Ketamine belongs to a newer class of drugs known as designer drugs. Commonly used in party-type settings, such as raves and nightclubs ketamine’s ability to produce hallucinogenic effects appeals to teenagers and young adults alike.
While ketamine does work as a hallucinogen drug, it’s unusual in terms of how it interacts with the brain’s chemical system. These interactions account for the very high potential for ketamine tolerance.
As with any form of drug tolerance, increasing ketamine tolerance levels comes with a range of negative effects, some of which can be life changing. Knowing what signs to watch out for can help you take back control of your life from ketamine’s effects.
Ketamine tolerance develops out of the ongoing changes to the brain’s chemical pathways in response to the drug’s effects, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
The brain’s chemical pathways, for the most part determine how the brain works in terms of its ability to maintain the body’s systems as well as maintain a person’s overall psychological wellbeing.
Using ketamine on a regular basis shifts the brain’s normal chemical production cycles to accommodate the drug’s presence and effects. When this happens users must continually ingest more of the drug to keep experiencing the desired “high” effects.
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Signs to Watch For
One of the very first signs of rising ketamine tolerance levels comes in the form of bingeing practices. In effect, bingeing entails ingesting unusually large doses of the drug in one sitting, typically in multiple doses.
As ketamine tolerance levels will continue to increase for as long a person keeps using the drug, bingeing practices likewise entail consuming larger and larger amounts over time.
Not surprisingly, rising tolerance levels comes with a certain degree a brain dysfunction in terms of how ketamine disrupts the brain’s chemical system over time. This dysfunction inevitably brings on withdrawal effects as the brain comes to rely on increasing amounts of ketamine to function normally. Withdrawal effects experienced include:
- Periods of depression
- Anxiety episodes
- Flat emotional affect
With ongoing ketamine use, a person will likely start experiencing persistent drug cravings as a result of rising ketamine tolerance levels. According to the British Medical Bulletin, developing drug cravings have to do with ketamine’s effects on the brain’s reward system, an area that ultimately determines a person’s morals, priorities, motivations and daily behaviors. Once ketamine tolerance effects start to interfere with brain reward system functions, drug cravings start to happen with increasing regularity.
Ketamine’s addiction potential is one of the things that most distinguishes it from other hallucinogen drugs. Addiction stems from a growing psychological dependence on the drug’s effects. This dependence results from ketamine’s effects on the brain’s reward system functions, a process that’s also rooted within rising ketamine tolerance levels.
Signs of addiction show up inside a person’s daily behaviors and routines, in terms of how getting and using the drug takes up much of his or her focus and attention throughout any given day. After a certain point, major life areas start to suffer, including relationships, work, family and physical health.
Once ketamine tolerance effects start to take hold, a person’s life will likely enter into a downward spiral of increasing drug abuse and eventual addiction. More often than not, people who reach this point require some form of professional treatment to regain control of their lives.
If you suspect you or someone you know may be struggling with ketamine tolerance and need help finding treatment that meets your needs, please feel free to call our toll-free helpline at 800-601-3889 to speak with one of our addictions specialists.