Ketamine is a medication intended to be used only in hospital and clinical settings. In medicine, ketamine is used as an anesthetic, primarily. It creates a trance-like state in patients undergoing procedures, and it also produces pain relief and memory loss. Ketamine can have fewer risks than other anesthetics because it doesn’t slow breathing. Unfortunately, ketamine is often used recreationally. Ketamine is referred to by street names like Special K and Vitamin K. It has dissociative effects, and it’s similar to the club drug PCP. When people use ketamine, they may hallucinate and be unable to move or speak. Ketamine can also induce feelings of euphoria. Ketamine is classified as a dissociative anesthetic with both psychedelic and hallucinogenic properties.
There isn’t a lot of evidence currently indicating ketamine creates a physical dependence. What can happen, however, is that people may develop a tolerance to ketamine. This means someone will need higher doses to achieve the effects they’re seeking. This then gives rise to a cycle of ketamine misuse. A person will likely continue to seek out and use ketamine, even when there are negative consequences. Ketamine is a drug that also tends to be used in binge cycles. A binge cycle is when someone uses a lot of ketamine in a short period to maintain the high. The primary withdrawal symptoms of someone who uses ketamine often are going to be psychological. For example, the main ketamine withdrawal symptom is cravings. Other potential withdrawal symptoms of ketamine can include:
- Emotional disturbances
- Rapid heart rate
- Rapid breathing
Many of the most dangerous possible withdrawal symptoms of ketamine are related to heart rate and blood pressure. Ketamine impacts heart rate and blood pressure when someone is using it. If someone has been using it for a prolonged period and they stop suddenly, their body is going to try to make up for the absence of the drug. Fluctuations in heart rate and blood pressure need to be carefully managed in a medical setting.
Along with ketamine’s own withdrawal symptoms, more research is being done to look at the potential for ketamine to be used during opiate withdrawal. There have been indications using ketamine for opiate withdrawal could be helpful for people with severe addictions and dependence. The reason using ketamine for opiate withdrawal could be helpful is because it can reduce pain and also possibly alleviate other severe symptoms of opiate withdrawal. While ketamine for opiate withdrawal is showing promise, there is a big warning for people. No one should ever try to go through opiate withdrawal without medical help and even more than that, they shouldn’t try to use a powerful and potentially deadly drug like ketamine without proper medical care.
A professional ketamine detox is the best option for most people, especially if they’re chronic takers of the drug. During a medical, professional ketamine detox, a person can be monitored to make sure they don’t experience dangerous symptoms. For example, since heart rate and blood pressure can fluctuate during ketamine withdrawal, a medical team can monitor a patient’s vital signs and give any necessary treatments. Psychological distress and cravings are also issues during ketamine detox. During a professional ketamine detox, an individual can be assessed for mental health conditions and given the right treatments and medications to keep these psychological symptoms under control. There aren’t specific drugs used during a ketamine detox. Instead, the focus is on keeping a person safe and comfortable, and minimizing both physical and psychological symptoms as they occur.
Addiction treatment is available, and today is the day to make the first step. The Recovery Village’s expert team is available now.
The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with 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 providers.