Author: Gary Jackson

Ketamine Overdose: Dangers, Effects, and Treatment

Future studies should include assessment of the psychoactive effects of ketamine to further evaluate whether perceptual experience mediates therapeutic benefit. Monitoring includes the patient’s airway, breathing, and circulation, as ketamine can potentially cause cardiopulmonary compromise, especially when taken in combination with other drugs. If the patient vomits, the patient should be positioned to lean forward or lie on the left side with the head facing down to avoid airway compromise and aspiration.

  • If this progresses to vomiting, it can be very dangerous, as those in the midst of a state of dissociated confusion frequently end up supine—presenting a serious choking hazard.
  • This lack of group differences may be related to initial opioid antagonist treatment in both groups or to administration of ketamine while the participants were unconscious.
  • Central nervous system side effects such as agitation are less intense than those seen with PCP abuse.
  • You might find that it’s causing you severe financial difficulties, or you may realize that it has resulted in you spending more money than you can afford.
  • Glutamatergic dysregulation in the prefrontal cortex and mesolimbic regions (including the amygdala and the nucleus accumbens) has been implicated in addiction pathology across multiple substances of abuse (9).

However, for many ketamine abusers, withdrawal isn’t a major issue, as ketamine doesn’t produce a clinically significant withdrawal syndrome. This minimizes the need for close medical supervision throughout the period of withdrawal—allowing those in recovery to move forward and focus on the second stage of their treatment. In social venues, ketamine is typically abused as a way to enhance moods, energy, euphoria, and the effects of other psychoactive substances.

How is Ketamine Abused?

Hallmark signs of SUDs include impaired control, cravings, social impairment, risky use, and withdrawal symptoms. Withdrawal from heavy, prolonged alcohol use can result in life-threatening seizures and autonomic instability in addition to hallucinations, severe agitation, and anxiety. Physiologic response to opioid withdrawal can also be severe, and includes nausea, emesis, diarrhea, myalgias, intractable lacrimation and rhinorrhea, fevers, dysphoria and insomnia. Fear of these withdrawal symptoms is frequently cited as a barrier to treatment and reason for relapse (4).

ketamine overdose effects

Ketamine has been shown to cause bronchodilation and maintain a protective airway better than other anesthetic agents used for sedation, although there have been reports of aspiration.[19] If airway compromise occurs, intubation can provide respiratory support. The patient’s vital signs, especially temperature, should also be monitored for other symptoms, especially hyperthermia. If the patient develops severe symptoms or complications, the patient should be placed on a monitor and admitted for observation. Ketamine withdrawal treatment aims to help you get off the drug and stay off it. Some of the literature in the addiction treatment sphere mentions cases of reported anxiety and/or depression following cessation of ketamine use.

Effects of Ketamine Use: Short-Term, Long-Term, and Side Effects

Fast heart rate, high blood pressure, hallucinations, and impaired consciousness upon presentation to the emergency department may be most common effects with “snorting”. While the effects of a ketamine overdose are not always fatal, the consequences can cause significant reductions in a person’s overall quality of life including long term physical disabilities or psychological disorders. Special attention should be paid to the cardiac and respiratory systems of a person using ketamine. A person suffering psychosis or paranoia, intense fear, or panic during a “bad trip” will experience highly elevated symptoms that are potentially fatal.

For cannabis and stimulant use disorders, there are no FDA-approved treatments (8). With limited treatment options, a myriad of non-FDA approved medications (e.g., gabapentin, clonidine, bupropion) are tried as standalone pharmacotherapies and in conjunction with behavioral interventions. At sub-anesthetic dosing, ketamine produces mild dissociative psychoactive effects (30, 31).