While many people, especially teens and young adults, may try ketamine in the context of parties or raves, it is by no means safe. There are many negative long-term effects of ketamine, and if you or a loved one is using it illegally, be sure to seek help as soon as possible. Call The Right Step at 17135283709 or reach out online to learn more about our quality substance abuse treatment options in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Florida, Texas, and Tennessee.
What Is Ketamine and What Are Its Long-Term Effects?
Ketamine, also known as Special K, Vitamin K, Kit Kat, Cat Valium, and Jet, is a dissociative anesthetic similar to PCP. It was originally developed as a tranquilizer and powerful painkiller for both humans and animals during the 1960s and still serves this purpose in medical contexts. Nonetheless, in the decades since its inception, ketamine has gained popularity in the club scene, where it can be abused to disastrous effect.
The experience of using ketamine produces euphoria and a powerful high due to the surge in brain chemicals dopamine and serotonin, both of which are associated with pleasure. As a dissociative, it can also produce hallucinations, the feeling that you are floating, and out-of-body sensations. An experience called a “K-hole” is said to occur when a person gets so high on the drug that they feel unable to move or come back to reality. Conversely, ketamine users may also have dangerous delusions, such as the belief they can fly. Ketamine can be snorted, smoked, or injected, and the dosage and delivery method affect intensity.
Recreational ketamine use carries many serious long-term risks, including:
- Physical tolerance and dependence, meaning the user needs more and more of the drug over time to get the same effect and experiences withdrawal symptoms like depression, excessive sleepiness, and cravings if they try to quit
- Changes in brain structure that cause memory problems, shortened attention span, mood disturbance, and decreased executive functioning
- Damage to the nasal passageways and reduced sense of smell among ketamine users who snort the drug
- Vascular and muscular damage among those who inject the drug, as well as increased risk of disease linked to needle-sharing
- Damage to the liver and kidneys, as well as urinary tract and bladder problems
- Increased risk of seizures and high blood pressure
It is important to seek professional help and treatment for ketamine abuse.
What Happens in Ketamine Abuse Treatment?
Ketamine abuse treatment begins, as all substance abuse treatment does, with detoxification. Here, you or your loved one will be free from the physical effects of ketamine under a doctor’s care. Round-the-clock monitoring can be a powerful tool for recovery since it ensures you won’t relapse during the challenging but essential first few days of getting free from ketamine.
After completing detox, many people in ketamine treatment benefit most from inpatient rehab. Here, individual and group therapy can support psychological recovery. You’ll engage in powerful self-reflection regarding the root causes of your substance abuse. You’ll also examine the triggers to use that come up in daily life. You’ll also likely make a relapse prevention plan, which can include practicing scripts for saying “no” if drugs are offered, making changes to your social life or living situation, or ensuring you have ongoing access to support groups.
Following inpatient treatment, a sober living community or day program may be a great intermediary step to ease you back into daily life. In this way, you maintain accountability to a community of providers and peers invested in your successful recovery while gradually increasing independence. Peer support and a personal commitment to sobriety are among the most important factors in long-term recovery.
Get Help with Substance Abuse Treatment at The Right Step
Don’t wait to get the help you deserve with substance abuse recovery. The journey toward getting free from ketamine may not be easy, but it is one well worth making. Call the caring and knowledgeable team at The Right Step for assistance today. We’re available at 17135283709, or you can reach us by filling out our confidential online form.