Mixing Ketamine and Alcohol: Side Effects, Interactions And Blackouts
Ketamine has been used since 1970 as an anesthetic to put people to sleep before procedures and surgeries. Ketamine can induce loss of consciousness, and it can be relaxing to people. Ketamine is also used in veterinary medicine. A class III drug, ketamine is only approved to be used in hospitals and medical settings and administered by trained medical professionals. Ketamine’s structure is similar to PCP, which is a club drug. Ketamine causes people to enter a trance-like state, and they often disconnect from their body and their environment. Due to the hallucinogenic and dissociative effects of ketamine, it’s become increasingly used as a club or party drug, similar to ecstasy. The effects of ketamine are difficult to predict. Some possible ketamine effects can include changes in perception, confusion, delirium, agitation and cognition problems. Other ketamine effects can include uncontrollable eye and muscle movement, slurred speech, amnesia, numbness, temporary paralysis, pressure in the eyes and brain and changes in behavior.
While some people feel euphoric and love the experience of being on ketamine, other people find that they have terror-producing experiences. Some people who use ketamine say they felt near death. People can become incredibly afraid, anxious and paranoid. This can lead to violence and aggression. People who take ketamine can also have changes in judgment and behavior that lead them to put themselves or others in dangerous situations. Psychosis can occur with ketamine misuse, as can respiratory problems and seizures. Long-term effects of ketamine can lead to bladder and kidney problems, ongoing memory problems and mental disorders. People who take ketamine often are also at risk of developing depression.
It’s not an uncommon situation for people who use it recreationally to mix alcohol and ketamine. Both are substances commonly used in party environments. However, the risks of mixing alcohol and ketamine are significant and potentially deadly. First and foremost, both alcohol and ketamine impair motor skills and judgment. When used together, these effects are heightened. Signs someone has mixed alcohol and ketamine can include slurred speech, problems walking, involuntary eye movement, stupor, sedation, amnesia and delirium. Even more serious side effects of mixing alcohol and ketamine can include increased body temperature, high blood pressure, the inability to move, paranoia and depression. Someone who mixes alcohol and ketamine can experience seizures, coma or death.
In the long-term, there are risks of mixing alcohol and ketamine too. Someone who regularly uses alcohol and ketamine can have liver problems such as fatty liver or cirrhosis. This combination can cause heart problems such as a weakened heart muscle, irregular heartbeat or an increased risk of stroke. There is a fine line with ketamine between a dose that causes intoxication and a dose that leads to overdose. When alcohol is brought into the equation, it’s even more unpredictable. The majority of hospital visits, overdoses and deaths related to ketamine also involve alcohol.
Not only can mixing alcohol and ketamine lead to dangerous side effects, memory loss and a lack of judgment but it can also contribute to the development of a polysubstance addiction. When someone regularly uses alcohol and ketamine together, they can become dependent or addicted to both, creating a more complex treatment scenario. Mixing alcohol and ketamine can also trigger psychological disorders, including anxiety and depression. Alcohol and ketamine should never be used with one another, as the risks are significant.
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Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.
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