Individuals can use ketamine in different ways because it's available as a powder, pill, or liquid. Since it's colorless, odorless, and undetectable in drinks, some people use it as a date rape drug.
Ketamine can distort reality, paralyze muscles, and lead to a loss of feeling. Since tolerance builds quickly, people have to take higher or more frequent doses to achieve a high.
How and why do people use it?
Those who use this drug recreationally often enjoy the relaxing short-term effects and dream-like states it can cause. In smaller doses, it helps relieve pain and can make a person feel calmer. It can also produce a sensation of being detached from the body. Some people experience brief periods of visual and auditory hallucinations. Sometimes these hallucinations are pleasant, but they can be terrifying. In fact, bad trips are often referred to as going down a K-hole.
In addition to the calming and hallucinogenic effects, people may experience slurred speech, dizziness, less response to pain, loss of motor coordination, and vivid dreams.
Those attending raves may seek a ketamine high to feel an out of body experience while dancing and engaging with others. Unfortunately, some people use it to drug unsuspecting victims to put them in a vulnerable position for sexual advances.
What are the symptoms and signs of ketamine use and addiction?
Do you suspect a loved one is abusing ketamine? There are some signs and symptoms that may confirm your suspicions. People who use it may act strangely; they often don’t respond to painful stimuli. They have a depressed mental state so they may seem out of it or be unable to have meaningful interactions. One telltale sign is nystagmus, which refers to uncontrolled, repetitive eye movements.
People who have been abusing the drug for a more extended period of time may have difficulty concentrating or thinking clearly. Their memory may be impacted, and they often have generalized feelings of detachment from the real world.
How long do the effects last? Most taking the drug experience the high for a couple of hours. Some effects of the drug, however, such as impaired coordination and judgment, may last much longer than the initial high.
If someone becomes dependent on this drug, they may experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking it. Some symptoms mimic a bad case of the flu. If you suspect a loved one is dealing with withdrawal, however, you may notice other psychological effects not often associated with the flu. Here are common withdrawal symptoms:
- Nausea and vomiting
- Stiff muscles
- Dilated pupils
- Involuntary eye movements
- Mood changes
- Intense cravings
Depending on a person’s history of drug use, the withdrawal symptoms may last for a few days or up to a week. The unpleasant experience causes many to relapse. This is one reason why it is important to get help for your loved one if you suspect their flu-like symptoms may be the result of withdrawal.
In addition to withdrawal symptoms and specific signs of ketamine use, there are certain red flags that are often common to people who are struggling with any type of addiction. Many long-term users develop tolerance to the drug. This means they need more of the drug to get the desired effects. When a substance starts taking over a person’s life, they may show certain signs even if they are hiding their drug use from loved ones. These include:
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Associating with a new peer group
- Altering sleep patterns
- Mood swings and irritability
- Losing interest in activities they once loved to do
- Increased absence from work or school
- Disappearing for periods of time
- Presence of drug paraphernalia in their living space. This could include pill packets, needles, or empty medical bottles.
- Making references to the drug or its street names
- Financial difficulties
- Engaging in risky or dangerous behaviors while high or to obtain the drug
If you notice any of these signs in yourself or a loved one, help is available. Addiction is a progressive disease that only gets worse as time goes on. The obsessive thoughts and compulsive behaviors that are often associated with the drug won’t magically clear up on their own. The longer a person waits to seek help, the more likely it is that they will suffer major health issues, interpersonal problems, legal trouble, and emotional difficulties.
Is ketamine dangerous?
Ketamine has some therapeutic purposes in the medical world. However, when it is not taken under the guidance of a doctor, it can be very dangerous. In fact, the long-term effects of abuse can cause major damage to the body. More alarmingly, even short-term use can be deadly.
People who use this drug may experience an altered state of consciousness, which impacts their judgment and perceptions of the world. Because hallucinations are likely, one may experience a “bad trip” and start acting erratically. This can put a person in a vulnerable position, cause them to engage in dangerous behaviors, or lead to trouble with the law. It is an anesthetic so someone who is using it can suffer serious injury without even realizing it.
Can you overdose on ketamine? Yes. Overdose is very dangerous and life-threatening. Even small doses that are injected or snorted can lead to overdose. Using it with alcohol or other central nervous system depressants like Valium or Xanax increases the risk of a dangerous overdose.
Symptoms of overdose include difficulty breathing, extreme confusion, paralysis, seizures, elevated blood pressure, coma, and death. Using the drug also causes changes in blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration. Many people who are abusing the drug experience severe abdominal pain. The kidneys, bladder, and urinary tract are also affected. In fact, long-term use can cause ketamine bladder syndrome which is very serious and often irreversible.
In addition to the physical dangers, people can also experience panic attacks, anxiety, aggression, and depression. Memory is often negatively impacted, as well as the ability to learn new information and concentrate.
The risks of using this drug far outweigh the brief periods of physical pleasure. If you’re beginning to realize just how dangerous this drug is to your health and well-being, you may also be wondering how you can finally get clean. Luckily, help is available. In fact, knowledgeable professionals help people struggling with ketamine addiction every day.
Ketamine Addiction Treatment Stages
Although overcoming ketamine addiction is a trying process, comprehensive care can make it possible. At Pinnacle Peak Recovery, we offer a full spectrum of care to ensure that individuals have access to compassionate professionals during every step of the ketamine addiction treatment process.
Professional detox is necessary in order to overcome ketamine withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms usually start one to three days after you quit and last for more than two weeks.
During ketamine withdrawal, you might experience fatigue, shaking, delusions, hearing loss, nausea, and rapid breathing. Some individuals experience depression, rage, insomnia, double vision, and hallucinations.
Pinnacle Peak Recovery has a partnership with a local detox facility that can help you through the withdrawal process. Our goal is to make sure that you're free of ketamine toxins before we begin your rehab program.
Rehab With Therapy
After detox, individuals transfer to Pinnacle Peak Recovery for the core phase of your ketamine addiction treatment. We provide 45, 60, and 90-day program durations. However, we can extend your plan if you need more time to overcome obstacles or adjust to sobriety.
Inpatient treatment allows individuals to stay in a safe, drug-free environment during early recovery. It also provides 24-hour support for anything that you need. However, we offer partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient, and standard outpatient programs, too.
No matter which programs you enroll in, you'll have access to evidence-based and holistic treatments. At Pinnacle Peak Recovery, we use family therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR). We also have meditation, yoga, equine therapy, and Tai Chi. Our team facilitates experiential therapies such as hiking, bowling, and team sports as well.
When you complete your core ketamine addiction treatment program, you have access to our aftercare program as well. Pinnacle Peak Recovery sober living services continue to give you treatment and support. We provide living quarters with peers who are also in recovery. Ongoing medical care, therapy and support group meetings help you stay on track as you adjust to life without drugs.
Pinnacle Peak Recovery Can Help You Beat Ketamine Addiction
If you're ready for ketamine addiction treatment, talk to Pinnacle Peak Recovery. We create customized programs around your unique needs. Alongside the above drug and alcohol addiction treatment services, our team can help you develop life skills, including:
- Relapse prevention skills
- Mindfulness training
- Stress management skills
Pinnacle Peak Recovery wants to ensure that you know how to live healthy even after treatment. Our nutrition education is part of our effort to instill healthy eating habits. Our fitness program can help you develop an exercise routine that keeps you fit and stress-free.
Don't let ketamine or other drugs keep you from living the life that you want. Let Pinnacle Peak Recovery show you how to achieve your dreams. Call us today at 480-787-2409 to begin your sober journey.