Author: Alex Thompson

Ketamine Addiction: Definition, Symptoms, Effects, and Treatment

why do people use ketamine

Ketamine has a relatively short half-life (the time required for active substances in the body to reduce by half). Within 3 hours, at least half of the active ingredients in ketamine consumed will have left the body. Ketamine can be dangerous, particularly when combined with other substances. It is largely non-fatal when used alone—there is little on record of a lethal dose of this drug in humans.

why do people use ketamine

Though they’re far from perfect treatments, ketamine and esketamine mark a breakthrough, as they’re the only fast-acting antidepressants available. Standard antidepressants generally take several weeks to provide relief. While taking an antidepressant or going to psychological counseling (psychotherapy) may work for most people, these standard treatments aren’t enough for others.

Drugs & Supplements

It is used in major and minor surgeries and for planned and emergency procedures. If your anesthesiologist administers ketamine as part of your anesthesia regimen, you may have hallucinations when you are falling asleep for your procedure. There are sophisticated urine and blood tests that can detect ketamine, but a standard urine drug test probably won’t pick it up, Masand said. “Some patients and some practitioners prefer the IV administration to the intranasal administration.

Most people do not remember the early or late phases of ketamine on thinking and memory and can’t recall having had hallucinations or confusion. Ketamine has a rapid action that diminishes sensation, prevents pain, induces sleep, and inhibits memory. This drug can cause a sense of dissociation from reality and may lead to fleeting hallucinations.

  1. The most serious are unconsciousness, high blood pressure, and dangerously slowed breathing.
  2. By Heidi Moawad, MDHeidi Moawad is a neurologist and expert in the field of brain health and neurological disorders.
  3. By Elizabeth PlumptreElizabeth is a freelance health and wellness writer.
  4. Aside from being a sedative, Ketamine has dissociative properties, which means it can make you feel disconnected from your body and the world.

Typically, the only ketamine-derived treatment for depression that insurance will cover is the FDA-approved nasal spray called esketamine (Spravato). “It may not matter, but it does concern me, personally, that ketamine works through an opioid mechanism,” he says. The spreading and tapering of treatments over time should help reduce this risk.

These insights into ketamine’s effects on brain circuits could guide future advances in managing mood disorders. Earlier this year, the FDA approved a form of the drug ketamine to treat depression. Ketamine is a fast-acting antidepressant that relieves depressive symptoms in hours instead of the weeks or longer that previous drugs required. In addition to being a major advance in treatment, ketamine provides an opportunity for researchers to investigate the short- and long-term biological changes underlying its effects on depression.

What Is Ketamine?

Ketamine delivered in low doses can provide rapid relief of TRD lasting for days to weeks. Usually, it’s given in decreasing frequency over several weeks, starting with two doses a week for 2 to 3 weeks, then once weekly, then once monthly and then hopefully tapering off. Response rates as high as 70% have been observed in clinical trials involving regular infusions. Ketamine, a drug available in intravenous (IV) and nasal spray (esketamine) forms, is being actively studied for TRD treatment.

why do people use ketamine

These effects have seen a growing and worrying use of this drug for date rape. Ketamine has also been used for treatment of refractory status epilepticus. This is a dangerous type of seizure that requires emergency treatment with anti-seizure medication. Ketamine is used as an anesthetic in surgery for adults and children.

Is ketamine addictive?

It can have effects within seconds, and the effects wear off within 15 to 20 minutes. This action can differ for people who have medical issues, such as liver disease or kidney impairment. For some people, colors get brighter and more intense, Levine said. Others find that their hearing becomes more acute, which could explain why my friend’s dog freaked me out so much. “When we use it clinically, if somebody is in a room and there are whispered voices in another room or the other side of the building, you can clearly hear them,” Levine explained.

There’s also a chance that ketamine obtained outside medical clinics could be laced with other drugs—there have been reports in Australia of ketamine laced with opioids. “The last thing you want is to mix an anxiety episode with a dissociative episode—that’ll freak [you] out,” Giordano said. That held true until some friends were snorting K in their apartment, and curiosity got the best of me. I told my friend to give me what she deemed a microdose (though I’m unsure of the actual dosage), then cut that in half just to be prudent. But once we started talking, it was like my ego’s defenses eroded and I could see myself from the outside.

So, wait, is ketamine legal?

However, things are changing and there may be promising news in the future regarding insurance coverage. If the FDA approves ketamine for other conditions based on new research, your insurance plan could cover ketamine in the future for treatment-resistant depression and other conditions. Another form of ketamine called R-ketamine is currently being studied for treatment-resistant depression.

The FDA has warned that ketamine and compounded ketamine products aren’t approved to treat any psychiatric disorder. It may be an option for people who either haven’t been helped by antidepressant pills or who have major depressive disorder and are suicidal. Over the past decade or so, legal ketamine clinics have popped up to treat depression, OCD, and other mental health conditions. “It has literally saved lives for people who were ready to give up all hope,” Masand said. No medications have been FDA-approved to treat ketamine addiction, but doctors may prescribe other medications to help treat co-occurring mental health conditions. Hospitalization may sometimes be required to manage serious withdrawal symptoms.

Ketamine reduces certain nervous system functions by inhibiting normal N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor activity. Normally, NMDA receptors, which are located on the surface of nerve cells, bind to neurotransmitters to modulate the actions of the nervous system. Giordano also warned against taking ketamine more than once in one sitting. People may feel tempted, since the effects wear off fairly quickly, but the effects of multiple doses add up. After overusing ketamine for an extended period of time, some experience ketamine cystitis—damage to the bladder that can lead to pain and frequent urination.