According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, ketamine is a veterinary tranquilizer. Although it has some applications in modern medicine, it is normally used on horses as anesthesia. It is extremely fast acting which is what makes it so useful to vets.
Ketamine also produces a variety of sensations, especially when in large doses. People describe out of body experiences, time distortion, revelations about the universe, and intense hallucinations. These sensations are what makes ketamine so attractive. Unfortunately, one of the side effects is amnesia so these experiences are most often lost.
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Who uses Ketamine?
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, Ketamine is a club drug. This means it is mostly available in raves and dance clubs of that nature. Those that attend these clubs are usually in their late teens and early 20s, although this ranges considerably.
Those that try ketamine do so because of peer pressure, promises of what it does, and those who seek new experiences. There is one other kind of person who abuses ketamine. Ketamine is a date rape drug. People use it for this because of both the release of inhibitions as well as the amnesia that often accompanies it.
What is the Abuse Potential for Ketamine?
Ketamine is very easy to abuse. Most people who are addicted to ketamine are so engrossed in what the drug does that they do not realize they are abusing it. For those who enjoy psychedelics or who seek new experiences the abuse potential is very high.
Why do People Abuse Ketamine?
People, especially young people, abuse ketamine for a variety of reasons. Most of these start abusing ketamine because of peer pressure or the idea that it will expand your consciousness. The reasons why they continue are varied. Some of these reasons are:
- Hallucinations – hallucinations can be enlightening, fun, distracting, or profound.
- Out of body experience – out of body experiences are a way to experience something different or new.
- Boredom – some people choose to use drugs when they are bored or have nothing better to do.
- To forget – ketamine causes amnesia.
- To be out of control – being out of control is pleasurable for some people. There is a belief that they are not responsible for their actions while they are on the drug.
- As date rape drug – although this is not technically a reason people use it on themselves, they abuse others using the drug.
- Lack of responsibility – a new trend in ketamine use is that it breaks down inhibitions and memory so you can do all of the high risk behaviors that you were incapable of due to morals, shyness, and other social or mental inhibitions.
All of these reasons are why people both try and keep using ketamine. Unlike other drugs, you are not exactly chasing a physical high but what the high allows you to do.
If you are using ketamine daily, the abuse potential is extremely high. Chances are you are abusing it at this point. Since it is not thought to be physically addictive, there is no physical attraction to the drug. There is however a high potential for psychological addiction.
The feelings that ketamine produces are extremely attractive to some people. This attraction causes the addiction. When the ketamine starts to take over your life it is time to seek treatment.
Although ketamine is not physically addictive there are people who become psychologically addicted to it. Your average person is at an extremely low risk for addiction. The people who do become addicted are:
- people in poor physical health
- those that take it to curb a physical ailment
- those who have a mental illness they are trying to treat on their own
- people who have a mental illness and are not aware of that illness
- those who easily day dream or fantasize
- people who enjoy otherworldly out of body experiences
- those seeking spiritual enlightenment and believe psychedelics provide that
- young adults who use it frequently at parties, clubs, and raves
- those with an addictive personality
- people who are particularly impressionable
- people who are addicted to other drugs or alcohol
Certain levels of use are also indicators of addiction. Someone using ketamine constantly will get used to the way that it makes them feel. Once they become accustomed to this feeling, they might not want to feel normal again.
Like all psychologically addictive drugs, people have problems feeling normal after using it heavily. They get wrapped up in the way the drug makes them feel. When this happens the ketamine addiction potential is extremely high. Most of the time this feeling passes and things return to normal. In an addict, the normal feeling becomes odd and no longer feels right.
What to do About Ketamine Addiction
If you find yourself addicted to ketamine, there are a few things that you can do. Most doctors recommend inpatient, outpatient, or combined treatment. Residential inpatient treatment is only necessary in cases of severe addiction or psychotic disturbance. For the most part, ketamine addiction can be handled through outpatient or combined therapy.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, ketamine addiction is manageable with the right course of treatment. If you are experience the symptoms of ketamine addiction or suspect that you are, talk to your doctor or a rehab counselor for your treatment options.