine, and recreational use persisted throughout the 1980s and 1990s.
  • After taking quantities beyond 200 mg, which some refer to as the “K hole,” the user may go completely unconscious and endure a horrific near-death experience.
  • 1.4% of students in the 12th grade in 2014 admitted to using ketamine for fun. This was a decrease from 2002, when 2.6 percent said they used it.

Ketamine Withdrawal 

Because ketamine is a sedative, users are extremely likely to experience severe confusion and delirium once the initial peak effects or “high” wear off. These folks may also experience physical weakness, worry, helplessness, and hopelessness. They may also have numbness, blurred vision, and acute confusion, which frequently leads to violent behavior, amnesia, and delirium. These effects are more likely to occur at higher ketamine dosages, typically after extended use, or when ketamine is coupled with other drugs.

Ketamine users are likely to experience a “comedown” after consuming it for a short period of time. The comedown, which is essentially a drug-induced hangover, can be uncomfortable and dangerous.

Below are some side effects one may experience:

  • State of Excitement
  • Chills
  • Drug cravings
  • Hallucinations
  • Sweats

Get Help Today with Myrtle Beach Recovery 

If you or a loved one are struggling with ketamine addiction, let Myrtle Beach Recovery help you with our 12-step immersion program. Our experienced staff will help you work through the steps to help you regain control of your life.

Contact us today to learn more about our services and how we can help you on your journey to sobriety.