Signs of Ketamine Abuse
Signs and symptoms of ketamine abuse can be difficult to detect even among family and friends of an abuser. While the signs and symptoms of use are very pronounced. A person who abuses ketamine and does not want their family members or friends to know will probably abuse the drug out of the sight of them. Ketamine is a drug that is often used as a party drug, and it can also be a drug that can be used while alone. This drug affects the user’s perception by distorting it. The addict will feel like he/she is having a sort of out of body experience.
Because the duration of the effects of ketamine is short, the user may consume the drug at a party and be able to recover by the time they get home. Due to the relatively short intoxication period, the family may have to rely on other signs to detect the abuse of ketamine.
Most of the users tend to abuse the drug to a point where they experience a complete detachment from the body or the environment. Users find this out of body experience to be enjoyable. When the user reaches this state, they are unable to respond to sound, light, pain or other stimuli. This condition may last for up to an hour, and then it begins to fade away.
A long-term abuse of ketamine is very likely to cause a psychological dependence in the user. They will probably be unable to think clearly, and memory is affected. The user will also likely experience depression. Periods of amnesia are common among long-term ketamine abusers. Because of the intense cravings to consume the drug, violent behavior and irritability are also common signs of ketamine abuse.
Ketamine tends to cause a wide variety of effects in almost every area of the body. For example, in the stomach, it often causes severe abdominal pain. Another example is that ketamine can cause long-term damage to the bladder and urinary tract that can result in a condition known as ketamine bladder syndrome. This triggers decreased control of the bladder with incontinence. It is very important to mention that ketamine bladder syndrome may also cause blood in the urine and ulcers in the bladder.
Since the drug is usually found as a powder, it is often snorted. Most of these powders are generally mixed with other drugs. It may be something harmless (like talcum powder or sugar), or it could be combined with something more dangerous (like acetaminophen or drain cleaner). Therefore, signs of chemical poisoning are also common among ketamine users.
Dangers of Ketamine Abuse
Ketamine has dangerous side effects that can manifest in severe forms. The short-term abuse side effects include hallucinations similar to those found in LSD abuse. Like in the case of all psychotropic drugs, the intensity of the hallucination depends on the user’s state of mind, and if the user is seeking to escape from problems that cause unhappiness, the hallucinations are likely to be intense and unpleasant.
Dangerous side effects of ketamine may include:
• Disorientation and general confusion
• Complete dissociation from the body
• Increased heart rate.
• Increased blood pressure
Large doses of ketamine can result in what the abusers describe as the “K-hole”. This state includes intense visual and auditory hallucinations coupled with marked derealization and a frightening dissociation from reality.
Another danger that abusers expose themselves to is that Ketamine can also cause nausea that can progress to vomiting. This side effect of ketamine abuse is very dangerous. Ketamine abusers who experience a state of dissociated confusion frequently end up presenting with intense choking reactions from taking the drug.
What is a psychological dependence?
The psychological dependence affects the behavior of the user. The individual has a particular mental state that is characterized by an imperious wish of using the drug in order to obtain the drug’s effects.
This type of dependence is a common one among the ketamine users because of its potential of causing a psychological addiction.
Psychological addiction to ketamine occurs when the user associates the drug use with particular circumstances or people and makes a habit of using the drug whenever he is in a particular situation or around another addict. For example, Ketamine is a club drug. The users may find it difficult to stop the drug usage without removing themselves from the lifestyle that encourages the drug use
What is a physical dependence?
Physical dependence occurs when ketamine addicts develop needs of using the substance in order to avoid the withdrawal effects that may appear as soon as the individual stops administering the drug.
Currently, the medical community does not have precise statistics about the extent of physical dependence among ketamine users and this issue remains under investigation.
Recognizing a Ketamine Addiction
Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic used mostly in veterinary medicine but is best known as an abused recreational club drug.
Recognizing a ketamine addiction can be very hard even for the addiction specialists. The signs and symptoms may vary from a person to another. It strictly depends on how much ketamine a person is using. The more ketamine the abuser takes, the more noticeable the signs of addiction will be. Sometimes, the signs of abuse may just be some memory loss or a lack of coordination. Other times the addiction can be recognized by the changes in behavior or the mood swings of the user. Ketamine affects everyone in a different way, so it is sometimes difficult to tell when someone is actively using.
Common signs and symptoms of a ketamine addiction:
• Redness of the skin (erythema)
• Slurred speech
• Rapid eye movements
• Violent behavior
• Rapid mood swings
• Loss of coordination
• Memory loss
Signs of a Ketamine Overdose
When ketamine is consumed in large doses, overdose can occur. Signs of a ketamine overdose may include:
• Respiratory depression
• Labored breathing
• Shortness of breath
• Muscle twitching
• Slurred speech or cognitive decline
• Loss of coordination
• Impaired vision