Ketamine Addiction

Ketamine – also known by 'street' names, such as Ket, K, Special K, Vitamin K and Horsey is a "dissociative anaesthetic" - a drug that produces feelings of detachment (dissociation) from the environment and self.

Traditionally used in liquid form in veterinary injections as a short-acting anaesthetic, Ketamine has become increasingly popular as a 'club' drug. Ketamine usually comes as a grainy, white powder or sometimes as tablets but it can also be consumed in drinks, inhaled, added to joints or cigarettes.

Most Ketamine users tend to be teens or young adults - as many as three-quarters of users are aged 12-25.

Temporary loss of body sensation

Ketamine acts by depressing the central nervous system, which causes a temporary loss of body sensation and produces powerful hallucinations, such as a distortion of reality and objects, and even "near-death" experiences.

It is mistakenly believed that, as a psychedelic, Ketamine is not addictive and is less habit forming than other types of drugs. Use of Ketamine, however, can lead to habitual behaviours linked with drug-cravings and withdrawal symptoms when the user attempts to stop the habit.

Symptoms and Warning Signs

Signs of addictive behaviour include users becoming secretive and closing themselves off from other family members. An unusual amount of time might be spent in the user's room, bathroom or other secluded place where drug-taking occurs or making arrangements to buy drugs.

Frequent and repeated use of Ketamine can be all-consuming and quickly lead to a range of mental symptoms associated with increased tolerance and dependence, such as:
  • Confusion
  • Agitation, panic attacks, distress
  • Loss of short and long term memory
  • Depression, paranoia

As the drug reduces the user's ability to feel pain, serious injury may go unnoticed and untreated. High doses, especially when taken with other substances like alcohol or opiates, can dangerously affect breathing, heart function, and cause loss of consciousness.

Physical symptoms include:
  • Extreme drowsiness
  • Numbness or paralysis of the muscles
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Breathing problems
  • Bladder problems

Injecting Ketamine can damage the veins and can cause serious problems, such as abscesses and blood clots.

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