Ketamine is a potent synthetic dissociative anesthetic having hallucinogenic effects. It is known as a dissociative agent because it provides a feeling of detachment from one’s own body. It is commonly used in veterinary medicine. In humans, physically it is mainly used to help people sleep during surgery or other medical treatment, whereas psychologically, it is used to treat depression and suicidal tendencies.
Also known by street names like K, Special K, Vitamin K, Super K, Jet, Cat Valium, and Super Acid amongst others, it is available in the liquid form, as pills and a white powder. It is popular amongst teenagers due to its use as a party drug. It can be injected, ingested, snorted, or smoked by adding it to other drugs like tobacco or marijuana.
Ketamine can cause hallucinations (auditory and visual disturbances) upon ingestion. Further, as it is an anesthetic, it might cause a short-lived paralysis and decrease physical sensations so that though the user is awake, they are unable to talk or move their limbs. This is the reason why ketamine is often used in cases of sexual assault or as a date rape drug.
Just like the effects of other hallucinogens, the effects of ketamine are highly unpredictable and varied. Sometimes, it can induce extremely disturbing hallucinations and at other times, it can cause an intense euphoria. Combining it with other drugs like heroin and alcohol can exacerbate its potential to cause respiratory depression leading to the death of the user. Moreover, when a user is temporarily paralyzed by the drug, they may not be capable of clearing their airways which can choke and kill a person due to asphyxiation.
Prolonged use of ketamine leads to drug tolerance. Since it is a short-acting drug, the effects tend to wear off within an hour of use which makes the user take a higher dosage to achieve the same effects. Ketamine has a tendency to block pain, therefore, under its influence, people might stop reacting to painful stimuli.
In addition, ketamine also has a tendency to slow down the user and because of the lack of motor coordination, the movement of the user might look exaggerated. It might also seem like the user is walking in slow motion. They might also appear confused and develop slurred speech.
Some of the common symptoms of ketamine abuse may include:
Ketamine overdose takes place when the drug is taken in such high quantities that the body is unable to synthesize the associated toxins. This results in the organ systems shutting down, which in turn may prove to have dangerous consequences or even prove fatal unless immediate medical intervention is sought. A ketamine overdose can be determined by the following symptoms:
Ketamine causes a trance like state by blocking the neurotransmitter glutamate which destabilizes the brain’s chemical balance. Glutamate belongs to the same family of dissociative analgesics as phencyclidine (PCP) and produces hallucinations similar to lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD). Ketamine abuse leads to brain impairment, and in the long run, ketamine use can give rise to several unpleasant effects as it acts on almost all areas of the body. It can induce severe abdominal pain and since it is an anesthetic, one can easily get hurt under its influence and continue hurting themselves because of their inability to feel pain.
Ketamine can also cause ketamine bladder syndrome in which the urinary bladder and urinary tract get damaged. This might result in decreased control over the bladder leading to incontinence. This disorder might also cause ulcers in the bladder and blood in the urine.
Apart from these, some general symptoms of ketamine use are:
The growing ketamine abuse among teens has been recognized as a serious problem. Ketamine is known to have the unique capacity of making the music a bit louder and the lights more vibrant. This, combined with the fact that it is cheaper than cocaine, helped it gain popularity among the youth. It is easily available at places frequently visited by teens like clubs, parties, and music festivals.
According to the 2014 National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) report, nearly 1.4 percent of students from seniors in high school reported using ketamine at some point in their life in the past year. Ketamine has been ranked as the sixth most dangerous drug. The most serious effect of ketamine is its ability to interfere with bladder capacity and bladder emptying capability. It has been reported that many patients, including teens, had to get their bladders removed because of ketamine use.
Ketamine addiction damages the brain and the body. Hence ketamine addiction treatment should include brain restoration modalities, brain training tools, cognitive behavioral therapies, motivational interviewing, and interventions to deal with the physical damage to the body. A ketamine addiction would affect not only the person but also their family. Therefore, family therapy should also be an important part of a ketamine addiction treatment program.
Depending on the duration of the addiction and the severity of the symptoms, a comprehensive treatment for ketamine addiction would include a medically supervised detoxification treatment followed by intense psychotherapies and counseling sessions. While ketamine detox treatment at a credible ketamine detox center can help in getting rid of the toxic substances as well as managing the withdrawal symptoms; psychotherapies, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), can help the patients change their negative thought process and learn to manage their triggers.
Teenage years is a time when children get influenced by peer pressure and indulge in habits even when they are aware of their harmful consequences. Therefore, it is important that when a teen is being treated for an addiction or a mental disorder, they are treated as delicately as possible which requires specially trained staff that has extensive experience.
Adeona Healthcare, a rehab center for adolescents and teens aged between 12 to 17, is the leading teen addiction treatment provider in the U.S. We offer comprehensive treatment programs for addiction, mental health illness, and dual-diagnosis. Our treatment programs for ketamine addiction take care of the specific needs of the recovering individual, thereby, offering the best chance at a successful recovery. In addition to medications, we also offer therapies like solution-focused therapy (SFT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and CBT, increasing the chances of long-term recovery.
For more information about our addiction treatment programs, call our 24/7 helpline 888-379-9360 or chat online with a representative.