Dissociative Anesthetics

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Dissociative anesthetic drugs, or dissociative drugs, are a class of hallucinogens that distort one’s sense of time, vision, sound and self. Drugs that fall into this category cause a person to experience hallucinations, sensory deprivation, and may even result in a sense of euphoria. These drugs work by effectively disrupting actions of a brain chemical, glutamate, that plays a major role in emotion, cognition, and perception of pain. Originally developed as surgical anesthetics, these drugs produce mind-altering effects and produce feelings of detachment or dissociation from oneself and the world around.

A complicated illness, substance abuse presents unique threats to women’s health. Though men are traditionally known to have a higher rate of substance abuse, women are just as likely to be addicted and can be more susceptible to drug cravings or relapse. A leading women-only rehab center in Arizona, Sovereign Health of Arizona provides women suffering from drug addiction with scientifically-proven treatment for dissociative drugs abuse and addiction by utilizing cutting-edge and evidence based modalities as well as cognitive and experiential therapies.

Abusing dissociative drugs

In addition to causing their users to have visual and auditory distortions and suffer from a feeling of dissociation, use of dissociative drugs can also lead to memory loss, numbness, physical and psychological distress, and cause changes in sensory perceptions.

Dissociative drugs make users experience a detachment from the reality that surrounds them. For someone who has experienced severe trauma or has an untreated and disturbing mental health disorder, the drugs’ escapist quality is enough to lure the individual into dissociative addiction.

Following are the common types of dissociative drugs:

  • Phencyclidine (PCP)
  • Ketamine
  • Dextromethorphan (DXM)
  • Salvia divinorum

Dissociative drugs abuse: Signs and symptoms

Originally developed for medical purposes, dissociative drugs have since been abused and misused for illegal purposes. When consumed in higher doses, these drugs can cause one to experience physical as well as psychological distress.

Physical effects of dissociative drugs include:

  • Anxiety
  • Changes in sensory perception
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation
  • Dizziness
  • Feelings of detachment
  • Hallucinations
  • Increase in blood pressure, heart rate, respiration
  • Nausea
  • Numbness
  • Paranoia

In addition to causing general side-effects, different dissociative drugs can produce a variety of distinct and dangerous effects.

Dissociative drugs abuse: Red flags

Though each drug has its own unique symptoms (behavioral and physical) that differentiate it from the others, those with drug problems might act differently than they usually do and might display a sudden loss of interest in hobbies or favorite activities, sudden changes in behavior, mood swings, and display physical signs including a runny nose, glassy eyes, or changes in their sleep patterns.

DXM abuse: Signs and symptoms

  • Bluish fingernails and lips
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Convulsions
  • Hallucinations
  • Muscle twitches
  • Palpitations
  • Stomach spasms
  • Vomiting

Ketamine abuse: Signs and symptoms

  • Trance-like state, known as a K-hole
  • Amnesia
  • Impaired vision
  • Loss of motor coordination
  • Muscle twitches
  • Shortness of breath
  • Vomiting

PCP abuse: Signs and symptoms

  • Catatonia
  • Convulsions
  • High blood pressure
  • Psychosis
  • Uncontrolled movement
  • Violent behavior

Salvia abuse: Signs and symptoms

  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting

Withdrawal symptoms

For someone abusing different types of dissociative anesthetic drugs, he or she may end up experiencing extremely uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. The symptoms may vary depending on the substance abused.

PCP abuse: Withdrawal symptoms

  • Seizures
  • Weight loss
  • Memory problems
  • Poor reflexes
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Coma

Ketamine abuse: Withdrawal symptoms

  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Psychosis
  • Insomnia
  • Slowed respiration and heart rate

DXM abuse: Withdrawal symptoms

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Restlessness

Salvia abuse: Withdrawal symptoms

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Panic attacks
  • Paranoia

Inside the brain

Most dissociative drugs work by throwing a wrench in the communications of the neurotransmitter glutamate. Glutamate is an excitatory brain chemical responsible for activating various neurons, including cognition, memory, and learning. Salvia activates particular opioid receptors in the brain.

At high dosages, dissociative drugs may damage the brain and can cause aggressive behavior, seizures, coma or even death.

Getting help for abuse

Dissociative drugs can widely differ in the toll they take on the body, so those addicted to them will benefit from treatment programs geared specifically toward their drug of abuse. In addition to causing a variety of physical, psychological, and long-term effects, prolonged use of drugs could cause one to experience painful or dangerous withdrawal symptoms.

Treatment for PCP and ketamine addiction treatment have nuances that a trustworthy treatment provider should fluidly be equipped to navigate. A comprehensive treatment for dissociative anesthetics addiction or abuse under the care of a trained addiction counselor or center combines medically-supervised detoxification along with intense psychotherapies.

Drug detoxification or detoxification treatment is the first step in a comprehensive rehabilitation program that offers all the tools required for recovery. A supervised detox program can prevent unpleasant or fatal consequences resulting from the sudden cessation of use and can aid the patient in becoming abstinent from drugs. Post a successful detox, patients should be enrolled in an addiction treatment program that continues to build on relapse prevention tools, coping mechanisms, healthy habits, and much more.

Women who are addicted to dissociative anesthetics can overcome their addiction through medication management, cognitive behavioral therapy and experiential therapies under professional care that teach them cathartic techniques to triumph life’s challenging circumstances instead of looking to find an escape route.

Why choose Sovereign Health?

Sovereign Health is licensed to treat mental health issues and many of its manifestations: mental and eating disorders, as well as substance abuse issues. Our state-of-the-art facility based out of Chandler, Arizona, is a women-only rehab facility that specializes in trauma-informed care for women who have overcome abuse and other traumatic events.

In addition to offering our patients with clinically proven treatment options such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT), eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), individual, group and family therapy, our Chandler, Arizona facility also incorporates many other forms of therapies including yoga, mindfulness-based therapies, psychoeducational and process groups, equine therapy and expressive arts groups.

What sets us apart is our commitment to a gold standard of measurement-based care and tailor-fit treatment, inclusive of dual diagnosis recovery from multiple disorders. At Sovereign Health of Arizona, we can help women patients break their drug addiction habit and get their life back on track. To learn more about our holistic and evidence-based treatment programs for addiction, please call or chat online with our representatives at our 24/7 helpline number.

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