As a member of the hallucinogen drug group, ketamine produces hallucinations in the form of out-of-body experiences, but its similarities with other drugs in its class stop there. Unlike the majority of hallucinogens, ketamine use comes with a high risk for abuse and addiction when used on a regular basis.
Ketamine addiction produces many of the same adverse effects as any other form of addiction, with addiction severity increasing the longer drug use continues. After a certain point, the damaging effects of the drug create very real problems in a person’s daily life.
While ketamine’s effects can vary depending on the person, reasons to consider ketamine addiction treatment tend to apply across the board regardless of circumstances.
Commonly used as an anesthetic, it only takes a small amount of ketamine to shut down communications between the brain and the body. According to Frontiers in Neuroanatomy Journal, it does this by increasing dopamine while decreasing glutamate neurotransmitter levels in the brain.
Ketamine’s effects on dopamine output in particular account for its high addiction potential. With ongoing ketamine abuse, the brain develops a growing dependence on its effects on both a physical and psychological level. Once psychological dependence takes hold, reasons to consider ketamine addiction treatment become more and more apparent.
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Reasons to Consider Ketamine Addiction Treatment
1. Mood Disturbances
The brain relies on a delicate balance of neurotransmitter chemicals to keep the mind and body functioning as normal. Ketamine’s ability to disrupt this balance poses a genuine threat to a person’s emotional and psychological stability.
Someone in need of ketamine addiction treatment has reached a point where mood swings, severe depression and frequent bouts of anxiety start to surface within in his or her daily life.
2. Flashback Episodes
Ketamine’s effects can bring on intense hallucinations that seem just as real as real life. Hallucinations may be pleasant or frightening depending on a person’s mood, surrounding environment and expectations of the drug.
With frequent ketamine abuse, users can experience flashbacks of prior hallucinations at any time while not under the influence of the drug, according to Brown University. Random flashback experiences can be dangerous under certain circumstances, such as when driving a car or caring for children.
3. Psychotic-Type Behaviors
With chronic ketamine abuse, users place themselves at increasing risk of developing a condition known as substance-induced psychosis. With substance-induced psychosis, a person experiences psychotic episodes where he or she sees or hears sees things aren’t real or holds conversations with imaginary people. Psychotic episodes can also develop when a person stops using ketamine after long periods of use.
As with any form of addiction, putting off getting needed treatment help only makes the treatment and recovery process more difficult since ketamine can cause ongoing damage to the brain that accumulates over time. Ketamine addiction treatment programs can help you stop using the drug while equipping you with the coping skills needed to manage daily life on a drug-free basis.