Ketamine, also known as 'K' (special K, Ket, Kettle-mine and vitamin K) is a short acting general anaesthetic. It acts by depressing the central nervous system, causing a temporary loss of body sensation coupled with powerful hallucinogenic effects. Users report a distortion of objects and reality, sometimes referred to as ‘K-holing’, otherwise known as a dissociative analgesic state.
Ketamine can be administered a number of ways:
- Intravenous and intramuscular injection (Ketamine produced legally for the veterinarian field comes in liquid form)
- Snorted (illegal Ketamine is produced as a textured white powder, sometimes come in tablet form)
Ketamine use can causes distortion to perceptions and users may report a feeling of disengagement between body and mind. This lack of control makes ketamine abusers vulnerable. No comprehension of reality and a lack of consciousness sometimes means that users may place themselves in very risky situations, for example, if serious injury was to occur the user is unlikely to recognise the problem and seek treatment.
Whilst there is no evidence for the development of a physical dependency to Ketamine, the chances of developing a psychological addiction are high. Thus, while an abuser can stop using without any known withdrawal effects, the desire to continue to use remains significantly strong. This desire remains intense despite any negative consequences that an individual may experience due to their drug use. Tolerance to Ketamine can develop rapidly and individuals may find they need to take an ever increasing amount to achieve the same effects.
Injecting Ketamine can place users at the additional risks that are associated with intravenous drug use, namely developing viral infections such as HIV and hepatitis.
Whilst Ketamine has existed in the medical and veterinarian field for many years, it's use as a recreational substance remains relatively new, indicating that there may be social, medical, psychological and mental health problems associated with long term use that are at present unknown.
Currently, the following mental, physical and psychological reactions to ketamine use have been established:
- Physical incapacity
- Panic attacks
- High doses can suppress breathing and heart function, in serious cases causing unconsciousness, which can result in death, i.e. inhalation of vomit whilst unconscious
- Mixed with ecstasy and amphetamines Ketamine can seriously increased blood pressure
- Taken alone or with alcohol, Ketamine significantly reduces the individual’s ability to feel pain, thus serious injury may go untreated
- Development of health problems associated with toxins that ‘street K’ may be mixed with
Ketamine addiction can be treated successfully if an appropriate and supportive in-patient environment is sought. In-patient rehabilitation centres provide the most suitable setting for recovery. Clinics provide medical and psychological support around the clock, with the collective goal of getting you well and helping you stay that way in the long term.