Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic used primarily in veterinary medicine but also in some human medical setting that induces psychedelic and out-of-body experiences. Ketamine, K, Special K or Kat is sold as a white crystalline powder or clear liquid with a distinctive chemical smell. The drug is typically taken orally or snorted but can also be taken intra-muscularly, although this type of administration is rare. Ketamine differs from other psychedelic drugs due to the dissociation the drug invoke. In some cases a user will experience a complete separation from themselves and reality. Common experiences when a user is in this state include alternative realities, imaginary people and places, unlocking of boxes in the mind and life revelations. This can be scary and terrifying for some people and can lead to psychiatric distress.
As a recreational drug it is popular in the club scene and in low doses the drug will cause mild hallucinations and visualizations, have heaviness in arms and legs and may experience changes to audio and visual senses. Other effects which increase in severity with the increase in dose include vertigo, perception shift, nausea, increased sociability, stumbling, robotic movement, delayed sensations, compelling visions and an altered sense of reality. In very high doses black outs, extreme difficulty in moving, complete dissociation with reality and near death experiences may occur. Most effects are felt within a few minutes of ingesting the drug and are experienced for 30-60 minutes although long-lasting “come down” feelings can remain for some time. These feelings include exhaustion, uncomfortable sensations on the skin, listlessness and a broken thought pattern.
Although relatively safe in a clinical setting, ketamine is known to cause a number of negative side effects that increase with higher and more frequent doses. The drug can cause severe confusion, frightening visualizations, total loss of sensory perception, violent nausea and vomiting, loss of consciousness and can increase the risk of being involved in an accident. Although not considered an addictive drug, it is known to be habit forming which can lead to physical or mental health problems, including ketamine bladder syndrome. An addiction to the drug is primarily psychological and individuals will engage in drug seeking behavior, show signs of aggression and paranoia if they do not have access of the drug. Some addicts may become dependent on the drug as a way to enjoy themselves in a social setting and may suffer from anxiety or awkwardness if they are not under the influence.
Ketamine users often face health and safety risks as a result of their own behavior when on the drug. Some people engage in dangerous activities like using the drug when driving, swimming, walking through potentially dangerous locations without being aware of their actions. This can place a person at risk of being the victim of a robbery, assault or rape. In addition, if a person is injured while under the influence of this drug they may not be aware of the pain or not associate themselves with the injury.
Ketamine is a popular club drug and is often taken in conjunction with other substances such as alcohol, cocaine or amphetamines. This can lead to adverse reactions, especially when taken with alcohol. When combined with alcohol, ketamine can cause a person to violently vomit and experience extreme nausea. It should also be avoided if a user is taking Valium or other barbiturates which can lead to respiratory depression.
In large and repeated doses ketamine has been found to cause shrinkage and fibrotic changes to the bladder This damage causes a person to have difficulty in holding urine, incontinence and may cause ulceration in the bladder. The link between ketamine and bladder infection was first identified in 2007, however it was only recently that the problem was found to be a direct result of drug use. It was previously believed to be caused by adulterant substances or behavioral issues, however, researchers found that the ketamine specifically caused bladder cells to become cytoatic or severely damaged and die with repeated heavy doses
Many people who are suffering from the symptoms associated with ketamine bladder syndrome delay in presenting to a doctor. Most heavy users of ketamine are aware of the side effects of taking high doses of the drug but are reluctant to seek help for fear of embarrassment or police involvement. This can cause a worsening of symptoms and diagnosis can be delayed. Earlier recognition of the condition and treatment can prevent further deterioration.
Studies have shown that ketamine can provide relief to people who suffer from severe and difficult depressive conditions including bipolar. The fast acting nature of the drug proved to be the most interesting anti-depressant effect which gave depressed individuals immediate and short acting results. Patients experienced relief for both symptoms of depression and also an increase in the effectiveness of psychotherapy when administered low doses of ketamine although the drug has not shown any benefits in long term usage.
Ketamine has been used as an alternative drug and alcohol therapy for nearly 30 years. The drug is administered under clinical conditions to individuals who are suffering the effects of chronic addiction and depression and the results have proved to be effective for some people. The drug has been found to only provide positive outcomes after detoxification from other drugs has occurred, and it is combined with effective professional psychotherapy.