Addicted to Ketamine: What Parents Need to Know
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Addicted to Ketamine: What Parents Need to Know

In 2018, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about 0.7 percent of 12th graders admitted to using ketamine. This may seem like a low number—however, this percentage is reflective of teens who actually admitted to using the drug. The numbers are thought to be higher based on price, availability of the drug, and the fact that it can be crushed, smoked, injected, or mixed with water. Also referred to as “Special K,” “Vitamin K,” and “Super Acid,” to name a few, ketamine is an anesthetic used in human anesthesia and veterinary medicine.

What is Ketamine?

A Schedule III drug, ketamine hydrochloride is a quick-acting dissociative anesthetic that is legally used in both humans (as a sedative for surgery) and animals (as a tranquilizer). However, it’s rarely used medically because of its adverse effects on humans. Ketamine can take the form of a tablet, powder, or liquid. At high doses, it causes intoxication and hallucinations similar to LSD. Users often pair it with other drugs such as cocaine or Ecstasy (called kitty flipping), or sprinkle it into drinks.

How Ketamine Can Affect Your Teen

Teens may find dealers of ketamine at music festivals or parties, however, these dealers can sometimes unknowingly recommend an unsafe dosage. Often, the dealers don’t even know if the product is pure or laced with other drugs. Some teens use the drug to self-medicate to deal with depression, as ketamine produces a euphoric effect. After taking the dissociative anesthetic, users may hallucinate and start losing their sense of time. Some may get disorientated, become nauseous, and vomit. The trip, referred to as a “K-hole” usually lasts up to two hours. Some of these trips can be terrifying, as they feel like a near-death experience. Other symptoms are:

  • Dreamlike states
  • Sedation
  • Confusion
  • Loss of memory and impaired attention
  • Raise in blood pressure
  • Unconsciousness (NIDA)

At higher doses, ketamine causes body numbness and severely depressed breathing. Overdosing can lead to hospitalization and death.

Treatment for Addiction, Substance Use Disorders, and Mental Health

Teens who use ketamine can become dependent on it to feel good, help with stress, and to deal with depression. Often, people who suffer from addiction or substance use disorder like ketamine also live with an underlying mental health condition. If you or a loved one is suffering from a mental health condition and a substance use disorder or addiction, get help now. If you are seeking help for a mental health disorder and addiction, both conditions must be treated simultaneously as a dual diagnosis for the best results in recovery. While there is no cure for addiction, it is treatable and recovery is possible. At Daylight Recovery Services, we provide personalized treatment that simultaneously addresses addiction or substance use disorder along with any co-occurring disorders. Take the first step towards recovery and contact us today at 1-833-2DAYLIGHT. 

“Every next level of your life will demand a different you.” – Unknown

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