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Ketamine Date Rape Risks & the Dangers of Ketamine Abuse

First developed in the 1960s as an anesthetic agent, ketamine belongs to the Schedule III class of narcotic hallucinogen drugs. Ketamine produces dissociative-type effects comparable to PCP and DXM; however, its use as an anesthetic for both human and veterinary purposes still continues today.

Over the years, ketamine has come to be known as a club drug due to its growing popularity within nightclubs and rave parties. While ketamine’s dissociative effects make for an unusual “high” experience, its anesthetic properties leave users in a totally helpless state. These effects, in particular, have a lot to do with its designation as a “date rape” drug. Considering how powerful anesthetic drugs can be, ketamine abuse comes with a range of potentially dangerous effects.

Ketamine’s Dissociative Effects

Ketamine Date Rape

Numbness of the body and unconsciousness are possible side effects of ketamine.

Like most other hallucinogen drugs, ketamine produces hallucinations along with the experience of being outside of one’s body. According to the University of Notre Dame, ketamine effects distort the brain’s ability to process incoming sensory information, leaving the brain to create a reality of its own.

These results stem from the drug’s ability to alter glutamate and dopamine neurotransmitter production in the brain. As glutamine regulates brain electrical activity and dopamine regulates emotions, cognition and pain/pleasure sensations, ketamine abuse practices can gradually disrupt the brain’s functional capacity in dangerous ways.

In general, ketamine’s effects are dose dependent, with low dosage amounts producing a mellow experience made up of colors, musical sounds and floating sensations. At high dosage levels, users experience an “out-of-body” effect, at which point its anesthetic properties are most pronounced.

Ketamine Date Rape Risks

Ketamine date rape risks develop out of what’s known as the K-hole effect, a condition in which users enter into a completely vulnerable state. According to the University of Maryland, the K-hole effect results from dosage levels high enough to block incoming information from the body—creating an overall disconnect between the brain and the body.

Other K-hole effects to watch out for include:

  • Problems seeing
  • Numbness of the body
  • Muscle weakness
  • Little to no balance or coordination
  • Slowed breathing
  • Loss of consciousness

Within a nightclub or party scene, slipping ketamine into someone’s drink can turn an aware and able-bodied individual into easy prey within seconds, which accounts for ketamine’s “date rape” label.

Addiction Potential

Unlike most other hallucinogen drugs, ketamine abuse comes with a high risk of addiction because of the way this drug interacts with the brain’s chemical system. With frequent use, brain tolerance levels increase quickly, so users have to keep taking larger doses in order to experience the desired effects.

These tolerance level effects eventually drive users to engage in bingeing behaviors, which entail taking multiple doses at once. This practice only works to drive brain tolerance levels even higher, and in the process traps users within a vicious cycle of ketamine abuse. Before long, ketamine’s effects on the brain’s chemical workings start to breed a psychological dependence. At this point, a person’s entire world centers around getting and using the drug.

The Dangers of Ketamine Abuse and Sexual Assault

Treatment Considerations

The dangers that come with ketamine abuse not only compromise a person’s safety and well-being, but also set the seeds for addiction to take root. Once addiction sets in, a person loses the ability to reduce or stop drug use in spite of the negative consequences that result from compulsive drug use. Under these conditions, the sooner a person gets needed treatment help the better.

If you or someone you know struggles with ketamine abuse and have more questions, or need information on available treatment options, please feel free to call our toll-free helpline at 800-601-3889(Who Answers?) to speak with one of our addictions specialists.

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