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Ketamine Toxicity Dangers & the Need for Treatment

Anyone who uses ketamine regularly well knows how powerful this drug can be. Ketamine belongs to the dissociative class of hallucinogens, capable of putting a person in a near catatonic state within a short period of time.

Ketamine toxicity has to do with the drug’s ability to overload brain functioning, which can bring on dangerous effects under the right circumstances. Ketamine toxicity also leaves a person more susceptible to the drug’s addictive potential over time.

With frequent use, the effects of ketamine toxicity can have long-term repercussions that compromise a person’s overall psychological well-being. After a certain point, the need for treatment help can no longer be ignored.

Ketamine’s Mechanism of Action

Ketamine Toxicity Dangers

Ketamine toxicity can lead to a delirium state.

Ketamine’s effects alter a person’s state of consciousness and sensory perception through its interactions with the brain’s chemical system. Once ingested, ketamine targets the brain’s glutamate-producing cells. Glutamate, an essential neurotransmitter, regulates electrical activity in the brain and central nervous system.

Ketamine increases glutamate production, which works to slow electrical activity. According to Emerging Health Threats Journal, these interactions cause a disconnect between the brain and body in terms of information processing. With the brain no longer receiving input from the body, it’s left to create a reality of its own or hallucinations.

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Signs of Ketamine Toxicity

Ketamine packs a powerful punch, with amounts as small as 50 to 100 milligrams capable of placing a person in a near-comatose state, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. Under these conditions, ketamine toxicity has overpowered the brain’s ability to communicate with the body and maintain bodily processes as normal.

Signs of ketamine toxicity typically take the form of:

  • Erratic heartbeat
  • Delirium state
  • Agitation
  • Blacking out or loss of consciousness
  • Visual and/or auditory hallucinations
  • Vomiting

Dangerous Behavioral Effects

Frequent changes in the brain’s electrical activity can cause damage to the areas most affected by ketamine toxicity, such as memory, sensory processing and learning centers. According to the University of California San Diego Health, these effects can compound over time creating conditions where psychosis, impaired cognitive functioning and delusions can take root.

Ketamine toxicity also leaves users totally vulnerable to their surrounding environment when under the influence. In some cases, a person may also exhibit aggressive type behaviors that pose a danger to self as well as others.

5 Things that Contribute to Ketamine Overdose

Tolerance & Addiction Potential

Ketamine exists as one of the few hallucinogen drugs that carry a high addiction potential. Not only does the brain easily tolerate this drug’s effects, but changes within the brain’s chemical system essentially reconfigure the centers that determine a person’s motivations, priorities and daily habits or routines. While ketamine toxicity may not produce the physical withdrawal effects commonly associated with other forms of addiction, users will experience fairly intense emotional and psychological withdrawal when reducing or stopping drug use.

Treatment Considerations

Addiction in any form will upend a person’s life in negative ways. Problems on the job, relationship issues and financial difficulties start to become more so the norm than the exception once ketamine toxicity and addiction gain a foothold. Under these conditions, the sooner you get needed treatment help the easier it is to take back control of your life.

If you suspect you or someone you know is at risk of ketamine toxicity dangers and need help locating treatment 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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