According to the Center for Substance Abuse Research, Ketamine abuse is on the rise. Ketamine is a form of anesthetic used mostly by veterinarians to sedate animals. Within the last few years, it has become a popular club drug. Large doses of ketamine are extremely dangerous and may cause permanent damage to the body. Although there are many symptoms of ketamine abuse, there are a few that you cannot ignore. If you see these symptoms it may be time to seek treatment. These symptoms come in physical, psychological, and social symptoms.
Physical symptoms of Ketamine abuse
Ketamine is a dissociative drug. This means that it causes an almost out of body feeling and what many describe as a disconnection from self. It also produces some negative physical symptoms like:
- Tolerance – needing to take more and more ketamine to achieve a desired effect. This leads to purchasing more and often taking too much accidently. When a person builds a tolerance to their drug of choice, they take more of it and the body can only handle so much before it begins to shut down.
- Impaired motor skills – This is a lasting effect of Ketamine use. It can include clumsiness, tripping frequently, depth perception issues, and loss of motor control. These also interfere with the ability to drive or work normally.
- Muscle rigidity – This includes cramping, muscle locking, and extreme soreness. People who abuse Ketamine often complain of muscle aches and move slowly when their muscles are tense. They appear to be stiff all the time and have difficulty with physical activities such as running, walking, and lifting.
- Increase in heart rate – Not only is this a side effect that you should not ignore, it is one of the most dangerous. Ketamine can cause a serious heart rate increase. This can lead to heart attack and massive cardiac damage. A constant extreme heart rate can seriously damage the heart muscle.
Although some Ketamine users can hide the physical symptoms of ketamine abuse, it is more difficult to hide the mental ones.
Mental symptoms of Ketamine abuse
Ketamine causes mental changes in the user. These mental changes range from mild to extreme and may be short or long term. The most important mental symptoms are:
- Violent tendencies – people abusing ketamine often exhibit extreme hostility or violent behavior, particularly if they are in withdrawal. This is very dangerous to both the user and the people around them. They are capable of hurting themselves and others.
- Amnesia – Ketamine causes memory lapses. It can stop short term and long term memories from forming particularly while someone is actively using the drug.
- Delirium – since Ketamine is a dissociative drug and disconnects the mind and body, it is possible for people on it to hallucinate, become delirious, or act as if they do not know where they are. This delirium may last even after Ketamine has left the body.
- Flashbacks – flashbacks are returning memories. These memories may be from things that happened while on Ketamine or they may be other memories from another time. Ketamine flashbacks can be violent, disorienting, and dangerous. They are also sometimes permanent.
- Substance abuse psychosis – Ketamine may cause the user to suffer from psychosis either temporarily or permanently depending on how much of the drug is consumed.
Many of these symptoms are only seen when someone is on the drug or withdrawing from it. The most glaring and obvious signs someone is abusing Ketamine are the social symptoms.
Social symptoms of Ketamine abuse
Although the mental and physical symptoms of Ketamine abuse are easy for the user to spot, they are not always easy for an outsider to spot. The social symptoms of Ketamine are often unmistakable signs of abuse. These are:
- Friendship changes – a Ketamine abuser will stop hanging out with the friends who do not use. They become more attached to the users and dealers of the drug. They start to lose friends because of the drug. Most of their new friends will be drug users or drug suppliers. Non-using friends may severe the friendship because of the abuse.
- Not having fun without Ketamine – As the drug takes over the user’s life, they become distant, unfriendly, and depressed when they do not have it.
- Changes in appearance or lack of hygiene – Ketamine users often stop grooming themselves. They may not shower, brush their hair and teeth.
- Overspending – Ketamine is expensive. Some users will overspend to obtain the drug. In addition, the lack of inhibitions might cause them to spend money foolishly.
- Risk taking – People who use Ketamine take risks that they otherwise would not. They might engage in risky sexual practices, drive while under the influence, or have extremely poor judgment
- Everyday activities and friendships suffer – A user stops caring about family, friends, job, and everything else in their lives. In extreme cases, they will alienate everyone who does not use and cut them from their life.
When to seek treatment
People take Ketamine for a variety of reasons. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the main reason people take dissociative drugs such as Ketamine is to deal with stress, for fun, and for enlightenment. Although Ketamine has many practical uses, it also has a high potential for abuse. These 15 signs of Ketamine abuse cannot be ignored. They are indicators Ketamine is creating a problem in your life. If you or a loved one exhibits any of these signs or symptoms, it might be time to seek treatment.