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What are the Side Effects of Ketamine Use?


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If you or someone close to you is showing symptoms of ketamine use, it might be time to get help. At Thrive Treatment, we are here to provide customized recovery. 

What is Ketamine?

Ketamine is a drug sometimes used by doctors and veterinarians as an anesthetic. Ketamine effects change the brain and help people fall into a dissociative state. For many, this ability to get a distorted reality is something they want long after their surgery or treatment. This is what leads to abuse. 

Ketamine is used to change the way your brain controls auditory and visual input. This is why it’s used as an anesthetic, and it is preferred over other anesthetics because it doesn’t slow down your breathing or heart rate. This means people can undergo medical procedures like surgery under anesthesia without needing a ventilator. 

But some people use ketamine illegally to try and get that same sort of high, with changes to the auditory and visual input.

Ketamine has many names on the street, including:

  • Bump
  • K
  • Special K
  • Vitamin K
  • Green K
  • Kit Kat
  • Donkey Dust
  • Cat Valium

How is Ketamine Used?

Ketamine can be used in different ways. In a hospital, a doctor might inject ketamine into your IV. But if you are using it illegally, it might be snorted, swallowed, or smoked with cannabis and tobacco. The way in which it is used will impact the ketamine effects you get.

An injection of ketamine in a hospital setting works instantly. This means the hospital staff can add ketamine to your IV, and within one minute, it takes effect, and they can start the surgery. However, if it’s taken illegally and it’s snorted, it can take 10 minutes before it kicks in, and if it’s swallowed, it can take up to 30 minutes to kick in.

What are the Side Effects of Ketamine Use?

Once it kicks in, ketamine can cause lots of different effects. The side effects of ketamine use will vary based on your drug history, your current level of health, how much you ingest, and how you use it.

For most people, it initially does things like create hallucinations and reduce your sensitivity to pain, which is why it’s used as an anesthetic. But if you are using ketamine illegally, it can cause slurred speech or confusion, blurred vision, increased heart rate, and even trigger things like panic attacks or vomiting. 

If you use it regularly, these short-term side effects can compound and lead to long-term side effects. Long-term, using ketamine puts you at risk for very high blood pressure. This doesn’t seem like much of a risk when you consider all the different side effects of various illegal substances, but that’s exactly the problem: most users don’t consider how severe a risk that is. Regular high blood pressure can lead to convulsions and a loss of consciousness. Regular problems with concentration can result in long-term memory issues. You might experience abnormal kidney or liver function, abnormal pain, and problems with your bladder.

In fact, ketamine bladder syndrome is the biggest risk of regular ketamine use. It can cause bladder ulcers, incontinence, and more. 

How to Find Ketamine Addiction Treatment

When you start looking for treatment to offset the side effects of ketamine, you will find very little that you can do on your own. Like many drugs, ketamine is something best overcome with the help of a professional drug treatment center.

Since ketamine often will not cause as severe withdrawal symptoms as drugs such as cocaine or heroin, outpatient or partial hospitalization drug treatment programs are often sufficient. 

If you are dealing with the side effects of ketamine, and you want to overcome the symptoms of ketamine use, Thrive Treatment can help. Our outpatient drug rehab is located in beautiful Southern California. We offer a safe, secure environment for your recovery journey. If you are suffering from ketamine effects and co-existing or co-occurring disorders, we can help you with your outpatient drug treatment and long-term aftercare. Our facility specializes in evidence-based practices and holistic therapies to help you build a foundation early in your recovery, and our aftercare gives you the highest chances of success.

Let Thrive Treatment help you with your ketamine recovery.

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