Ketamine Overdose Signs, Symptoms, & Effects
Recreational Use of Ketamine
Ketamine is an injectable anesthetic drug that has seen a rise in popularity as a recreational club drug. While it is officially prescribed in a liquid injectable form, it is often sold illegally in a powder or pill form. People using ketamine recreationally can snort, smoke, inject, or dissolve the drug into liquids that are orally ingested. Ketamine does not have the reputation for deadly overdoses, like opioids or other drugs, but the short-term and long-term effects of the drug can still lead to dangerous consequences.
A person using ketamine may also experience visual or auditory hallucinations, rapid heart rate, high blood pressure, nausea, and vomiting. The fact that the drug can be dissolved into liquid without altering the taste, along with the near-paralyzed state one may experience under a heavy dose, makes ketamine a popular date rape drug. Ketamine may also be cut with other drugs. This makes dose strength difficult to anticipate, which can lead to unexpected results.
People who use ketamine on a long-term basis may develop a tolerance to the drug or become dependent upon it. Fortunately, the withdrawal symptoms from ketamine are mild, compared to most addictive drugs, and tend to resolve within a few days. Recovery from ketamine addiction involves mostly cognitive behavioral therapy, which focuses more on the patient’s habits and frame of mind than physical detox or rehabilitation.
Since ketamine is popular in the club scene, many people using the drug mix it with alcohol or other substances. This practice significantly increases the risk of overdose. Overdose symptoms include:
- Violent outbursts (due to hallucinations)
The combination of the loss of consciousness, decrease in motor function and vomiting can cause one to choke on their own vomit. If you see someone who you know or suspect to have taken ketamine become unconscious, roll the person onto their side and contact emergency medical services. You could end up saving this person’s life.
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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