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Recreational Use vs Medical Treatments

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Many doctors are prescribing Ketamine to their patients for treating chronic pain, depression, anxiety, PTSD, CRPS, and other medical and mental health issues. This may cause some concern for people who have only heard of Ketamine as a recreational drug. Ketamine Infusion Centers wants to inform their patients of the differences between abusing Ketamine recreationally and undergoing medically supervised Ketamine treatments.

Ketamine Abused as a Recreational Drug

Ketamine is a Class III controlled substance that has been associated with recreational use as a party drug. Ketamine is typically found in powder form and like most illegal drugs has been mixed with other harmful chemical compounds. Illegal Ketamine use may cause feelings of euphoria, “out of body” sensations, and hallucinations, but comes with some serious health complications. Prolonged use causes addiction, and quitting can trigger withdrawal symptoms such as depression, anxiety, insomnia, and flashbacks. A tolerance can be acquired resulting in stronger doses or more frequent use to attempt to gain the desired effects again, which can result in a fatal dosage. If used in high doses, Ketamine causes extremely intense effects including inability to move or communicate. This is referred to as “being in the K-hole”. Whether they are seeking that experience or are unexpectedly terrified by the effect, it can lead to dangerous outcomes.

Adverse Effects of Illegal Ketamine Use

  • Addiction
  • Impaired motor function
  • Psychosis
  • Respiratory problems
  • Seizures, involuntary muscle movements, and muscle stiffness
  • Amnesia
  • High blood pressure
  • Depression
  • Bladder and kidney problems (ulcerative cystitis)
  • Stomach pain, nausea, and loss of appetite
  • Drowsiness
  • Perception changes of color and sound
  • Hallucinations, delirium, and confusion
  • Dissociation
  • Agitation
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in vision, involuntary eye movements, and dilated pupils
  • Slurred speech
  • Reduced heart rate

Combining Ketamine recreational use with alcohol or other substances can lead to a fatal overdose. In 2011, over 1,500 emergency department visits were due to illegal Ketamine use, with over 70% involving alcohol. The use of Ketamine as a recreational drug has continued to increase since 2011. The risk of overdose is extremely high because the dosage between the desired recreational effects and an overdose are minimal and frequently misjudged during illegal use.


Ketamine Used as a Supervised Medical Treatment

Like many other legitimate medications that are abused illegally, the proper medically supervised use of Ketamine can provide many positive health benefits. Ketamine began as an anesthesia medication in the 1960’s and is used today as an analgesic (pain reliever) and to treat pain, depression, anxiety, and a number of other mental health issues. In fact, it is one of the biggest breakthroughs for treating severe depression in years. Administered under medical supervision, Ketamine does not have those long-lasting effects; any hallucinations it does cause are very minor and short-term.

Ketamine used in low doses is a very effective pain reliever. The American Society of Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine with the American Academy of Pain Medicine have developed guidelines for the use of Ketamine as an effective pain reliever alternative to addictive opioids. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved Ketamine as a pain reliever in a medically controlled environment.

In addition, to use as a pain reliever, Ketamine can be used to treat depression, PTSD, suicidal thoughts, and other mood disorders. In March, the American Psychiatric Association published a consensus statement for the use of Ketamine to treat depression and other mood disorders with carefully monitored infusions. Recent studies show it is effective in treating depression in over 85% of patients according to Yale University. In March 2019, the FDA approved Ketamine use for depression in specific medically controlled situations.

Ketamine is administered at Ketamine Infusion Centers as a continuous infusion from an intravenous (IV) pump into your IV site. While you receive the IV, the pain management doctors at Ketamine Pain Management Centers will monitor you for any physical and mental effects. Administered this way the side effects can be controlled and remain very mild and short-term. Call today to get started at Ketamine Infusions Centers in Bakersfield and Phoenix.

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