Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic, which means that it produces sedative effects, as well as causes the user to experience detachment from his or her surroundings and his or her own body. Known illicitly as Special K or Dorothy, ketamine is most commonly used by teenagers and young adults. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reports that 0.2 percent of those between the ages of 18-25 are currently abusing this substance.
Today, ketamine is known mostly as an addictive drug, however, it was not always that way. In the 1960’s, ketamine was first developed and used for aesthetic purposes. Most commonly, those who would be administered ketamine included children who did not respond well to other anesthetics, injured soldiers (ketamine was widely used for treatment in the Vietnam War), and adults who needed to undergo painful medical procedures. Veterinarians would also use it to sedate their patients, and still use it for that purpose today. However, ketamine is highly addictive and is mostly used for recreational purposes now, as it has been for nearly 40 years.
Just like any other addictive substance, ketamine can cause an individual to suffer severe consequences when he or she abuses it. Impacting both one’s physical and psychological well-being, abusing ketamine can lead to a number of health risks, up to and including death.
Signs of Ketamine Addiction
Any time someone is addicted to a drug as powerful as ketamine, he or she will undoubtedly show several different symptoms of that addiction. Each individual ketamine user will likely display their own signs of addiction, as signs can depend on how much the individual is using, how often, and at what frequency. However, some of the most common signs of ketamine addiction can include symptoms related to their physical wellbeing and their psychological well-being.
When under the influence of ketamine, an individual can become so sedated that he or she cannot control his or her own body. He or she might claim to feel detached from his or her body, which can attribute to other signs of ketamine abuse such as loss of coordination, immobilization, numbness, and little (if any) pain.
The physical aspects of being under the influence of ketamine are frightening, to say the least. Not only is one not able to manage his or her own coordination, but it is possible for him or her to experience full-blown immobilization. This means that he or she cannot move at all, which is extremely risky, as he or she cannot remove him or herself from a dangerous situation if necessary. In fact, this is one of the main reasons why ketamine is used as a date rape drug.
Being addicted to ketamine can also cause an individual to suffer extensive physical injuries. When under the influence of ketamine, someone is likely numb to any physical pain. As a result, he or she might not even flinch when he or she encounters any kind of physical pain (e.g. getting cut or burned, bumping into something). Should something physically dangerous occur, he or she probably will not feel it, meaning that he or she will continue to go along without receiving the appropriate medical care? This type of consequence can occur numerous times and lead to multiple injuries, some of which can be severe depending on the situation.
Ketamine addiction is extremely impactful on one’s psychological health. Abusing this drug leads to visual and auditory hallucinations and distortions, as well as an out-of-body experience, as users completely detach from everything around them, as well as themselves. Many people are drawn to ketamine because of the significant sensations of euphoria that it can produce, however, there are some severe psychological impacts that can occur when abusing it.
Referred to as the “K-hole”, someone under the influence of ketamine can start to experience vivid nightmares, as well as feelings of being near death. During this time, an individual is likely not going to respond to any physical touch, and he or she will have slurred speech, be confused, and be very slow or over exaggerated in their movements if they are not immobilized.
Additional signs of ketamine addiction can include the following:
Constantly being distracted
- Lack of motivation
- Redness of the skin
- Bladder pain
- Memory loss
Those who are addicted to ketamine and any other dangerous substance are also bound to behave in ways that are completely unlike them. For example, it is probable that someone who has a ketamine addiction is going to start to isolate him or herself, withdraw from previously enjoyed activities, experience increased family conflict, and have problems at work and/or maintaining employment.
Benefits of Knowing the Signs
Despite addiction being one of the most pervasive diseases in the country, many people do not know what the signs of addiction are.
When someone educates himself or herself about the common signs of addiction, he or she can be prepared to intervene one a loved one much sooner than he or she would if he or she did not know what to look for. This is highly beneficial for the user, as the sooner his or her addiction is stopped, the better. Also, being in the know in regards to addiction, in general, can make it easier to understand what a loved one is going through, which can help decrease resentments and frustrations that could otherwise fester and get worse.
When it comes to any disease, knowledge is power. If you suspect your loved one is addicted to ketamine, gather all the information you can about this specific substance and what to be prepared for.
If you or someone you love is addicted to ketamine, it is imperative to obtain help as soon as possible. Remaining addicted to this drug can cause further consequences, as well as lead to an untimely death.
Ketamine addiction is rarely treated independently, rather through a professional treatment center. So do not wait any longer. If you or a loved one is addicted to ketamine, make the call right now. We can help.