Ketamine (which is also referred to as K, Special K, Vitamin K, green,
and jet) is a tranquilizer (anesthetic) that has some medical use with humans but which is more commonly used in veterinary medicine.
Ketamine is a “club drug,”
a hallucinogen, and a dissociative drug.
Other common dissociative hallucinogens are PCP and nitrous oxide (laughing gas).
When abused for recreational purposes, ketamine is commonly snorted in powder form or injected in liquid form.
Ketamine abuse can lead to a range of experiences and emotions, from a mild floating sensation to a hallucinogenic “out of body experience.”
These effects have made ketamine a popular club drug (abused while attending dance parties, clubs, or all-night raves). Other common club drugs include Ecstasy (MDMA), Rohypnol, and GHB.
According to the 2010 edition of the annual Monitoring the Future survey on drug use and attitudes among U.S. adolescents and teenagers,
1 percent of 8th graders, 1.1 percent of 10th graders, and 1.6 percent of 12th graders report having abused ketamine at least once in the previous year.
In the 10 years that ketamine abuse has been included in the MTF study, overall past-year ketamine abuse among surveyed students has fallen from a high of 2.0 percent (in 2000) to 1.2 percent in 2010.
Ketamine abuse can also lead to an increased heart rate — and, when abused in combination with other drugs such as alcohol or marijuana, can result in a range of dangerous side effects.
Other common effects of ketamine abuse include the following:
Seizure-like muscle contractions
Hallucinations and nightmares
Ketamine abuse does not usually lead to the type of physical addiction that results from the abuse of drugs such as alcohol and heroin do.
But the ability of ketamine to impair a user’s cognitive abilities, and to lead to a desire for continued use, means that ending one’s ketamine abuse may not be as simple as just deciding to quit.
When trying to stop using or abusing ketamine, users may experience cognitive and psychological symptoms that make it difficult for them to cease their use of the drug.
Also, if a person’s ketamine abuse resulted from a mental health issue, mood disorder, or behavioral problem, the co-occurring disorder may also preclude stopping without professional intervention.
Also, as is the case with any abuse of mind-altering substances, the risk of long-term cognitive impairments, psychosis, and paranoia, ketamine abusers may have great difficulty making wise decisions regarding their health and their behaviors.
Ketamine Addiction Treatment
Treatment for ketamine abuse or addiction depends upon several factors, including the age and gender of the patient, the length and severity of the patient’s drug problems, and the presence of any co-occurring disorders.
Treatment for ketamine abuse or addiction may be done on an outpatient, residential, or partial hospitalization basis.
Treatment for ketamine abuse or addiction may include the following therapies and techniques:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
Biofeedback & Neurofeedback