As a “club drug” — i.e., a psychoactive substance commonly abused by young adults at bars and nightclubs, and at events like concerts and parties — ketamine has received greater attention. It causes euphoria as well as distortions to perception. Users report a sense of delirium, as well as a feeling of detachment from one’s surroundings. It generally comes with a pleasant sense of relaxation, as well as a physical “body high.”
A ketamine high is short-lived, usually no more than an hour. As a result, users may take repeated doses to prolong the high, which can inadvertently lead to a binge. Others intentionally take higher doses, often intravenously. This approach creates a profound sense of detachment from reality, which some users describe as a “near-death experience.”
Originally synthesized as a tranquilizer for animals, ketamine can be used in a legitimate medical setting by an anaesthesiologist. However, the variety found on the street is rarely pure and is never regulated in the same way that medical ketamine is.
Ketamine is available in pill form, as well as a powder that can be snorted or dissolved in water, or as a liquid that can be injected. Because ketamine is odorless and colorless, which makes it hard to detect when added to a drink, it has earned a reputation for being a date rape drug.
In addition to its addictive properties, ketamine is also dangerous. It’s very easy to overdose on ketamine accidentally. Especially if alcohol or other drugs are being used at the same time, the ketamine dose can be quite small and still cause an overdose. Because of its tranquilizing effects, ketamine users may lose their ability to move or speak, which can prevent them from asking for help if they are in distress.
The leading cause of death from ketamine use is respiratory failure.
The most common side effects of ketamine abuse include:
The unpleasant effects of ketamine can last as long as 24 hours after the last dose.
While the withdrawal symptoms from ketamine are primarily psychological, some people who use it heavily report physical withdrawal symptoms as well. Without medical intervention, ketamine withdrawal symptoms can involve confusion, agitation, insomnia, anger and hallucinations. Some users may even become so unstable and violent that they must be isolated for the protection of those around them. That’s one reason it’s vital for those who wish to detox from ketamine to have extensive medical supervision, so the drug detox process is safe, comfortable and secure.
At Harbor Village, our medical and behavioral health team have experience helping people end their addiction to ketamine through drug rehab. If you’re struggling, we can help you too. Please give us a call today.