Ketamine is a known anesthetic medication used to prevent discomfort and pain during medical tests, minor procedures, and simple surgeries. This drug is also used socially and it has a high abuse potential. Per weight, ketamine is more powerful than cocaine or methamphetamines, so overdosing accidentally can commonly occur with this drug. Ketamine can be taken in pill form, snorted, smoked, or injected. It is often used as a date rape drug because it’s odorless and colorless.

Effects of Ketamine

Ketamine produces a sudden high than only lasts for around 60 minutes. With injection, the reaction occurs instantly, but if smoked or swallowed, it starts around two to five minutes later. The “high” a ketamine users gets is an overwhelming state of relaxation often called a “full body buzz.” Many users describe the sensation of floating outside their own bodies, and as an anesthetic, the drug also can cause hallucinations. High doses produce greater effects, and people often have near-death experiences, which are called “being in the K-hole.”

Short-term side effects of ketamine include pleasant and unpleasant hallucinations, confusion, drowsiness, and an increase in blood pressure and heart rate. Also, this substance is dangerous, as it causes the user to lie on his or her back, and if vomiting occurs, death from choking is probable.

Long-term effects are quite unpredictable, but it produces or eliminates pain so the user can easily be injured. Walking into things or falls could result in fractures, skin abrasions, serious nerve damage, and/or sepsis. Once the initial effects wear off, ketamine causes severe abdominal pain, urinary and bladder problems, and long-term addicts often have to have their bladders removed when the walls become too thick to allow urine to flow naturally. Kidney issues also occur, as this drug reduces metabolites and lead to elevated renal pressure.

Ketamine Dependence

The high from ketamine is extremely pleasant; however, this drug causes serious drug dependence. A tolerance is easily built up, and users often experience withdrawals. Ketamine addiction leads to serious psychological and emotional problems, health issues, and financial difficulties. Many people commit illegal and immoral acts due to ketamine addiction and dependence. Should this occur, it is time to seek help.


To treat someone addicted to ketamine, the goal is to help the addict get off the drug and refrain from future use. The user suffers withdrawal symptoms at first, but physicians and treatment centers can help alleviate these problems. Additionally, a rehabilitation (rehab) facility will offer psychotherapy and counseling to help the addict realize how and why he/she is turning to ketamine. These programs assist addicts to learn skills and healthy alternatives to drug use. In the final stage of recovery, relapse likelihood is high, and support group attendance is necessary to prevent this.