Ketamine is a synthetic dissociative anesthetic, which is used to induce and perpetuate anesthesia in veterinary and human practice. Known by other names such as Ketalar, Ket, K, Special K, Kitty, or Horse/Dog/Vet tranquilizer, the drug is commonly used by medical practitioners to induce a trance-like state that helps one sleep while undergoing any sort of medical treatment or surgery. In mild doses, it can also be used to treat major depression and suicidal ideation in emergency room settings.
Using ketamine for treatment can help reduce the need for post-op addictive painkillers. Apart from these, Ketamine has a number of negative aspects as well. Since it is odorless and colorless, and also has an ability to arrest voluntary movements, the drug is currently one of the most sought-after date rape drugs. The drug is also being used by its abusers repeatedly to experience the “K-hole,” wherein users get an out-of-body experience; but this effect usually precedes overdose.
Ketamine abuse and overdose
Ketamine can be swallowed as a pill, mixed in tobacco or marijuana or drinks. It can also be cooked into a white powder for snorting.
Like other drugs, an individual develops a tolerance to the drug after its recurrent use. With ketamine, this happens pretty quickly because it wears off after a short period of time, requiring repeat use to maintain the effects.
Its hallucinatory effects begin within a few minutes and wear off in less than an hour. Some users take it in high doses to achieve the aforementioned K-hole experience described as transcendental by some and terrifying by others.
Some of the common symptoms of ketamine abuse may include:
- Confusion, impaired judgement, delirium or amnesia
- Changes in perceptions of color or sound
- Difficulty thinking or learning
- Bloody, cloudy pee, trouble peeing or needing to pee often
- Pale or bluish lips, fingernails or skin
- Blurry vision
- Chest pain, discomfort, or tightness
- Problems with swallowing
- Hives, skin irritation
- Puffy or swollen face, eyelids, lips or tongue
- Feeling too excited, nervous, or restless
- Unusual tiredness or weakness
- Involuntary muscle movements and slurred speech
- Insensitivity to pain
- Dramatic increase in heart rate
- Bladder disease called ketamine-induced ulcerative cystitis