Based on a study performed in 2013 by the National Institute on Drug Use and Health, roughly 2.3 million people in the United States have taken Ketamine in their lifetime and an estimated 203,000 people had taken it during that year. Ketamine addiction can cause several complications in a person’s life, and treatment at a rehab facility is typically required for those suffering.
Ketamine is a drug used in some medical procedures to induce and maintain an anesthetic state. It is abused due to the “high” that people experience when using it. Continuous use often leads to Ketamine addiction. The drug has hallucinogenic properties which can distort one’s perceptions of reality, causing them often see, hear and smell things that are not there.
Ketamine can be smoked, snorted, ingested as a pill, or dissolve and injected. The risk of developing a Ketamine addiction is greatly increased when snorted, smoked, or injected because these methods cause the drug to enter the body quicker, offering instantaneous effects. Street names for the drug include, Cat Valium, Special K and Vitamin K.
When purchased illegally, it is usually a white crystalline powder and is commonly obtained in the form of a pill. It is a Schedule III drug in the United States, which means it has medical benefits and a moderate chance for abuse and addiction.
When a person is on Ketamine, they experience a delay mobility and often appear to be walking in slow motion to the outside world. Their movements can look exaggerated and they may not respond to painful stimuli, as the drug blocks pain. They may also seem paralyzed and the things that they say may not make sense.
Ketamine and alcohol have similar effects, therefore many of the symptoms of abuse are comparable to those of alcohol. Drug paraphernalia, such as needles, pill capsules and empty bottles, may be left lying around. The individual may also appear to be drunk without smelling of alcohol.
Anesthesiologists are generally the only people equipped to administer the proper dose of Ketamine, which should only be done during a medical procedure. Because of this, people who abuse it for recreational purposes, jeopardize overdosing.
When a person overdoses on Ketamine their muscles become rigid, making them incapable of moving. Their body temperature and heart rate rises and they may suffer from convulsions. Severe cases of overdose can result in coma and even death.
Other short term effects include, brief attention span, poor memory, confusion and problems with communication. Long-term effects of Ketamine addiction include, the formation of ulcers in the bladder, as well as severe pain in that region. Kidney and stomach problems are common with continued use, as well as poor memory and depression. People often complain of headaches and flashbacks long after drug use has stopped. If the drug was snorted, it can cause issues with the person’s ability to smell over time. As with any long-term addiction, problems in social, work and financial situations are expected to develop.
Ketamine can also be used as a “date-rape drug,” which can cause an increased risk for contracting diseases such as HIV/AIDS, hepatitis and other infectious diseases that are spread through needles or sexual contact.
The treatment programs designed to help individuals with a Ketamine addiction are focused on behavioral therapy. The process is geared toward learning more about the addiction, understanding the underlying reason for abuse, and learning new ways to deal with situations where drug abuse would usually occur.
There are various programs that can be used to effectively treat Ketamine addiction. Supportive programs such as the 12-step program has helped many people with diverse addictions, cognitive-behavioral therapy and various other programs that deal with coping skills and internal motivation for change.
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