What Is Ketamine?
What's In This Article?
Ketamine is used to sedate critically ill patients in intensive care or it can be used as anesthesia for patients undergoing surgery. It has also been studied to see if it would be effective in treating severe depression because of how it quickly takes over a certain kind of chemical receptor, which can be good for medical treatment.
However, if it goes overboard or crosses the line, it can cause major trouble. This drug was initially used on the battlefield during the Vietnam War in the 1960s since lower doses can help pain and higher doses can be used an anesthesia for surgery.
Because of the way ketamine helps sedatives do their job, it can help patients and cause them to need fewer addictive opioids after surgery or while suffering from serious burns. However, when the drug is not used properly, it can affect sight and sound.
Users can feel out of touch with surroundings or even themselves and suffer hallucinations. It can become hard to move or speak. It has been known as a date-rape drug.
The Signs of a Ketamine High
When someone abuses ketamine, they experience a ketamine high. A ketamine high can have several symptoms. Signs of a high include:
- Dilated pupils
- Severe drowsiness
- Sudden mellowness
- Difficulty concentrating or thinking
- Involuntary muscle movements
- Feeling of disconnection from reality and even one’s body
- Involuntary muscle movements
- Changes in perception of sound or color
- Increased blood pressure that decreases slowly
- Slowed breathing
Ketamine works differently than other pain medications because it creates a state of disassociation, which includes derealization and depersonalization, which are feelings of detachment from one’s surroundings, environment, and even one’s body.
When a high dose is used, the user can enter what is often called a “K-hole.” This is a dissociative state of an extreme nature with severe sedation that reaches the point where the user feels he or she cannot move, and they suffer from both visual and auditory hallucinations.
Because of these unusual effects, it is easy to determine when an individual is high on ketamine if you are familiar with the signs of using the drug. Ketamine is used as a date-rape drug, so people can be sedated against their will, so they can be sexually assaulted. It is often dropped into a drink, in most reported cases where it was used as a date-rape drug, alcohol was involved.
The Side Effects of Ketamine
Different people can react differently to ketamine. The dissociative effects are not predictable, so if someone starts to act strangely, it might be hard to determine if they are under the influence of ketamine.
By knowing the side effects of the drug, you will be more likely to determine if ketamine was the drug the individual used. Some ketamine side effects include:
- Vomiting or nausea
- Tunnel vision or double vision
- Abnormal heart rate
- Increased salivation
- Uncontrollable eye movements
- Decreased appetite
- Warm skin
- Splotchy rash or a rash that resembles a bull’s eye
- Heart rate that is abnormal, either too fast or too slow
If an individual has reached the K-hole, they must be monitored closely for overdoes. Some symptoms of entering the K-hole include:
- Extreme paranoia
- Muscle rigidity
- Chest pains
- Bluish lips
- Intense headache
- Muscle pains
- Loss of coordination
- Bluish fingernails
If an individual is exhibiting the signs of having entered a K-hole, they require immediate medical attention.
Ketamine can cause allergic reactions in some users. A serious allergic reaction might cause a hives, an itch rash, and swelling around the tongue, face, and throat. Because swelling in any of those areas can obstruct the airway, medical attention should be sought right away.
What Exactly is Ketamine?
As a dissociative anesthetic, the drug also has some hallucinogenic properties. Hallucinations are distortions of sound and sight, along with detachment from one’s surroundings and oneself.
While it can be beneficial when used as an anesthetic and how it helps relieve pain, it can have disturbing effects when used recreationally.
The drug is available as a clear liquid or as a white powder. It is a popular club drug, which is used at dances or raves. Many users add ketamine to ecstasy or MDMA. Ketamine is listed as a Schedule III controlled substance.
Signs of Ketamine Addiction or Abuse
There are several signs of ketamine intoxication, such as next-day amnesia, delusions, paranoia, mood disturbances, hallucinations, depression, difficulty concentrating, and unconsciousness.
While ketamine is not believed as addictive, the euphoria that it can cause can lead to compulsive use and cravings that are associated with addiction for some people. Frequent users can experience dependence and tolerance, which can cause the symptoms of withdrawal when the drug is not taken.