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What Is Ketamine?

Although ketamine may be used as an analgesic in medical settings, it is a concerning street drug. Recreationally, individuals may seek out the use of this substance for its seemingly dream-like effects, which can cause long-term physical and mental health consequences. The repeated use of ketamine can lead to significant damage to internal organ systems as well as increase an individual’s risk of developing an addiction or chemical dependency.

Throughout the last several decades, ketamine has become a popular club drug with many street names: special K, super K, vitamin K, and many others. It is essential for people to recognize these names and to understand the harmful consequences that can result from the recreational use of Ketamine.

What Are the Effects of Ketamine?

Ketamine is a dissociative drug. It distorts the perception of sight and sound and can cause an individual to feel a lost sense of reality. However, compared to other hallucinogenic drugs, the effects of ketamine are relatively short-lasting. While the onset of effects tends to be rapid, general effects can last anywhere between 30 minutes up to two hours.

Short-Term Mental Effects

While hallucinogenic effects will diminish after about 90 minutes, an individual may experience impaired senses, judgment, and motor control that can last up to 24 hours after ketamine is taken. The repeated use of ketamine is associated with both physical and mental health problems. Ketamine can cause:

  • Hallucinations
  • Depression
  • Delirium
  • Amnesia

Short-Term Physical Effects

While under the influence of the drug, the physical effects of ketamine may include:

  • Dangerously high blood pressure
  • Slower breathing
  • Unconsciousness
  • Bladder and stomach pain
  • Impaired motor function
  • Ulcers
  • Kidney issues
  • Potentially fatal respiratory problems

Potential Long-Term Effects

It is also important to recognize that, even with one-time use, an individual may experience withdrawal effects the day after taking ketamine. These effects can include:

  • Disorientation
  • Impaired judgment
  • Anxiety
  • Flashbacks
  • Mood and personality changes
  • Problems with memory and concentration
  • Psychosis

How Does Ketamine Worsen Mental Health Disorders?

Teens with clinical depression and other mental health disorders are already prone to self-medicating their symptoms. Ketamine, in particular, is dangerous because it can cause dissociative states, which can lead to a lost sense of reality. Taking ketamine may also lead to hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD), which is a non-psychotic disorder that causes an individual to experience lasting, persistent visual hallucinations and perceptual distortions.

Ketamine is a very powerful drug that is dangerous to administer unless in a clinical setting and only by specially trained doctors. Even then, the effects of the drug have too much potential to worsen depression symptoms, which can increase the temptation to commit self-harm. Therefore, we do not believe that any mental health professional should recommend ketamine in any form as a treatment for depression.

Understanding Ketamine’s Potential for Abuse

Not only can ketamine cause long-lasting consequences for an individual’s physical and mental health, but it also has an incredibly high potential for abuse. Simply put, ketamine is a drug that stops the brain from interpreting pain messages and causes an altered state of reality. An individual may use ketamine the first time because they are curious about the drug’s effects; however, continued use can quickly become chronic once an individual experiences the drug’s seemingly euphoric effects.

When ketamine is used initially, an individual may experience a high that they perceive as happy or relaxing. When an individual uses the drug repeatedly, they will need more of the drug to achieve desired effects. This is called tolerance and is a significant characteristic of addiction.

There are factors that play into how an individual experiences the effects of ketamine. These factors can also predict how quickly an individual may develop an addiction. These factors include:

  • The intensity of use
  • The purity of the ketamine they are taking
  • The individual’s size, including height and weight
  • The route of administration
  • The frequency of use
  • The combination of use with other drugs

Treatment for Ketamine Addiction

If your teen has experimented with ketamine for recreational purposes or as a treatment for depression, it is important to get them connected with treatment resources as soon as possible. Ketamine addictions can challenging to overcome, but with help from a specialized facility, your teen can experience recovery with grace. Consider placing your teen in a treatment program that recognizes the difficulties with treating co-occurring disorders, such as drug addiction and mental health conditions. Mental health providers specializing in treating co-occurring disorders like these have a higher success in treating ketamine addiction than drug treatment centers that only focus on addiction. This dramatically increases the chance of long-term recovery for your teenager.

Ketamine is a dangerous street drug. The recreational use of ketamine can lead to an altered state of consciousness, leading to a permanent loss of sense of reality. Other harmful effects may include paranoia and anxiety, impaired judgment and coordination, and even depression. Ketamine can cause damaging effects to internal organ systems and can lead to addiction, even with one-time use. It is essential to get help for your teen struggling with ketamine use or addiction. Teens and young adults experiencing drug addiction can find help at Clearfork Academy, which specializes in helping young people conquer a variety of mental health conditions to live fuller, healthier lives. We offer treatment specifically for co-occurring disorders, which can be a game-changer for the mental health of your teen. To learn more about our treatment center and treatment programs, call us today at (817) 259-2597.

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