Ketamine is an anesthetic drug that is incredibly valuable when used appropriately. However, ketamine is also commonly misused because high doses can cause euphoria, a sense of dissociation and hallucinations.
Although many people know ketamine as a horse tranquilizer, it has several important uses in humans. Ketamine is unique among anesthetics because it does not affect blood pressure. This means that it can be used in people suffering from severe blood loss (shock) or sepsis (blood poisoning). In addition, ketamine is valuable as a pediatric anesthetic and has been included on the World Health Organization’s Essential Medicine List since 1985. Ketamine has also shown value as a treatment for depression, pain and inflammation, and mild asthma attacks.
Despite its clear value in a clinical setting, ketamine is associated with serious risks when it is misused. Ketamine is a derivative of the illicit recreational drug phencyclidine (PCP). Although it is only one-tenth as potent as PCP, large doses of ketamine are associated with:
- Profound lethargy
- Sedation that can lead to respiratory depression, coma, and death
While there is some controversy on whether ketamine is physically addictive, research suggests that it is psychologically addictive when misused regularly. The physical and psychological consequences of regular ketamine abuse can be very dangerous, and it can have long-lasting implications on health and well-being. Ketamine’s recent popularity as a “club drug” has disrupted many lives, and it is important for people struggling with ketamine addiction to get help.