Ketamine – known popularly as “Special K” – is often referred to as a club drug because of its popularity with teens and young adults who use it in group settings such as nightclubs. Although often used to have a good time, ketamine abuse can have many unhappy, even tragic consequences.

About Ketamine Abuse

First developed in 1963, ketamine was intended to be a replacement for phencyclidine (PCP). It is a dissociative anesthetic that makes patients feel detached from their pain and environment. It distorts both visual and aural perceptions and produces hallucinations that generally last 30 – 60 minutes.

Ketamine is a Schedule III non-narcotic substance under the Controlled Substances Act.  This means that it has high abuse potential, with a moderate to low risk of physical dependence and a higher risk for psychological dependence. Ketamine is sold as a white powder that can be snorted. Users may opt to mix the powder with tobacco or marijuana and smoke it. It is also produced as a clear liquid that can be swallowed or injected. Ketamine induces a dreamlike state in users and they feel less inhibited. When injected, the effects may be felt in as little as one to five minutes. When swallowed, it may take as long as 30 minutes for the effects to be felt. Users may experience “flashbacks” days or even weeks after the drug was taken. Of particular concern is the fact that ketamine is used as a date rape drug because it can easily be used to spike drinks when in liquid form.

Ketamine abuse produces numerous dangerous side effects. Side effects of ketamine abuse include:

  • Agitation
  • Depression
  • Cognitive difficulties
  • Amnesia
  • Impaired attention
  • Delirium
  • High blood pressure
  • Potentially fatal respiratory problems
  • Hallucinations
  • Blurry vision
  • Chest pain, discomfort, or tightness
  • Problems with swallowing
  • Hives, skin irritation
  • Puffy or swollen face, eyelids, lips or tongue
  • Insensitivity to pain
  • Numbness
  • Bladder disease called ketamine-induced ulcerative cystitis
  • Unconsciousness

In addition to Special K, the drug is known by a variety of other street names including:

  • Cat Tranquilizer
  • Cat Valium
  • Jet
  • Jet K
  • K
  • Kit Kat
  • Purple
  • Super Acid
  • Super K
  • Vitamin K

Ketamine is sometimes produced and sold in combination with other drugs including MDMA (ecstasy), amphetamines, methamphetamines and cocaine. Like all hallucinogens and dissociative drugs, ketamine can have a serious impact on its users. According to Nora D. Volkow, M.D., Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse “These drugs can disrupt a person’s ability to think and communicate rationally, or even to recognize reality, sometimes resulting in bizarre or dangerous behavior.”

In the 1990s ketamine became popular as one of several substances dubbed “club drugs.” Other club drugs include MDMA (ecstasy), GHB, and Rohypnol). These drugs serve to enhance social intimacy and sensory stimulation. They are generally inexpensive and relatively accessible for young people. Although use of ketamine has declined somewhat ketamine abuse continues to be a problem for young people. In 2014, 1.5% of 12th graders reported using ketamine at some point in their lives according to a study conducted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

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Ketamine Addiction Recovery

While ketamine abuse and addiction is a serious problem, there is help available. Ketamine treatment at Sovereign Health of Texas generally begins with medically assisted detox. Through this process, the harmful toxins that have built up as a result of ketamine addiction are removed from the body.

In addition to attending to the physical needs of the recovering patient, it is vitally important to identify and treat the psychological factors that have fueled his addiction. Along with a physical examination, our staff provides a comprehensive psychological assessment of each of our patients, using the information gathered to design a treatment plan.

Sovereign Health of Texas follows The Sovereign Way, a philosophy that recognizes each patient’s unique needs and circumstances by providing personalized treatment plans tailored to his or her specific needs.

Our staff is composed of caring and experienced professionals dedicated to providing the best possible care for ketamine addiction treatment. The evidence-based programs and treatment modalities we use include:

  • Individual and process group therapy
  • Stress and anger management groups
  • Schema treatment
  • Narrative treatment
  • Mindfulness training
  • Biopsychosocial assessment
  • Life skills education
  • Experiential outings
  • Couples therapy
  • Continuing care program

Although ketamine may be considered to be a party drug there is nothing fun about the abuse of ketamine. At Sovereign Health of Texas we are committed to helping people overcome ketamine addiction, reclaim their futures, and enjoy healthy, happy lives. To learn more about the ketamine treatment we offer please call our 24/7 helpline.

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Success Story
Success Story

“The therapy here helped me really look at myself and find that I am a strong individual that can deal with this and move forward in my life.”- Katie