Ketamine, the anesthetic doubles as a “club drug”, has been in the news a lot lately. Here’s what you need to know:
What Is Ketamine?
Medically, Ketamine is used as an anesthetic.
Why Do People Abuse Ketamine?
Taken recreationally, “Special K” causes visual/auditory hallucinations that some find pleasurable.
The last thing we would want to do as a field would be to promote the use of a substance to treat depression that turns out to have tremendous abuse liability, and that would end up creating a cadre of depressed patients who are now, in addition to that, substance abusers.”
~Dr. Charles Nemeroff, American Psychiatric Association
Is Ketamine Dangerous?
When used as intended, ketamine is safe. When misused, serious side effects may occur:
- “K-Hole” – temporary memory loss, loss of reality
- Abnormal heartbeat and/or blood pressure
- Respiratory depression
- Urinary problems
- Liver damage
- Irreversible brain lesions
- Overdose and death
Is Ketamine Addictive?
Ketamine is not considered to be physically addictive, but it can be powerfully addictive psychologically.
Should Ketamine Be Used to Treat Depression?
Some people with treatment-resistant depression report rapid relief with ketamine. However, the benefits seem to be of extremely short duration. The APA concluded that more study is needed to determine long-term efficacy.
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