Person taking to someone else about the long-term effects of ketamine abuse

Long-Term Effects of Ketamine

Ketamine, a powerful anesthetic and psychedelic drug, has gained attention recently for its potential medical use in addition to recreational abuse. While the drug does have therapeutic benefits, it is essential to understand the possible long-term effects of ketamine use. Knowing the risks and consequences of long-term ketamine use can help you decide whether this drug may be appropriate for your situation. If you are already using ketamine, educating yourself about the side effects can help determine if you need help for addiction.  

If you are concerned about ketamine’s long-term effects and need help quitting the drug, you can count on Promises Brazos Valley. Our evidence-based drug detox program will help you get through ketamine withdrawal safely and more comfortably. Contact us at 979.426.0086 to learn more and schedule an intake assessment.  

What Is Ketamine?  

Ketamine is a pharmaceutical primarily used to induce anesthesia. While this is its only FDA-approved purpose, recent studies have shown ketamine to be promising for treating treatment-resistant depression, prompting some healthcare providers to prescribe the drug off-label.  

Additionally, some people use ketamine recreationally due to its hallucinogenic effects. When accessed illicitly, ketamine may be referred to as:  

  • Special K  
  • Vitamin K  
  • Super K  
  • Super Acid  
  • Kit Kat  
  • Purple  

If you are receiving ketamine as anesthesia or depression treatment, it will be delivered via injection or infusion under the supervision of medical staff. When used recreationally, ketamine may be found in liquid or powder form and injected, consumed, snorted, or smoked.  

What Are the Long-Term Effects of Ketamine Use?  

Like any other addictive drug, the side effects of ketamine use can compound over time. Some potential long-term effects of ketamine use are the following. 

Cognitive Impairment  

Used long-term, ketamine can deteriorate cognitive function. You may notice memory loss, shortened attention span, or difficulty learning and retaining new information. This is due to ketamine’s effect on the brain’s prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for executive functions and decision-making.  

Urinary Problems  

Ketamine can damage your urinary system as time goes on. This condition is known as ketamine bladder and can include symptoms like urinary urgency, frequency, and pain. Without treatment, you can experience bladder shrinkage or the need for surgical intervention.  

Liver Damage  

Excessive ketamine use has been associated with liver damage or hepatotoxicity. Symptoms include jaundice, elevated liver enzymes, and liver failure in the most severe cases.  

Psychological Dependence   

Ketamine is classified as a Schedule III drug by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Schedule III drugs have moderate to low physical and psychological dependence potential. But although the risk is lower, ketamine can be addictive when misused.  

Mood Swings  

Long-term ketamine use can interfere with the brain’s reward system, leading to mood swings, depression, and even psychosis. These mood disturbances can impact your overall quality of life and relationships.  

Additional Risks of Ketamine  

It is important to note that as an anesthetic, ketamine use can put your safety at risk. Since it can incapacitate users in large doses, you can become the victim of a physical or sexual assault when under its influence. For this reason, ketamine has become known as a date rape drug. Exercise caution when using ketamine to protect yourself, and seek addiction treatment if you cannot control your consumption.  

Heal from Ketamine’s Long-Term Effects at Promises Brazos Valley

While ketamine has shown promising results as a therapy for treatment-resistant depression, it is still vital to recognize ketamine’s long-term effects when misused. If you have engaged in chronic ketamine use, it may be time to consider whether it is endangering your health. Contact Promises Brazos Valley at 979.426.0086 for an intake assessment to help you determine if our outpatient rehab is right for you. 

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