Author: Gary Jackson

Why Do People Take Ketamine? Risk Factors and Dangers

Status epilepticus is when a person has a seizure that lasts longer than 5 minutes or has more than one seizure within 5 minutes. Log in or create an account for a personalized experience based on your selected interests. “Some patients and some practitioners prefer the IV administration to the intranasal administration. But there are not compelling data to conclude that one is superior to the other or to predict who would benefit from one versus the other,” Krystal says. “We think that the number of synapses goes down because depression is so stressful that you actually prune or lose some of the synaptic connections in the brain,” Krystal says. “Ketamine is an intervention, but the notion of ‘treatment’ is much broader than that,” he says.

Keep reading to learn more about the uses, side effects, and risks of ketamine, as well as its interactions with alcohol and other drugs. While ketamine is safe to use in controlled medical practice, it becomes hazardous if someone takes it for recreational use as it may result in potentially life-threatening adverse effects. Ketamine is also being studied for other mental health issues, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and in those with a history of psychosis. However, more research is needed before it can be recommended for these conditions. One recent study in the Journal of Clinical Psychology estimated that almost a third of the nearly 9 million people in the United States treated for depression each year have TRD.

What happens if you mix ketamine with other substances?

It’s really a question for your primary care doctor, not an internet blogger, no matter how informative and entertaining she might be. The Controlled Substance Act classifies ketamine as a Schedule III non-narcotic drug. Because of its pain-relieving and mental effects, it can cause dependence, the need to take higher doses to get the same effect, and addiction. Dr. Vande Voort is a clinician-researcher whose work spans child, adolescent and adult psychiatry in Rochester, Minnesota. Dr. Vande Voort completed a research fellowship at the National Institutes of Health, where her work focused on the use of ketamine for treatment-resistant depression. She is the co-medical director of the ketamine clinic at Mayo Clinic.

why do people take ketamine

Typically, the only ketamine-derived treatment for depression that insurance will cover is the FDA-approved nasal spray called esketamine (Spravato). While the drug is largely eliminated from the body within 14 to 18 hours after the last dose, it can also have longer-term effects. People who have used this drug report harsh flashbacks even weeks after the drug has been cleared from the body.

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Independent, outpatient ketamine clinics are popping up all over the place. It is estimated that there are currently hundreds to thousands of these clinics — almost all of which were established in 2019 when ketamine was approved for TRD. Addiction to substances such as ketamine is characterized by an inability to stop despite negative consequences, preoccupation with the substance, and disruptions that interfere with important aspects of life.

  • Ketamine delivered in low doses can provide rapid relief of TRD lasting for days to weeks.
  • “If they take big doses on a frequent basis, it can permanently damage people’s bladders and hurt people’s brains,”  Levine said.
  • A 2022 review found that long-term, high dose use of recreational ketamine may be linked to brain function-related side effects, mood disorders, and psychotic symptoms.
  • Though some, he says, may talk or make a comment about the music playing on their headphones or some part of their experience, or perhaps ask where they are.
  • While ketamine isn’t the most fatal of substances when used alone, developing an addiction to this drug can greatly affect quality of life.
  • There is no standard recommendation for when or if people need a booster.