Ketamine is a popular drug among young adults in the club scene and is sometimes used as a date rape drug. It’s colorless and odorless, so it can go undetected when added to a beverage.
Ketamine, called Special K, Kit Kat, or Vitamin K on the street, is actually a veterinary anesthetic that is also used in human medicine as a sedative prior to surgery. Ketamine is also being studied as an off-label treatment for major depressive disorder.
Because it is a short-acting drug, ketamine addiction occurs fairly quickly. Continue reading to learn about the risks associated with ketamine, and about ketamine addiction treatment.
What type of substance is ketamine?
Ketamine is a Schedule III controlled substance, which is the same classification as codeine and anabolic steroids. This designation is given to substances that may be diverted for recreational abuse, or that could cause psychological dependence or addiction.
Ketamine is a hallucinogenic tranquilizer that causes the user to experience dissociative, or out-of-body type effects, euphoria, enhanced perceptions and a sense of deep relaxation. The effects of ketamine last less than an hour.
Ketamine is produced in various forms, like liquid, powder, or pills. Taken in higher doses can lead to an effect known as the “k-hole.” This is described as a near-death type experience, when the individual feels completely detached from reality and their body.
Dangers of ketamine
Ketamine causes some adverse effects, some being severe. These effects include:
- Elevated blood pressure
- Nausea and vomiting
- Slurred speech
- Increased heart rate
- Sight and sound distortions
- Impaired judgment
- Impaired motor functions
- Accidental overdose
- Numbness and loss of mobility
The anesthetic properties that cause the numbness may lead to accidents and serious injuries while under the influence of ketamine.
Higher doses of ketamine can lead to depression, memory impairment, psychosis, respiratory distress or failure, kidney damage, and bladder damage. In fact, serious bladder damage is quite common among those individuals who deal with ketamine addiction.
Treatment for ketamine addiction
Chronic ketamine use interacts with the brain’s reward system and can result in addiction, which often requires a higher level of care. A residential treatment program offers the best setting for overcoming ketamine addiction.
The first phase of recovery involves completing the detox process, during which withdrawal symptoms are carefully managed. Common withdrawal symptoms include:
- Psychosis, including delusion and hallucination
- Cognitive impairment
- Decreased respiratory and cardiac functions
- Loss of motor skills
- Excessive sweating
- Hearing loss
After detox is completed, the individual is enrolled in a comprehensive treatment program. Various modes of behavioral therapies will be integrated into the treatment plan to assist the individual in overcoming the ketamine addiction. Some of these include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy: CBT helps to change thought patterns that impact behaviors.
- Dialectical behavioral therapy: DBT teaches mindfulness and stress management techniques.
- Acceptance and commitment therapy: ACT combines mindfulness and acceptance therapies with commitment and behavior-change strategies.
In addition to psychotherapy, the following elements are part of the overall treatment strategy:
- Group therapy
- 12 Step program
- Life skills
- Relapse prevention planning
- Holistic activities
- Continuing care services
Full recovery from ketamine addiction can be achieved. Take the first step toward a new healthy life in recovery today.
Ashley Addiction Treatment, formerly Father Martin’s Ashley, is a nationally recognized nonprofit leader in integrated, evidence-based treatment for substance use disorders. Our programs are accredited by The Joint Commission, and result in frequent publications of ongoing research into effective treatment methodologies. We offer holistic care that encompasses the mind, body and spirit through inpatient and outpatient treatment, provide drug detox, relapse prevention plans, family wellness programs and a variety of other services tailored to each patient’s unique needs. Our driving principle — “everything for recovery” — reinforces our mission to transform and save lives through the science of medicine, the art of therapy and the compassion of spirituality, and is complemented by our philosophy of healing with respect and dignity. For information about our comprehensive programs, please call (866) 313-6307.