Ketamine: Much More Than A Party Drug

Posted on: 18 September 2017

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Although ketamine is known as a party drug that can produce hallucinations and a trance-like state at raves and similar types of events, it has been used for decades to induce and maintain anesthesia in both humans and animals. It is also being studied as a short-term remedy for patients with severe depression.

How is Ketamine Used As an Anesthetic?

Ketamine's short-term effects are best suited for procedures such as dental extractions in humans. Because it doesn't depress the breathing passages and circulation as stronger anesthetics, it is considered safer for use in children, but it is combined with other drugs to negate possible hallucinations.

However, ketamine is mostly used in veterinary medicine both for anesthesia and post-operative pain relief. Unfortunately, veterinary practices are a prime target for ketamine thieves, because producing ketamine involves a complex process that is difficult to reproduce outside of a laboratory.

What are the Negative Effects of Ketamine Abuse?

A smaller dose of ketamine will produce a limited dissociative state in which the users feel disconnected from the bodies and feelings. However, a larger dose can render a true dissociation of the mind and body, leaving a user unable to move or communicate until the drug wears off. This has lead to the use of ketamine as a date rape drug.

There is no "standard" dose of ketamine, so the possibility of negative effects will depend upon previous use among other factors. The effects of ketamine begin to wane upon continual use, so users with a psychological dependence on the euphoric and hallucinogenic properties of ketamine must take ever increasing doses to experience the same effects.

This can lead to mental health issues and ketamine induced ulcerative cystitis, a serious and painful bladder disorder.

What are the Effects of Ketamine on Severe Depression?

Ketamine has been shown to help some patients with severe depression when traditional medications fail. This is because it affects the brain differently. Antidepressants affect the balance of chemicals in the brain, while ketamine affects the manner in which brain cells communicate. It also blocks key receptors that are believed to contribute to depression.

Best of all, unlike traditional antidepressants, which may take several days to shift brain chemical to a point that symptoms are reduced, ketamine begins to work in only a few hours, with the effects lasting long after the drug leaves the system. This is optimal for patients with thought of suicide or a history of suicide attempts.

Of course, it can't produce miracles, and the effects fade after a few days. Repeated treatments coupled with traditional therapies are required. It is also expensive and not covered by insurance for treatment of depression. Long term studies may prove its efficacy in treating depression and support an approval by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for this purpose, with insurance companies eventually picking up the tab for treatment.

Contact a medical center like IV Wellness Center for more information and assistance.