Ketamine, one of a group of dissociative-type hallucinogens, produces “out-of-body” experiences that leave users in an incapacitated state. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, these effects stem from ketamine’s ability to change how the brain processes sensory information. These same effects also drive the ketamine addiction cycle, which can slowly, but surely ruin a person’s life.
Ketamine Addiction Effects
A ketamine “high” results from the drug’s ability to alter glutamate neurotransmitter levels in the brain. Under normal conditions, glutamate works to coordinate communications between the brain and body in terms of relaying sensory information. Ketamine effects block the production of glutamate, which in turn shuts down any sensory information coming from the body to the brain.
Ketamine also produces intense, short-term effects that tend to leave users wanting more. For this reason, regular ketamine users eventually start engaging in bingeing behaviors, ingesting multiple doses of the drug at a time. This practice sets the stage for the ketamine addiction cycle to take shape.
Once addicted, a person comes to depend on ketamine’s “high” effect to cope with everyday life stressors. Ultimately, a psychological dependence has formed once ketamine addiction takes hold.
With ketamine addiction, a person uses the drug on a frequent basis. With each drug dose, the brain’s chemical system undergoes radical changes, which take a toll on the brain cells that produce neurotransmitter materials.
Over time, brain cells undergo structural damage leaving them unable to regulate bodily processes as normal. Before long, a person starts to experience functional impairments as major systems in the body start to break down.
Functional impairments may take the form of:
- Problems communicating
- Motor coordination difficulties
- Inability to concentrate or attend to tasks
- Diminished learning capacity
- Loss of impulse control
The brain chemical imbalances brought on by ketamine addiction inevitably impair a person’s psychological well-being. In effect, these imbalances create a disease-like chemical environment in the brain. The greater the chemical imbalance the more brain functions come to rely on ketamine effects.
Psychological problems associated with ketamine addiction include:
- High levels of anxiety
- Depression symptoms
- Feelings of rage
As users engage in ketamine abuse to experience the “high” effects of the drug, they come to rely on these effects as means for coping with everyday life. In the process, users develop a psychological dependency on the drug.
In effect, psychological dependency lies at the center of a ketamine addiction, according to Bryn Mawr College. Once a person comes to believe he or she needs the drug to manage daily life affairs, getting and using ketamine takes precedence over all other daily obligations.
Drastic changes in overall life outlook and behaviors most characterize the impact ketamine addiction has in a person’s life. As with all forms of addiction, an addiction to ketamine alters a person’s mindset to the point where he or she is willing to sacrifice friends, family and job in order to support ongoing drug use. Ultimately, it’s the lifestyle changes brought about by ketamine abuse that ruin a person’s life.