Effects of Ketamine on Users
As a dissociative anesthetic, ketamine is popular at raves and clubs for users who want to experience a dream-like state or out of body experience. It is also used as a date rape drug for its sedative effects that leave the victim unable to move or speak. Ketamine has been used by doctors and surgeons for years as a general anesthetic and pain reliever. However, it does have some potentially fatal side effects and it is easy to overdose on this drug.
Ketamine in the Body
In the brain, ketamine blocks the neurotransmitter glutamate, inducing a dissociative sensation in the user. Medically, this drug is used to help block sensations of pain in the body by distancing the patient from the pain. It can also create a euphoric feeling in users. When used in hospitals, ketamine is combined with another drug to prevent hallucinogenic side effects. It is also used as a treatment for bronchial spasms in people with asthma or obstructive airway disease and has been shown to have potential for treatment of bipolar patients.
At higher doses, ketamine creates an extreme dissociative effect that is very similar to an out of body experience. Long-term users of this drug are usually seeking this experience when they overdose. These higher dosages also depress the respiratory system, cardiac system and impair the user’s ability to move. These dosages can dangerously lower the heart rate and respiratory rate, possibly leading to death.
Side effects of ketamine
Ketamine usage can also result in several short term side effects. These include the following,
- Blurred vision or double vision
- Nausea and vomiting
- Altered body image
Long-Term Effects of Ketamine Use
Over time, users develop a tolerance to ketamine and cravings for the drug. It does have addictive components. Users need more and more of the drug to get the same effect, and eventually they overdose.
It is also a hallucinogenic and, like other hallucinogenics, ketamine can result in flashbacks in users. These “bad trips” are frightening, create agitation and may lead the user to make potentially dangerous and irrational actions.
Some studies have shown that long-term usage of low doses of ketamine can lead to verbal, short term memory and visual memory impairment. Another study in the International Journal of Clinical Practice has shown that ketamine dependence can result in urinary tract problems such as, blood in the urine, incontinence, decreased bladder volume, and even Renal papillary necrosis.
A rehabilitation program that includes counseling and group therapy can help users get out of the club lifestyle. Behavioral therapy, in particular, can help users deal with cravings and find alternative methods of increasing spiritual awareness.