What is Ketamine?
Ketamine was made in the 1960’s to be a rapid acting anesthetic but it took a decade for it to be finally approved for human use in the 1970’s. Sold under the brand name, Ketalar, It quickly became the anesthetic of choice on the battlefield precisely for its fast action but it is more commonly used for animals. This is a testament to its potency and like many powerful drugs like this, it wasn’t long before it started being abused and became illegally available on the streets.
It had become a “club drug” known for its dissociative properties as it is a hallucinogen. By the 1980’s, the abuse of ketamine had become a serious widespread problem and its illegal manufacture and distribution continues to this day.
Ketamine is known on the streets as Special K, Vitamin K, jet, Kit-Kat, Cat valium or just simply “K”. It usually comes in any of three forms: pills, powder or liquid.
Effects of Ketamine Abuse
The effects of ketamine abuse include:
- Blurred visions
- Mood swings
- Impaired motor functions
- Reality distortion
- Memory loss
- Poor reflexes
Ketamine, when used recreationally, can induce some pleasant feelings such as euphoria, a profound sense of relaxation and sometimes an out of body experience where the user feels blissfully untethered from reality. This has made the drug a popular “club drug” and is also what is known as a “date-rape” drug. This state of being usually lasts about an hour or more depending on the dosage. The negative side effects far outweigh the positive ones, especially after continuous use. Ketamine can cause any or all of the following temporary conditions:
Abusers of Ketamine usually snort it in its powder form, ingest it as pills or inject the liquid form into their bloodstreams. Research shows that long-term users of Ketamine develop a resistance/tolerance to the drug very quickly meaning it will take more and more amounts of the drug to achieve the same effects and thus harming the body even more each time. It can get to a point that some of the effects of the drug will no longer be experienced by the user as a corresponding dependence/addiction to it is developed.
Although ketamine addiction is not as hard to break as some other substances like heroin, it is still a high potential risk. Attempts to quit using Ketamine may lead to physiological and psychological withdrawal symptoms.
Ketamine User Statistics
The abuse of Ketamine has been rampant for decades now and studies have been conducted over time to estimate the effects on the population and the demographic that are most targeted. Below are some of the findings from several of such research.
How many active ketamine users are there?
The number of active ketamine users in the U.S. is more than 200,000, according to the U.S. National Survey on Drug Use and Health in 2013. An estimated 2.3 million people aged 12 or older had used ketamine before.
Ketamine Addiction Treatment
Treatment of Ketamine addiction is a concerted effort between the patients, the patients’ loved ones and the healthcare professionals that typically manages the patient’s gradual withdrawal from the drug. Typically, the first thing to consider is whether to opt for outpatient or inpatient treatment. There are a few questions that should be asked in order to make the right choice and some of them are:
- Does the patient have specific complications resulting from the Ketamine addiction that requires the access to specialized hospital equipment or facilities?
- Does the patient suffer from co-occurring personality, psychiatric or psychological disorders that will require constant supervision by a trained healthcare professional?
- Does the patient have some personal problems with other people that may make outpatient treatment complicated and difficult?
- Does the patient have a conducive environment to stay where there will be no likelihood of temptation by other Ketamine addicts?
If the answer to one or more of these questions is yes, then it is most preferable for the patient to consider the inpatient or residential treatment option. The advantages of inpatient treatment are numerous and include:
- Access to specialist personnel and equipment which will assist in making the detoxification process and painless and comfortable as possible
- Round the clock care and supervision by qualified people
- A conducive, supportive and non-judgmental environment where the patient can let go of anxiety and other psychological inhibitions
- Interaction with other addicts which is of great therapeutic value
- The implementation of various forms of therapy including group therapy, individual therapy, cognitive behavior therapy etc which are tailored to suit your specific needs and accelerate the recovery process
- This form of treatment has the highest success rate
Why should ketamine addicts have inpatient treatment?
Advantages of inpatient treatment for ketamine addicts include:
- Safe, painless, and comfortable detox process
- Round the clock monitoring by specialists and professionals
- Anxiety-free environment
- Support from other recovering addicts
- Customized and effective therapies
- Inpatient therapy has the highest success rate
Ketamine addiction treatment continues even after the end of rehab because it is imperative not to fall into the same habits that lead down the road to the addiction. If you have a loved one who is addicted to Ketamine, the good news is that help is not far away and hope is not lost.