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Ketamine Abuse and The Dangers Associated With it

Updated on January 11, 2012

Ketamine is a veterinarian tranquiliser most commonly used on horses for operations; the drug is also used in stabilised proportions in paediatric medicine to help relieve pain along with having conclusive results in the treatment of anti depression and alcohol abuse. The problem with the drug however, is that it is becoming a popular recreational drug with youths and young adults, thanks to its hallucinogenic qualities.

Over the past ten years, the drug has had a significant rise in abuse and is commonly stolen from veterinarian clinics and hospitals. Special K as it is now affectingly known amongst users, is quick to kick in and has no physical side effects in withdrawal, rather leaving the user with a calm tranquil feeling, unlike other class A- drugs that can leave drug users in pain and with feelings of permanent agitation and restlessness. Ketamine has become dangerous in its psychological effects, the more the drug is abused, the more the user develops a threshold for it, meaning that higher dosages are taken, it is also a form of anaesthesia, resulting in cases of people feeling invincible while hallucinating causing self harm, resulting in serious injuries. The drug is either snorted or injected straight into the mainstream, and the time that it takes to kick in varies on the method used. If injected the result is almost instantaneous, taking only a minute for the user to begin hallucinating, if snorted, it can take up to 5 minutes for the drug to have any effect. Either way it is one reason why it has become an extremely popular and dangerous drug in today’s society.

The mood of the user can also vary the impact of Ketamine. The powder prevents the brain from its common ground of thinking and state of reality, resulting in opening up parts of the brain that deals with visions and dreams. Therefore the hallucination is dream like, the user goes into what is known in drug slang as a ‘K hole’, and can have many different ‘K holes’ throughout the duration of their one hour hallucination, just like when a person has many different dreams whilst sleeping. A person’s mental attitude can depend on the resulting hallucination, they are either in a state of euphoria, thinking they are breaking the realms of reality, even so far as thinking they are talking to people beyond the grave, having out of body experiences, shifting perception of reality and floating on air, experiencing visions not commonly associated with a sober individual, or else they go into a nightmare state, screaming and envisioning the worst possible scenarios that only a muscle as powerful as the brain can generate, this can leave to devastating consequences, including long term psychological damage.

The dangers associated with ketamine are usually chronic feelings of agitation and depression, one common result of long term abuse is the development of ‘Escapism Depression’, a variation of the illness that is stemmed from either substance or physical abuse. When thoughts of despair and loneliness become an over riding factor in the psyche, sufferers fall into a dream world state and lose any sense of reality, preferring to live in their daydreams than in their own life. Other dangers include a feeling of egocentricity, when reality begins to descend and the user begins to think that any event happening around them is associated with them, resulting in the dangers of paranoid schizophrenia and long term anxieties and nervous breakdowns. The more the user begins to feel these symptoms kick in, the higher their dosage becomes, resulting in the dangers becoming even more threatening. The physical dangers include overdosing on ketamine and falling into a deep coma, in some cases resulting in cardiovascular failure, leading to fatalities. Even so, the fatalities associated with ketamine are less than with any other recreational drug, meaning the recreational usage is gaining in popularity amongst party goers especially with its class C status, compared to recreational drugs like, cocaine, heroine, acid and cocaine which are tagged as class A.

There are physical signs that you can distinguish in a loved one or somebody you know that is taking ketamine, they include:

  • Violent or bizarre behaviour
  • Constant vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Disorientation
  • Seizures

Ketamine addiction can be treated without the need of pharmaceutical aids. Addicts who check into clinics find that their addiction is stemmed from emotional insecurity and dependence. They detox under supervision and are put into group therapy along with other addicts, before going on a course of nutrition and exercise that makes them feel better about themselves. The results are positive, however while some users are dealing with their abuse, many more are discovering the recreational qualities associated with ketamine, with a survey released in May 2011 by the ‘Drugscope Drug Trend’ showing a 40% rise in popularity in the U.K. over the past 3 years. Ketamine is a problem that will only rise, for all of its positive qualities in the fields of medicine, the only way from preventing any more harm is to bring the status of the drug up from class C to class A, with stricter laws and punishment for dealers and users, otherwise the fatalities and illnesses amongst youths who abuse it will become worse.


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