Find a Ketamine Rehab in Colorado
Is ketamine addictive? A recent study found that ketamine, which is also found to be effective to treat depression, acts similar to opioids, which can lead to a ketamine high.
Ketamine is associated with tranquilizers and anesthesia. Due to its anesthetic and analgesic properties, ketamine users experience hallucinations and dream-like states. Also called dissociation or out-of-body experience, the effect also occurs with phencyclidine (PCP). This enhancement of the brain’s reward system makes it prone to abuse and addiction.
Also known as special K, ketamine is among the club drugs often abused by teenagers at frequent nightclubs, parties, and concerts. Other party drugs include gamma-hydroxybutyrate (GHB), ecstasy (MDMA), Rohypnol, and methamphetamine.
Ketamine disrupts learning and memory processing in many users. More research is needed into ketamine’s benefits and treatment for its addiction. Even if prescribed by a physician, taking a larger dose without consent may be a sign of addiction requiring rehab treatment.
Ketamine, which is also called kit kat, vitamin K, special K, or simply K, started as an anesthetic medication in 1970. A fast-acting painkiller and anesthetic, it was used in medical procedures for both animals and humans, including during the Vietnam War. Ketamine reduces pain and induces sedation.
Ketamine, including ketamine hydrochloride, which is used for some surgical procedures and treatments, is categorized as a Schedule III drug with a moderate or less risk of physical addiction. This means it has a potential for abuse but is also on the World Health Organization’s list of “essential medicines”. Other Schedule III drugs include buprenorphine and anabolic steroids.
Ketamine Effects and Abuse
Ketamine is often produced in a liquid form that can be injected, sold as tablets or capsules, or a white powder that can be dissolved for injection, mixed into drinks, snorted or smoked with cannabis or tobacco.
Since ketamine is a fast-acting analgesic and anesthetic, its side effects manifest immediately after consumption. When snorted, it starts within 10 minutes and lasts for up to an hour. When taken orally, the effects start within 20 minutes and last for as long as two hours. When injected, the effects last for 30 to 45 minutes.
Ketamine is a short-lasting drug, which causes people to use it in a repeated cycle to get their desired high.
Signs of Ketamine Abuse
The use of ketamine can have both short-term and long-term effects. Its physical effects include:
- Slurred speech
- High blood pressure
- Rapid heart rate
- Rapid eye movement
- Breakdown of muscle tissue
- Insensitivity to pain
- Uncontrollable muscle contraction
- Lack of muscle coordination
- Memory blackout
The long-term effects of ketamine include anxiety, disorientation, hallucination, psychotic episodes, flashbacks, insomnia, dysphoria, and urinary tract problems. Tolerance and dependence on ketamine may also result from the prolonged administration, so it should only be used with a prescription and under a physician’s instruction.
People who binge on ketamine show behavior that is often seen in those who are amphetamine-dependent or who abuse cocaine. Its use can distort a person’s perceptions and can draw out the sensation of being detached from the environment and self.
Ketamine also increases the chances of developing cognitive deficits and brain damage. Its long-term effects also include impaired learning ability, memory and attention. It may cause amnesia and delirium.
When taken in high doses, ketamine impairs motor function and can cause respiratory problems that could lead to death. Ketamine abuse may also lead to hypertension or cardiac decompensation.
Common Ketamine Drug Combinations
Usually, during surgery ketamine is combined with other drugs for analgesia and procedural sedation, such as midazolam which reduces the changes in perception brought by ketamine.
However, other ketamine infusions can have fatal side effects. Young people who are taking ketamine as a party drug are exposed to several mental, psychological and physical risks especially when this drug is combined with medications and other substances, legal and illicit. Four years ago, an 18-year-old woman died after combining ketamine with alcohol.
When taken with a stimulant, like MDMA, ketamine might cause cardiovascular arrest because of contradictory messages to the heart. Depressants lower the heart rate while stimulants increase it.
Lorazepam reduces the emotional distress associated with ketamine use, but it cannot reduce several behavioral and cognitive effects of ketamine. Lorazepam even exacerbated the attention-impairing and amnesiac effects of the drug.
When taken with Valium (diazepam), the effects of ketamine are enhanced, while Lamotrigine can increase the mood-elevating effects of ketamine.
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Ketamine Abuse Statistics
According to the 2015 World Drug Report of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, there were 58 countries reported ketamine is sold on their illicit substance market. In the US, the 2013 National Survey on Drug Use and Health concluded that 2.3 million people used ketamine in their lifetime.
The rate of prescription drug use for a non-medical purpose was found to be highest among young people. The 2016 NSDUH said one in 10 people abuse substances, including prescription drugs. Two million use tranquilizers.
Recognizing a Ketamine Addiction
The abuse of ketamine can lead to several psychological and physical problems. Here are some of the signs of ketamine abuse:
- Takes larger doses. Evidence of long-term use and tolerance of ketamine.
- Higher tolerance for pain.
- Showing behavioral signs of abuse. Ketamine leads to anxiety, restlessness, aggression, confusion, and severe depression.
- Mood swings, hallucinations, and slurred speech.
Once any of these symptoms are observed, the person should immediately seek help from a ketamine treatment center.
Rehab for Ketamine Addiction
The first step after the initial recognition of abuse is to seek help from a trusted drug rehab center. Like other addictive drugs, there are several rehab treatment programs for ketamine. The treatment for ketamine addiction involves a detoxification process to help the client eliminate the harmful substance from the body. There are two main types of detox and treatment: outpatient and inpatient.
For those with severe addiction, inpatient rehab treatment plan provides intensive care to the client, with lodging, meals, and therapy provided in a safe environment with no triggers or access to addictive drugs. Medically-assisted treatment (MAT) may be used to help manage the client’s ketamine withdrawal symptoms.
Ketamine abuse can lead to severe brain damage or, though rarely, death. That is why it is very important to use ketamine only under a doctor’s supervision and, if addiction develops, to seek immediate treatment to help the client cope with addiction.
The cost of ketamine rehab treatment may be covered in part or whole by insurance.
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