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Anytime a medication is used in a way other than how it was intended, that is drug abuse. Repeated drug abuse leads to addiction, which is an uncontrollable need to do or have something.

Using ketamine without being able to stop is ketamine addiction.

What is Ketamine?

Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic. Dissociative means that it causes people to feel separated from reality. Anesthetics cause a sleep-like effect on the body. Ketamine is used in healthcare and by veterinarians.

Ketamine attaches to a specific receptor in the brain. This receptor is the NMDA receptor that normally works with glutamate. Glutamate is a neurotransmitter that is important for learning. It also affects memory, pain recognition, and emotion. When ketamine attaches to the NMDA receptor it blocks glutamate from attaching.

Medical Uses of Ketamine

Ketalar is the brand name of ketamine. It is used as an anesthetic for surgery or medical procedures. It comes as a liquid that is injected into the body. You can not get a prescription for this drug because it is only used in a medical office or hospital setting.

A nose spray form of ketamine called Spravato was approved by the FDA. It treats major depressive disorder and treatment-resistant depression in adults. Medical personnel supervises the patient taking the drug in a health care setting.

The patient has to stay at the office for two hours after using the nasal spray. This is to make sure there are no serious side effects. Because this drug is easy to get addicted to, only patients in a special program can use Spravato.

Ketamine is also used by veterinarians as a sedative for dogs and cats. When the dosage is low, it is safe for these animals.

Illegal Ketamine Use

Recreational ketamine use started in the early 1980s. Ketamine use often happened in nightclubs. It is still used as a party drug today.

Ketamine changes the perception of sounds and sight. It can cause hallucinations. The effects are similar to PCP and LSD, but for a shorter time frame. The effects last 30 to 60 minutes.

This drug is also used as a date-rape drug. It has no color or taste. People have no idea if it was dropped into their drink. Depending on the amount used, the victim will have no memory of what happened.

Most illegal ketamine is stolen from medical and veterinary offices, or smuggled in from Mexico. Ketamine sold on the street is usually evaporated into powder. The powder is snorted, or compressed into a pill.

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What are the Street Names for Ketamine?

Ketamine was added to the list of controlled substances in 1999. It is a schedule III controlled substance. This is similar to prescription drugs that have a possibility of addiction. Selling, or intending to sell, ketamine can be punished with a fine or jail time.

Ketamine has a lot of street names, including:

  • Special K
  • K
  • Vitamin K
  • Super K
  • Lady K
  • Ket
  • Kit Kat
  • Ketaset
  • Ketaject
  • Jet
  • Special LA Coke
  • Super Acid
  • Cat Tranquilizers
  • Cat Valium

What are the Side Effects of Ketamine?

Ketamine use is only safe in a supervised medical setting. When used for anesthesia, another drug is sometimes given to prevent hallucinations.

Even when used properly there are some side effects like:

  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Vomiting
  • Double vision
  • Nausea

During recreational use, people take more than what is usually used in a medical setting. At higher doses, ketamine creates a euphoric feeling. People feel disconnected from their bodies.

It can also cause the following:

  • Balance difficulty
  • Slurred speech
  • Vision problems
  • Drowsiness
  • Hallucinations

Sometimes people can have very bad reactions to ketamine. Some experience a “k-hole” that is compared to a near-death experience. People in a k-hole can not move or communicate with others.

Using Ketamine with Alcohol

Mixing ketamine and alcohol is dangerous. Using ketamine and alcohol together often can cause liver and kidney damage in the long term.

Alcohol and ketamine are central nervous system depressant drugs. Adding them together increases the effects of both on the body. Alcohol intoxication and ketamine together can cause coma and death.

Signs of ketamine combined with alcohol can include:

  • Impaired motor function
  • High blood pressure
  • Respiratory problems
  • Unconsciousness
  • Mental confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Clammy skin
  • Low body temperature

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Signs of Addiction to Ketamine

All addictions have some similar characteristics. People with addictions will crave the substance or activity they are addicted to. They will ignore family and friends to get more of a substance or activity. They may have problems at school or work because of addiction.

The signs of addiction to ketamine can include the following:

  • Frequent state of distraction and/or drowsiness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Fatigue or lack of motivation
  • Reduced ability to feel physical pain
  • Loss of coordination
  • Slurred speech
  • Redness of the skin
  • Insomnia
  • Bladder pain
  • Incontinence

Ketamine Withdrawal and Detox

Withdrawal from ketamine has few physical symptoms. Using ketamine often leads to increased tolerance. The individual needs to use larger and larger doses to get the same effects.

When substance use is regular or heavy for a long time, physical addiction becomes likely. Physical addiction occurs when someone’s body chemistry adjusts to having the substance consistently.

Ketamine withdrawal does not have many physical symptoms. This makes it possible to stop ketamine use without tapering the dose. This may be necessary when chronic long-term use has led to damage to the urinary tract. Stopping all ketamine use is necessary to improve bladder function.

Ketamine withdrawal symptoms start around 24-72 hours after the last dose.

Withdrawal symptoms last 4-6 days and can include:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Sweating
  • Tremors
  • Restlessness
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Nightmares
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Chills

The biggest risk when it comes to ketamine withdrawal is depression. It can lead to suicidal urges. This is especially true for those who use ketamine to treat the underlying depression.

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SpringBoard Recovery Offers Treatment for Ketamine Addiction

SpringBoard Recovery has been around since 2014. Our commitment to your recovery is shown by our continued improvement. We adapt our treatment to meet the unique needs of our clients who are currently in our care.

At SpringBoard Recovery, we understand that addiction is hard. We are here to help you through all the challenges that you face. We work with trusted drug detox facilities in the area. It will help make any withdrawal symptoms safer and less uncomfortable.

During drug rehab, you will be part of individual therapy and group therapy. Therapy will help you find your reason for substance use. You will receive peer support as you go through your journey.

Sober living services are also available. This is a house just for people in addiction recovery. You can work on making the transition back into a normal routine in a substance-free home. There are no drugs or alcohol allowed in a sober living home.

This is a process of positive changes. You will build a network of supporters and have a team of professionals that are always ready to help. Please contact us today and begin the life of sobriety that you deserve.

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