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Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic that produces sensory distortions and reduces a person’s perception of pain. As a derivative of phencyclidine (PCP) – a dissociative drug that produces hallucinations, delirium, confusion and other unpredictable effects – the two drugs produce similar effects. However, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) lists PCP as a Schedule II substance and ketamine as a schedule III substance. Dissociative anesthetics such as ketamine are commonly used in hospitals and by veterinarians in anesthetic procedures for their ability to reduce the sensation of pain. Ketamine comes in a pill, powder, and liquid form that can be injected, snorted, swallowed or smoked by users.

Ketamine users may also feel as though they are detached from themselves and/or reality, become sedated and have a reduced ability to feel pain (analgesia). They may also experience hallucinations – such as seeing, feeling or hearing things that do not exist in reality – and other sensory distortions. These qualities also make dissociative anesthetic drugs popular drugs of abuse. When left untreated, ketamine abuse can cause a variety of side effects including disorientation, increase in heart rate and blood pressure, chronic depression, and even poor memories.

Depending on the duration of addiction and severity of symptoms, a comprehensive ketamine addiction treatment involves a medically-supervised detoxification treatment that is followed by intense psychotherapies and experiential therapies. A leading ketamine detox treatment center for women, Sovereign Health of Arizona provides individualized, evidence-based treatment for women patients suffering from ketamine abuse and addiction.

Ketamine Abuse

Ketamine abuse can produce serious physical and psychological effects. Some of the side effects of ketamine abuse that may require emergency care include the following.

  • Nervousness
  • Breathing and swallowing difficulties
  • Irregular heart rate
  • Confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Bloody or cloudy urine
  • Delusions
  • Unusual weakness or tiredness
  • Bluish or pale lips
  • Chest discomfort or pain
  • Lightheadedness
  • Hives
  • Itching
  • Fast or slow heartbeat
  • Convulsions

In some cases, ketamine users can experience frightening symptoms of complete sensory detachment, called a “K-hole,” which causes users to feel separated from themselves and the world around them. Other side effects include increased anxiety, impaired motor function and rhabdomyolysis — the breakdown of muscle tissue. High doses in particular are associated with cardiovascular slowing, loss of consciousness and death.

High doses of ketamine can increase the risk of experiencing psychosis and hallucinations.  Large doses of ketamine taken over a long period of time also increase the risk of schizophrenia symptoms (such as paranoia and hallucinations), amnesia (loss of memory), poor coordination and impaired judgment.

Ketamine abuse can also lead to physical and psychological dependence, and users can experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking the drug. Ketamine addiction is associated with a strong desire and powerful cravings to use the drug. Following are some of the common withdrawal symptoms of ketamine abuse.

  • Chills
  • Drug cravings
  • Hallucinations
  • Memory loss
  • Disorientation
  • Aches and pains
  • Depression

Ketamine abuse: Short-term and long-term effects

The effects of ketamine typically begin within minutes and may last for an hour or longer. Short-term effects of ketamine abuse include users experiencing dream-like states, loss of memory (amnesia) and sedation. For this reason, ketamine is sometimes used as a date rape drug.

Ketamine can produce a range of short-term effects, which vary depending on the amount of ketamine that is taken. Higher doses of ketamine can produce more unpredictable effects. Following are some of the short-term effects of ketamine abuse.

  • Confusion
  • Coordination problems
  • Rigid muscles
  • Difficulty moving
  • Amnesia
  • Numbness
  • Sensory distortions
  • Separation from reality
  • Altered sight, sound, shapes or time
  • Increased heart rate
  • Lethargy
  • Sedation
  • Chest pain
  • Respiratory depression

Ketamine stimulates the cardiovascular system, which can increase heart rate and blood pressure, and lead to tachycardia (rapid heart rate) in recreational users. When combined with drugs such as MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxy-methamphetamine), cocaine, amphetamine and methamphetamine, ketamine abuse may also result in Hypertension (high blood pressure) and pulmonary edema (excess fluid in the lungs).

Long-term effects of ketamine abuse include kidney and bladder problems (such as ulcers and bladder pain), stomach pain and psychological problems (including poor memory and depression). Following are some of the other long-term consequences of recreational ketamine abuse.

  • Motor difficulties
  • Cognitive impairments
  • Sleeping problems such as insomnia
  • Learning and memory problems
  • Depression
  • Kidney and stomach problems
  • High blood pressure
  • Fatal breathing problems
  • Tolerance and physical dependence
  • Psychological dependence
  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis

Ketamine can be toxic to the bladder. Eventually, people who abuse ketamine can develop ketamine cystitis, also known as ketamine bladder syndrome, which can lead to incontinence, ulcers in the bladder and difficulty holding urine in. Repeated ketamine abuse can also lead to lower urinary tract symptoms, ulcers, and other bladder problems. In some cases, abusing ketamine may also lead to bladder removal.

Ketamine treatment program

Depending on the duration and severity of symptoms, treatment for ketamine abuse can be accomplished at inpatient, outpatient, or partial hospitalization basis. Addiction treatment for ketamine helps reverse a lot of negative brain effects associated with drug cravings helping in avoiding relapse. Treatment for ketamine addiction at ketamine detox centers usually consists of medically-assisted detoxification followed by behavioral therapies.

The duration of a detoxification program depends on the dosage, duration, and frequency of the substance abused. Part of the treatment process, the detox program helps to remove the poisonous substance from the system and helps to overcome the withdrawal symptoms; however, it must be followed by intense therapy or counseling sessions.

Why choose Sovereign Health?

Sovereign Health of Arizona offers holistic and individually tailored ketamine treatment programs for women to help them overcome their ketamine addiction. During the intake process at our ketamine treatment centers, women patients undergo rigorous medical and biopsychosocial assessments to assess the degree of harm done by the drug and identify any underlying mental illness that they may have. The information obtained through detailed assessments assists our clinical team in designing an individualized ketamine treatment regimen to promote the client’s ketamine addiction recovery.

In addition to undergoing clinical approved treatments for drug addiction, women with ketamine addiction receive individual, group and family sessions with evidence-based treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), and complementary treatments such as neurofeedback, art therapy and music therapy.

Additionally, specialized dual diagnosis treatment is also offered to women who have a co-occurring mental health condition. For more information about our top-notch ketamine treatment program, please call or chat online with our representative at our 24/7 helpline number.

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