Ketamine abuse has quickly become a staple within party, rave and nightclub scenes with older teens and young adults seeking out intense and unusual drug experiences. A ketamine “high” produces dissociative-type effects, leaving users in trance-like states made up of hallucinatory experiences.
While the occasional use of ketamine poses little risk, the way this drug works in the brain makes it difficult to exercise restraint for any length of time, especially when a person frequents party-type scenes on a regular basis.
After a certain point, ketamine abuse practices give way to ketamine dependence, leaving users hopelessly addicted to the drug’s effects.
Ketamine Abuse vs. Ketamine Dependence
According to Singapore Medical Journal, ketamine produces psychoactive effects, meaning it alters the brain’s normal chemical processes. These changes bring about altered mood states and realities that can quickly become a form of escape from daily life pressures. At this point ketamine abuse practices have begun.
With frequent drug use, drastic changes within the brain’s chemical pathways cause ketamine dependence to develop as the brain comes to rely on ketamine effects to function normally.
Call our helpline at 800-601-3889 to see if your insurance will help pay your rehab costs.
Warning Signs that Ketamine Abuse is Turning into Ketamine Addiction
1. Withdrawal Episodes
Over time, ketamine’s psychoactive effects create chemical imbalances in the brain. Repeated fluctuations in chemical levels compromise the brain’s ability to regulate the body’s systems. These conditions give rise to withdrawal effects, some of which include:
- Low energy levels
- Feelings of sadness and despair
- Inability to experience joy or feel any sense of contentment
In effect, the longer a person engages in ketamine abuse, the more uncomfortable withdrawal episodes become. Withdrawal episodes also aggravate ketamine abuse behaviors as users start to use the drug to gain relief from uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms.
2. Bingeing Behaviors
As a psychedelic drug, ketamine is unusual in that the brain comes to tolerane ketamine effects at a fast rate, according to the University of Maryland. This means a person will have to keep increasing his or her dosage amount in order to experience the desired effects of the drug.
Before long, he or she will have to ingest multiple doses at a time to bring on a “high” effect. Also known as bingeing, this practice greatly increases the rate at which ketamine abuse turns into ketamine dependence.
3. Changes in Lifestyle
Changes in a person’s lifestyle become a clear indicator that ketamine dependence has taken hold. At this point, getting and using ketamine have taken on top priority in his or her daily life.
In effect, lifestyle changes reflect the degree of psychological dependence that’s formed in terms of a person needing the drug’s effects to make it through the day. Lifestyle changes may include:
- A decline in hygiene and grooming habits
- Social withdrawal
- Decline in school and/or work performance
- Missing days at school/work
- Loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities
- Relationship problems
- Money problems
- Problems with the law due to criminal activity
Ultimately, ketamine dependence lies at the heart of addiction, driving a person to believe he or she needs the drug’s effects to cope with daily life. Ketamine dependence also drives the ketamine abuse cycle as compulsive drug-using behaviors start to take over a person’s life. Under these conditions, the need for treatment help is dire.
If you or someone you know struggles with ketamine abuse and need help finding treatment that meets your needs, please feel free to call our toll-free helpline at 800-601-3889 to speak with one of our addictions specialists.