Author: Alex Thompson

Ketamine Abuse, Hazards & Overdose

ketamine abuse

Ketamine is a noncompetitive N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist, and it blocks HCN1 receptors. However, at higher doses it may also bind to the opioid mu and sigma receptors. Glutamate is involved with learning, memory, emotion, and pain recognition.

Because of its pain-relieving and mental effects, it can cause dependence, the need to take higher doses to get the same effect, and addiction. No person with alcohol abuse disorder or alcohol intoxication should take ketamine, even in doctor-prescribed doses, as it can cause death. Both alcohol and ketamine are central nervous system depressants, so the combined effects are dangerous. With the exception of esketamine, a federally approved ketamine nasal spray for treatment-resistant depression, the psychiatric use of ketamine is unapproved and unregulated, though so-called off-label use of ketamine is not illegal. More research on how ketamine affects addiction is needed, but it may change how your brain deals with cravings, motivation to quit a drug, and controlling behavioral reactions. Ketamine treatment might also make behavioral therapy more effective, which is a big part of overcoming addiction.

ketamine abuse

The risk of HIV, hepatitis, and other blood-borne infectious diseases exists for those who share needles when drugs are used recreationally. Binge use, where the user indulges in the drug in excess amounts in a short period of time has been reported, as well. This agent is a lipid soluble compound, has an initial rapid distribution and large volume of distribution, with a half-life of 10 to 15 minutes. Secondarily, the drug distributes into peripheral tissues with a slower elimination half-life of up to 3 hours, undergoes hepatic metabolism and is excreted in the urine.

Treatment for Ketamine Addiction

In contrast, they found higher functional connectivity in the left middle occipital gyrus. The included studies followed a cross-sectional and retrospective design with considerable variability among studies in terms of subject age, ketamine type and dosage. Additionally, five of the 16 studies were based on the same sample. It should be noted that in some studies, ketamine users had a mood disorder and for many of the studies it was unclear whether the ketamine users were diagnosed with another substance use disorder or another psychiatric illness. Part of the structural and functional neuroanatomical differences could therefore be attributed to these concomitant conditions.

In both studies, the researchers concluded that ketamine lowered the chances of restarting or relapsing into addiction. An overdose of ketamine can cause unconsciousness or slowed breathing, which is very dangerous. After a few minutes, your heart rate speeds up and your blood pressure begins to go down. The original contributions presented in the study are included in the article/supplementary material, further inquiries can be directed to the corresponding author/s.

  1. There have been reports of veterinary offices being robbed for their ketamine stock.
  2. Although ketamine has strong short-term antidepressant effects, the current data would suggest that chronic ketamine use may actually induce depression via sex-specific dysregulation of brain networks for positive and negative emotions.
  3. Because ketamine is consumed in liquid and powder form, or mixed in these forms with other stimulants—there is a high chance that a person using this drug has little to no idea of how much is being consumed.
  4. Both alcohol and ketamine are central nervous system depressants, so the combined effects are dangerous.
  5. Some people have an almost complete sensory detachment that they compare to a near-death experience.

They may unknowingly suffer serious injuries and delay seeking treatment. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that, when injected, lethal doses of ketamine begin around 11 mg/kg of body weight. This could be a dosage of about 680 mg for a person around 60 kg. Ketamine can be dangerous, particularly when combined with other substances.

Symptoms of Ketamine Addiction

Ketamine can produce hallucinations similarly to other drugs such as LSD and PCP, or angel dust. Ketamine is a medication that doctors use as an anesthetic to induce loss of consciousness. Under the Controlled Substances Act, health experts consider ketamine a schedule III non-narcotic substance. Unsupervised treatment — fueled by telemedicine prescriptions — for various psychiatric problems poses a number of health risks, the agency said. The people who were dependent on alcohol got ketamine through an IV during the second week of a 5-week motivational enhancement therapy session. In general, injecting, snorting or smoking a drug is more likely to cause serious side effects than swallowing the same dose of the drug.

ketamine abuse

Because of its addictive nature, this drug is more commonly used in veterinary clinics to sedate animals. Ketamine is available as an injectable liquid but is also abused in powder form. Ketamine can disrupt the senses, judgment, and motor function for up to 24 hours after use. These effects have seen a growing and worrying use of this drug for date rape.

Finally, we were unable to receive a few records containing potentially relevant data. Third, since subjects were mostly recreational users, they might have used ketamine shortly before data were obtained. Therefore, the different functional connectivity patterns could in part be caused or influenced by the direct, short term effects of ketamine. The results were subdivided into structural differences in gray and white matter, functional differences and effects on neurotransmission.

Near-death experience

When higher doses of ketamine are abused, or during emergence, it is reported to produce vivid dreams and an “out-of-body”, “K-hole” or “near-death” hallucinogenic experience, often reported as terrifying (similar to bad LSD trip). Ketamine addiction is uncommon, but individuals may choose to use the drug regularly. Common types of drug addiction counseling, such as cognitive behavioral therapy or dialectical behavior therapy, can teach people healthy, drug-free ways to cope with stress or other issues. One case report stated that motivational interviewing helped a person decide to stop using ketamine.

Treatment for Ketamine Abuse provides accurate and independent information on more than 24,000 prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines and natural products. This material is provided for educational purposes only and is not intended for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Data sources include Micromedex (updated 3 Mar 2024), Cerner Multum™ (updated 4 Mar 2024), ASHP (updated 12 Feb 2024) and others. Tolerance can build to the effects over time, requiring greater doses of the drug to reach the same level of effect.

Effects of Ketamine

Axial diffusivity was significantly lower in eight white matter clusters in the right hemisphere in the ketamine group compared to the control group, the three largest being located in the frontal cortex (Edward Roberts et al., 2014). A possible mechanism for the white matter changes identified in the reviewed recreational ketamine studies could be AMPA-receptor mediated excitotoxicity. In rats, ketamine was found to acutely elevate presynaptic glutamate in the prefrontal cortex at AMPA/kainite receptors (Moghaddam et al., 1997), and prolonged ketamine exposure may provoke cell death by regional glutamate-induced excitotoxicity. Excitation of AMPA receptors specifically induces axonal damage (Fowler et al., 2003), which could provide a potential mechanism for the prominent white matter changes observed after sustained ketamine exposure in three of the reviewed studies. Also, white matter changes in one of these studies preceded more widespread cortical atrophy with longer ketamine use, supporting that axonal cells are most vulnerable for glutamate-induced excitotoxicity by ketamine. However, these observations are still based on comparison between subjects rather than longitudinal data.

People who have used this drug report harsh flashbacks even weeks after the drug has been cleared from the body. This drug has been linked to conditions like depression, hysteria, memory loss, and high blood pressure in regular users. Ketamine is a compound with many potential benefits for the treatment of mental disorders as well as many risks, making it a “hot topic” in the field of psychiatry. Ketamine was first used in medical procedures for anesthesia in the 1960s. It has also been implicated for the treatment of psychotic symptoms in schizophrenia, treatment of depression, and treatment of addiction—although ketamine itself is a commonly misused drug. Abuse of large doses can also lead to powerful visual hallucinations that are intensified by environmental stimuli.

General anesthesia denotes a sleep-like state, while dissociative refers to the effect of feeling disconnected. Compounded drugs are those that have been modified or tailored in a lab for the specific needs of an individual patient. People who use it illegally often snort, smoke, or inject it, or mix it into drinks. All authors provided their consent for publication of this paper. Rehabilitation centers can help with different treatment options, detox programs, and other necessary assistance for overcoming dependency. Ketamine is a drug gaining fast notoriety with America’s young population.