Ketamine is a drug used recreationally by people of all ages. It helps induce a state of sedation, amnesia, and relief of pain, which is why initially, it was used as a sedative. Today, ketamine is becoming widely popular for treating common disorders like depression and insomnia. But, how dangerous can using a dissociative anesthetic be? Is there solid ground for the rise of ketamine, or are we looking at another drug epidemic with catastrophic results? Read on to learn more about ketamine, its use, and the dangers of addiction.
What is Ketamine?
Ketamine is a dissociative medication most commonly used by medical practitioners as a general anesthetic. While it is widely used in the medical field, it is also a popular illegal drug people take recreationally to get high. Its effects are supposed to be stronger and more hallucinogenic than other recreational drugs, such as LSD or PCP. Because of the combination of anesthetic and hallucinogenic properties of ketamine, it is a very common rape drug. When mixed with a liquid, it is colorless and tasteless and leaves its unknowing victim incapacitated with little or no memory of the hours before the drug wears off.
Why is Ketamine Becoming Popular Now?
Ketamine has become more and more popular over the years, and this is due to the new studies using ketamine that have been conducted. In 2019, the FDA approved using a new ketamine nasal spray called Spravato to treat various medical issues, such as depression and many health problems resulting in chronic pain.
As a result of the approval of the Spravato nasal spray, medical clinics have started opening up for the sole purpose of providing controlled micro-dose ketamine infusions to help people manage chronic depression, anxiety, and insomnia.
With the attention this controversial nasal spray medication has gained, it is no surprise that the recreational use of ketamine has risen too. Although, the rise is not substantial, as only roughly 1% of the population uses ketamine as a recreational drug. Most people who would take ketamine instead prefer to take other illegal hallucinogenic drugs recreationally, such as LSD, PCP, Ecstasy, or MDMA (Molly).
Effects of Ketamine
When used for medical reasons, ketamine can be highly effective at treating pain and other conditions. Ketamine use may result in sedation and anesthesia – primarily when used under medical supervision.
Ketamine has many physical side effects once taken or administered. Whether these side effects are good or bad can depend on the dosage of ketamine taken, your physical health, and any other medications or recreational drugs taken with ketamine. The physical side effects of using ketamine include, but are not limited to:
- Sedation or Fatigue (depending on the dosage)
- Physical relaxation of the muscles
- Increased heart rate
- Increased blood pressure
- Slurred speech
- Blurred vision
- Reduced pain sensations
- Muscle aches or muscle pain
People using ketamine to address mental health disorders may often experience various side effects. In addition, people using ketamine as a recreational drug may also experience some psychological effects. The psychological side effects of using ketamine include, but are not limited to:
- Feelings of happiness
- Feelings of anxiety
- Panic attacks
- Feelings of agitation
Is Ketamine Addictive?
The FDA has labeled ketamine as a “Schedule III Non-Narcotic.” This classification is for drugs, substances, or chemicals with a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence. Ketamine, when not used or administered correctly, can be an addictive drug that can lead to an overdose resulting in death.
While ketamine alone might not be highly addictive, when combined with other substances such as heroin or alcohol, its use can become more addictive. These are drugs that can help intensify the high or effects of ketamine, triggering dependence.
Many people start to self-medicate with ketamine, especially those dealing with depression or other mental health disorders. Because ketamine can have out-of-body experiences, it helps them escape their current reality. This can lead to psychological dependence, consequentially leading to addiction.
If you or someone you know is experimenting with ketamine to ease mental health symptoms, consider speaking with a specialist today. Substance use disorders and mental health conditions can be treated simultaneously through dual diagnosis programs. Recovery from addiction often involves behavioral therapies, medication, and peer support to help you find long-lasting recovery. Don’t wait another day to seek help for your substance use disorder. Recovery from addiction is possible, and it all starts with taking the first step. Call an addiction treatment center near you to get started.