What Is Ketamine?

Ketamine is a drug that is known for its anesthesia effects. It produces a relaxed state of mind and relieves people of pain. The drug has been used for both human and veterinary practices. This dissociative anesthetic has been in circulation by prescription since the 1970s. The chemical substance can distort a person’s perception of reality, including the sounds, environment, and colors they experience.

Ketamine also has been used for burn therapy as well. This drug can substitute other anesthetics for those who have allergies and strong side effects.

Ketamine binds with the opioid mu and sigma receptors in the brain. This drug, when used in highly controlled practices, is pretty safe and manages its targeted effect on patients. However, when it is used in a manner that is inconsistent with its purpose, it can become highly addictive and dangerous overall. It can have strong physical and mental effects on the person, which can result in unfavorable results later on.

Ketamine For Depression

It has been recently said that ketamine can cure depression, and research has been done to explore this possibility. With this knowledge, this drug had been applied to the treatment of depression over the years.

Still, people have cautioned users to be careful about how they take the drug because of its addictive properties. There were always risks involved when utilizing the drug, especially because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had not yet approved the substance as an alternative to antidepressants. However, this all changed at the start of 2019.

The FDA has officially approved an esketamine treatment but only for certified doctor’s offices or clinics. The federal agency found that there had been “a long-standing need for additional effective treatments for treatment-resistant depression, a serious and life-threatening condition” according to Tiffany Farchione, MD, who serves as an acting director of the Division of Psychiatry Products for the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

These evaluations are meant to justify applying this drug to those who have failed significantly with other forms of antidepressants. This new alternative can only be approved to those people who are taking other antidepressants and who also have been unsuccessful with other antidepressants.

Effects On The Brain

Ketamine has some key significance in how it affects the mind. When used outside a medical procedure or any or any other controlled process, it can lead to strange effects on the brain.  Ketamine has the potential to cause nausea, numbness, slow heart rate, behavioral alterations, difficulty processing reality, and simple tasks.

Strong issues manifest with taking ketamine, such as hallucinations, confusion, and disassociation from the body or self-recognition. A patient must keep in mind that ketamine is a medication that must be administered under the supervision of a trained physician. The intravenous method has an average amount of effect similar to that of 10 minutes of surgical anesthesia.

When the drug is taken as a recreational substance, the high can last less than an hour. Injections typically are for higher doses, which can cause a person to feel a near-death experience. This feeling has been described as a detachment from reality. Numbness arises from the same feeling, which can later lead to some serious injuries as a result.

Every person has a different tolerance level, and that’s why recreational ketamine use can be quite dangerous. While some people require a higher dose to reach a critical level, others may require far less. This is more evident when people are participating and polydrug use.

Mixing this drug with alcohol is also a recurring yet deadly combination. K-Hole (a term used to describe the strongest high with ketamine) is the primary goal for people who have ketamine addiction. Reaching this level is the most dangerous and can lead to death.

Over time, a user can begin to develop signs of paranoia and awful hallucinations. The person will no longer understand what is real and what is not. After a brief period, users of ketamine will begin to experience what is referred to as a comedown. It can be described as being similar to a hangover, but in the case of ketamine, it can be hazardous. The levels of confusion from this hangover are quite intense. Aggressive behavior, impaired vision, and helplessness are common side effects.

Physical Effects Of Ketamine

Ketamine is a potent dissociative drug that is abused for its effects on the mind. The drug can also produce adverse effects on our body, which include difficulty urinating, abdominal pain, and memory loss. Anyone that experiences these symptoms must stop using ketamine immediately.

Although ketamine is abused for its pleasant effects, many people have adverse reactions as a result of use. They may experience chest pain, nervousness, worry, flashbacks, tremors, psychosis, seizures, and paranoia.

The onset of the drug depends on its route of administration. If ketamine is smoked, the user will experience a high immediately. Snorting the drug can result in effects in five to 10 minutes, while oral consumption can take around 20 minutes. Ketamine is a short-lasting drug, and some who use it in a binge cycle may continually re-administer the drug when they start to crash.

The immediate effects, as we mentioned above, are often short-lived. Adverse effects occur from long-term ketamine abuse. Some short-term effects, however, may include:

  • Sedation
  • Feeling like you are in a dream
  • Reduced awareness of your surroundings
  • Decreased focus
  • Intense feeling of strength and power
  • Disorientation
  • Intense hallucinations
  • Out-of-body experience
  • Motionless
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Garbled speech
  • Decreased coordination
  • Increased urination
  • Forgetfulness

Ketamine Bladder Syndrome

The recreational use of ketamine is prevalent because of its availability and low cost. As more research goes into ketamine, there has been information about a new problem resulting from the drug.

It is known as ketamine bladder syndrome. Ketamine can cause severe and irreversible damage to the urinary tract. Most ketamine abusers are aware of these side effects but are often reluctant to seek help. Early recognition can lead urologists to prevent deterioration and make treatment more effective.

Some Symptoms Of The Syndrome Include:

  • A sudden, compelling need to urinate, which is difficult to defer
  • Involuntary leakage
  • Urinating too often
  • A persistent urge to urinate that is unrelieved by urination
  • Urethral pain due to bladder filling
  • Appearance of blood in the urine

Date Rape Drug

Although many people have battled with ketamine addiction because of personal circumstances, in other unfortunate instances, some people have been a victim of this substance.

Certain people have taken this powerful drug without their consent. It has been used as a new form of “date rape” drug, which people have ingested via their food or drinks. The odorless and colorless substance can blend in perfectly with almost anything. Sadly, the victim is completely helpless and unable to respond to basic functions once the drug’s effects overtaken them.


Addiction to any substance can be difficult to overcome, and ketamine is no exception. Being addicted to this drug causes significant chemical imbalances in a person’s brain. A person may spend their recurring days feeling completely undetachable from the strong drug.

Addiction can be a way to cope with other serious issues in a person’s life. They can be prone to substance addiction if it is carried in their genetics. Whatever the cause, seeking help as soon as possible is highly recommended.

Acquiring ketamine as without a doctor’s prescription is illegal. Therefore, many people struggling with this dependency acquire the drug on the black market. The substance may come as a liquid that is injected or a white or off-white powder that can be snorted or even mixed with liquid.

Ketamine Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal symptoms arise after a person has been taking ketamine over time in high doses and/or with other substances. People may find it hard to quit for good and will often relapse again, maybe in a stronger way than before.

The central nervous system is highly affected by the powerful chemical alterations caused in the mind. This period of dependence and quitting can cause a harmful imbalance in the person’s brain, mind, and perception of reality. It’s an awful position to be in; therefore, people can’t appreciate what normality used to be. People become more substantial to stress and pain due to the psychological withdrawal.

Detox And Treatments

Many people who have an addiction (regardless of the substance) find it extremely difficult to quit because they lack the proper medical detox. Most people find themselves trying to detox on their own such as quitting cold turkey. This method is never effective or recommended, as it can lead to serious relapse. The cycle never ends for people who have an addiction. That’s why entering and completing a treatment program is the best and only way of ever managing this disease.

Detox involves many methods of help for people, such as medicine to help ease the withdrawal phase, addiction therapy, and others. Alongside detox, people can seek and undergo precise treatments such as outpatient and residential treatments to help them pursue a safe journey to recovery.

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