Ketamine is an anesthetic that was originally developed to use during surgeries that did not require muscle relaxation. It works by selectively interrupting certain pathways of the brain to inhibit painful sensations and is considered to be a dissociative anesthetic. Other examples of this drug are PCP and DXM, and it is the dissociative effects of the drug which can be helpful in certain surgical procedures. Ketamine causes many side effects, including but not limited to: delirium, dizziness,  diplopia, blurred vision, altered hearing, hypertension, tachycardia, hyper-salivation, nausea and vomiting, erythema, pain, euphoria, aphasia, blunted psychological effect, retardation in psychomotor skills, vivid dreams, nightmares, impaired attention, memory and judgment, illusions, hallucinations, altered body image, and tonic-clonic movements. Ketamine, along with the other “clubbing drugs,” has become popular among teens and young adults at dance clubs and “raves” and is one of the so-called “date-rape” drugs. Most of the ketamine that is used in the United States is diverted from pharmacies in Mexico, and costs about $25 per dose on the street. Ketamine is a substance that is becoming increasingly abused and there is now a growing need for effective ketamine addiction treatment in the United States and elsewhere, it gives users a psychedelic high and feelings of euphoria, but can become dangerous very quickly. The most dangerous complications of ketamine use and abuse include brain damage due to a lack of oxygen, respiratory issues including respiratory collapse and failure of the respiratory system, problems speaking and confusion leading to violent behavior, permanent neurosis and coma. In addition to these side effects, small amounts of ketamine can cause death. Ketamine addicts often take larger and larger doses of the drug in order to get high, and just one gram of ketamine can result in death for the user. Addiction treatment for ketamine should begin immediately for anyone that is using the drug regularly.

There are many slang terms for the drug which include jet, super acid, Special “K”, green, K, “Kit-Kat,” and cat Valium. It is available as both an injectable liquid and in pill form. Bodily tolerance rises quickly with regular use and lasts for about three days. Taking the regular doses of Ketamine will require increasing doses and many report a diminishing of the ketamine high over time, so that the effect becomes more like a combination of cocaine and cannabis. Chronic users of ketamine, particularly those who inject the substance develop something close to permanent tolerance so, after months of use, are unable to experience the psychedelic effects. Psychological dependence on ketamine develops quickly, and successful addiction treatment for ketamine addiction normally requires specialized, professional addiction treatment in order to deal with temptations to relapse and begin to use ketamine or some other addictive substance in the future.

Deaths with abuse of ketamine alone are rare, but there have been some reported cases. The majority of fatalities from ketamine addiction occur when ketamine is combined with other CNS depressants like alcohol, benzodiazepines and a mixture of other illicit drugs, which is often the case among drug users. For these reasons it is important that those who are addicted to ketamine to receive the drug rehab help and support that they need to become free of their psychological dependence on the substance. The majority of successful addiction therapy for ketamine addiction is based on traditional models of psychotherapy and behavior modification.

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