Ketamine Abuse Damages the Brain 

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 Ketamine is a sedative commonly used in veterinary medicine and pediatric and cardiac patients that is sometimes abused by people. Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic, and is well known as a date rape drug due to its ability to sedate and temporarily paralyze the person who uses it. Ketamine takes the form of a powder, tablet or liquid. It is often used by people who struggle with depression due to its potent high that is produced by the drug, which may help lift people out of deep depressive episodes and even thoughts of suicide.

In March 2019, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first truly new medication for major depression in decades. The drug is a nasal spray known as esketamine, derived from ketamine, which is an anesthetic that has made waves for its surprising antidepressant effect. (Jennifer Chen, Yale Medicine, 2019).  

Unfortunately, ketamine has become an abusive and addictive drug in many parts of the world while chronic and prolonged use led to damages of many organs including the brain. In a study approved by the ethical committee of Sun Yat-sen University, Guang Zhou, China, twenty-one people who were addicted to ketamine showed lesions in the brain ranging from light to moderate depending on duration of use. The MRI lesions were observed as hyperintense spots (holes or patches) of degeneration in the superficial white matter of the cortex which appeared as early as one year after ketamine addiction. (U.S. National Library of Medicine, NIH, 2013).

The brain adapts to and changes when you are addicted to any drug or alcohol. As the use of drugs or alcohol continues, the changes become more permanent. Drug and alcohol use disorders affect major organ functions in your body. Addiction can lead to heart disease, liver failure, several types of cancer, kidney failure, overdose, and early death. Drugs and alcohol affect the brain’s ability to form and store important memories and can cause irreversible brain damage.

Getting help for addiction

If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction or a substance use disorder, you are not alone. Addiction is incurable, but treatment is available and there is hope in recovery. Treatment can be tailored to your specific needs. Drugs and alcohol are not required to have fun and in recovery, you will feel rejuvenated, restored, and healthy. Discover your interests and hobbies in a new, productive healthy lifestyle. Free yourself from the grip of addiction and get help today.


Daylight Recovery Services takes a holistic approach to substance abuse and co-occurring disorder treatment to address the physical, psychological, and spiritual facets of addiction and recovery. We ensure clients emerge from our facility with the proper tools and confidence in their ability to lead a healthy, enjoyable life. If you or someone you love is ready to break free of the bondage of addiction, contact one of our recovery experts today at 1-833-2DAYLIGHT.