What is Ketamine?

Ketamine (sometimes known as special K or simply K) is short-acting general anaesthetic typically used in veterinary medicine, although it is sometimes used on humans too. It most commonly comes as a grainy white powder, but can occasionally be in liquid or tablet form too. It can be either swallowed, injected or snorted.

What are the effects of Ketamine?

Immediate effects: Due to its properties as an anaesthetic, Ketamine will often produce a floaty, out of body feeling. It can also produce powerful hallucinations which in themselves can be extremely dangerous: for example, hallucinations which convince the person they can exist without breathing or that they can fly. In some, the drug can cause paralysis, which can leave the individual in a particularly vulnerable state, especially if taken at a party.

Side effects: Another risk of taking a drug that is typically used for anaesthesia, is that the person may seriously hurt themselves and not notice until the following day which can cause a whole host of problems. When ketamine is mixed with alcohol and other stimulants it becomes particularly dangerous because it drastically increases the risk of respiratory difficulties. Ketamine addiction has also been shown to cause damage to the bladder which causes severe pain and difficulty passing urine. Ketamine can also cause feelings of confusion, panic attacks and depression.

What is the treatment for Ketamine addiction?

Whilst there are no common physical withdrawal symptoms with Ketamine, the effect it has on the brain means that it is easy to develop a psychological dependence on the drug, which in some ways can be harder to beat than a physical dependence. Intense cravings for Ketamine can occur a long time after it has left the system. This is why it is best for anyone seeking help for Ketamine addiction to enter a residential rehab clinic. There, staff will be on hand 24 hours a day to support the person whilst they are detoxing, and also to provide the psychological support that is so essential in tackling any addiction. Ketamine addiction will often spiral out of control, and that is why it is important to seek professional support sooner rather than later.

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