However, doctors sometimes prescribe it for “off-label” uses, such as depression. Off-label means using the drugs to treat conditions the FDA has not approved. For ketamine to be helpful in addiction treatment, it must be used under the close care of medical professionals. Ketamine, also known as Special K or Super K, is a short-acting anesthetic drug with hallucinogenic effects.

If substance misuse disrupts work, school, and personal relationships, it can indicate a ketamine addiction. Chronic ketamine abuse has the potential to introduce toxicity to the gastrointestinal and urinary tract. This can result in severe pain and discomfort, and it has been recorded that some patients as young as twenty have needed their bladders removed, all as a result of their ketamine consumption.

Is Ketamine Addictive?

Ketamine triggers activity of a neurotransmitter called glutamate in the frontal cortex of your brain. It also allows more synapses, which allow information to flow inside your brain, to form in the same area. Rehabilitation centers can help with different treatment options, detox programs, and other necessary assistance for overcoming dependency. In addition, the FDA now recognizes the antidepressant benefits of ketamine when it is combined with oral depressants. Ketamine works by suppressing glutamate signaling in your brain, while opioids ”hijack” your endogenous (naturally occurring) opioid system.

Ketamine Addiction

It should be noted that mindfulness and meditation may also help with decreasing ruminations, and there may be potential in engaging in mindfulness and meditation in the days following one’s ketamine treatments. Ketamine’s dissociative effects are so powerful that it is commonly referred to as a “date rape drug.” When ingested, ketamine can cause users to hallucinate (experience visual and auditory disturbances). Because it’s an anesthetic, it can reduce physical sensations and induce temporary paralysis, so the user is awake but unable to move his or her limbs or even talk.

Ketamine Abuse and Addiction

Ketamine also causes long-term damage to the bladder and urinary tract that can result in a condition known as ketamine bladder syndrome. Ketamine bladder syndrome may also cause blood in the urine and ulcers in the bladder. An overdose of ketamine can cause unconsciousness or slowed breathing, which is very dangerous. Different amounts of ketamine will give different “highs.” A medicinal dose is usually around 1 to 2 milligrams for each kilogram of body weight. After a few minutes, your heart rate speeds up and your blood pressure begins to go down.

If the patient develops severe symptoms or complications, the patient should be placed on a monitor and admitted for observation. The World Drug Report in 2015 categorized ketamine as a worldwide recreational drug, with 58 countries reporting illicit use. However, ketamine misuse occurs on a relatively small scale, and PCP derivatives constituted only 1% of “new psychoactive substances” reported to the United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime in 2014 (fact file on ketamine). Ketamine misuse often occurs in combination with other substances, including alcohol, amphetamines, MDMA, cocaine, and caffeine.

Why is Ketamine Used Medically?

It is thought that the creation of new cells and strengthening of nerve pathways may be correlated with new learning. This is one reason professionals are interested in adding talk therapy or new learning to the ketamine treatment process, as the ability to think in new ways and engage in new behaviors may be amplified during and after ketamine treatment. The utility of behavioral interventions as adjuvants to ketamine pharmacotherapy in addictions treatment is understudied.

If that remains the case, derailing its use to treat mental health disorders will be difficult. As mindsets and stigmas around alternative medicines continue to shift, there is hope that other agents will evolve in comparison to ketamine that are equally effective, safe, and can be widely accessible. Abuse of large doses can also lead to powerful visual hallucinations that are intensified by environmental stimuli. When higher doses of ketamine are abused, or during emergence, it is reported to produce vivid dreams and an “out-of-body”, “K-hole” or “near-death” hallucinogenic experience, often reported as terrifying (similar to bad LSD trip). Treatment addresses your deepest needs, tapping into your strengths and enhancing your motivation. It enables you to become aware of factors that led to drug dependence and deal with the problems that kept you there.

Ketamine Abuse Treatment

Furthermore, it tends to slow people down and make their movements rather exaggerated due to a loss of motor coordination. Additionally, when the user is temporarily paralyzed by the drug, they won’t be able to clear their airway, which can lead them to choke and potentially die from aspiration. She helps brands craft factual, yet relatable content that resonates with diverse audiences.

Ketamine Addiction

There are animal reports of an increased risk of toxicity when ketamine is combined with caffeine. Theoretically, this may be a concern in people who have consumed energy drinks, often done at nightclubs where ketamine may be abused. The effects of abuse typically last 1 to 2 hours, but the users judgement, senses and coordination may be affected for up to 24 hours or longer.

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