Effects of Ketamine Abuse


Like all addictive drugs, ketamine is highly damaging to the person who indulges in repeated or chronic use. It can be difficult for the unaddicted person to understand the allure of effects like those resulting from ketamine abuse. A person who snorts, ingests, injects or smokes this drug will experience these effects, some minor and some life-threatening.

The more of the drug that is taken, the greater the severity of effects and the greater the danger:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Excessive salivation
  • Distorted sensory perceptions
  • Nausea
  • Rapid, involuntary eye movements
  • Stiff muscles
  • Depression
  • Agitation
  • Amnesia
  • Dissociation from one’s body or identity
  • Unconsciousness
  • Slowed heartbeat
  • Hallucinations
  • Unresponsiveness to external stimuli

These effects are, for the most part, short-lived. A family who suspects use of a drug like ketamine may have a hard time detecting its use. Within an hour of these effects showing up, they will begin to fade away. A person who wishes to abuse ketamine will only need to go to a club venue or spend a few hours alone to abuse this drug without his (or her) family being able to tell.

But some of the effects are longer lasting. And the effects of being addicted to a drug like ketamine will be detectable by the family.

girl hallucinating from ketamine

Deterioration of Character and Condition

One of the ironies of addiction is that drug abuse itself lowers one’s awareness of their own worsening condition. This makes it very hard for an addicted person to see that they are suffering from a worsening of integrity, health, financial condition, relationships and other aspects of life. In too many cases, the solution to problems is often more abuse of drugs or alcohol. In the meantime, family and friends see the worsening condition.

It is no different with ketamine. Continued use of this drug can result in cognitive difficulties, depression, and inability to think clearly. All these effects can themselves prevent a person from trying to get help. In so many cases, it is the family that sees the damage that is occurring and determines that rehabilitation is a necessity.

Characteristics of Ketamine Abuse

Those who become continual users of ketamine are often seeking a dissociative state that they consider desirable. In this altered state, they are unaware of their own thoughts, environment or even any dangers that might be around them. They may hallucinate about near-death experiences and the drug may trigger terrors. When they have reached a state where they are fully detached from reality, this condition is referred to as the “K-Hole.”

Unfortunately, the effects of ketamine include flashbacks much later, even months after their last use of ketamine. While overdoses from ketamine are rare, they are possible, either directly from abuse of the drug or from mishaps while intoxicated.

Ketamine’s Usual Uses

Ketamine is normally a veterinary anesthetic. It has some uses in the medical treatment of humans. Most of the ketamine in illicit circulation was stolen from vet clinics or was trafficked in from Mexico or another foreign country.

It is usually abused in a party, rave or nightclub atmosphere in a similar way that LSD or PCP would be abused.

Helping the Ketamine Addict Recover

Just like with cocaine or heroin, a person can become physically and psychologically addicted to ketamine. When addiction occurs, a person will continue to use this drug despite the damage that is experienced. When a person has lost his (or her) ability to maintain sobriety, he needs help rebuilding sober living skills. He needs to learn to enjoy a productive life again. This kind of repair takes time and an effective recovery program.

This is the kind of recovery that takes place every day at Narconon drug rehab centers around the world. The Narconon program directly addresses the kind of addictive effects caused by ketamine abuse. The cravings, the depression, the loss of life skills—these effects are all counteracted by the services that make up the Narconon program.

Sauna Detoxification and Life Skills Restoration

A person must recover the brightness that existed before addiction stole it away. This brightness returns as a result of the Narconon New Life Detoxification followed by exercises that return awareness and perception. This detoxification action that utilizes time in a sauna along with nutritional supplementation helps flush out old drug residues that still have the ability to depress mood and help trigger cravings. The exercises that follow build up one’s ability to use communication to succeed in life and bring back one’s self-control. As these abilities return, so does one’s interest in living a sober life.

If there is someone you know who is struggling with addiction to ketamine or other drugs, find out how Narconon can help.


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