Can Ketamine Kill You? Ketamine Overdose Risks Explained

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Nicholas Conn

Nicholas Conn is a leading industry addiction expert who runs the UK’s largest addiction advisory service and is regularly featured in the national press, radio and TV.

Can Ketamine Kill You? Ketamine Overdose Risks Explained

Ketamine is a drug that was originally developed as an anaesthetic. However, it has found itself in a different spotlight due to its misuse. Many people abuse ketamine for its dissociative effects.

However, like with any substance, ketamine comes with its own set of risks. Understanding these risks is crucial to prevent potential harm. In this guide, we'll be exploring the ins and outs of ketamine, exploring its uses, the dangers of abuse, and the critical question: Can ketamine kill you?

What is Ketamine Used For?

Ketamine has legitimate medical uses - in the medical field, it's primarily used as an anaesthetic. It induces a trance-like state while providing pain relief and memory loss.

However, ketamine's potential for misuse has led to its classification as a controlled substance in many places. In the UK, ketamine is controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 - and is a Class C substance.

Outside the medical realm, some people misuse ketamine for its hallucinogenic effects, and for feelings of detachment. Known as "Special K" on the streets, it's often used recreationally at parties and clubs. The dissociative and euphoric side effects of ketamine attract people seeking altered perceptions and experiences.

The Dangers of Ketamine Abuse

While ketamine has legitimate medical uses, its misuse can lead to a range of health problems. Chronic misuse of ketamine can result in addiction. This is one of many long-term effects of ketamine abuse.

The more you take ketamine, the higher the risk of addiction. When you have a ketamine addiction, you feel compelled to take the drug despite the negative impact it has on your life, including your finances, health, and overall well-being. For example, it can damage your bladder. This is known as ketamine bladder syndrome.

People who abuse ketamine may experience a dissociative state known as the "K-hole." This profound detachment from reality can be scary - it can lead to accidents, injuries, and impaired judgment. Chronic ketamine abuse is associated with mental health disorders such as anxiety, depression, and even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Identifying the signs of ketamine misuse is key to getting the right support. Physical symptoms of ketamine abuse may include increased heart rate, elevated blood pressure, and disorientation. On the psychological front, you may exhibit erratic behaviour, mood swings, and impaired memory if you abuse ketamine frequently. Regular and ongoing misuse can lead to more severe mental health issues.

What is a Ketamine Overdose?

When you consume a high dose of ketamine, you increase the risk of having a ketamine overdose. This occurs when you take a higher dose than your body is able to process.

Although they can vary, some symptoms of a ketamine overdose include:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Impaired motor function
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations

If you think you’re having an overdose on ketamine, it’s important that you seek medical support. Ketamine toxicity can have serious consequences for your physical and mental health. Ketamine impacts your central nervous system, which can lead to respiratory distress. This can put you at risk of respiratory failure. Ketamine overdose can also lead to a coma.

Ketamine overdose treatment may involve supportive care, such as monitoring vital signs and providing fluids. In severe cases, medications like benzodiazepines may be administered to manage agitation. Seeking immediate help ensures the best chance for a safe and successful recovery.

Can Ketamine Abuse Be Fatal?

In short, yes - ketamine abuse can be fatal. Although fatalities directly related to ketamine misuse can be rare, there is a risk. Certain factors can increase the risk of a ketamine overdose and fatalities. For example, mixing ketamine with other drugs or mixing ketamine with alcohol.

The impact ketamine has on respiratory function can be life-threatening - and the combination of other substances such as alcohol and opioids can increase the danger.

Ketamine abuse can also affect you psychologically - and these effects can lead to self-destructive behaviours. This can increase the risk of accidents or unintentional harm.

There are roughly 30 deaths in England per year involving ketamine - so although it’s rare, it’s important to be aware of the risks. Seeking treatment is key to minimise the risk of fatal outcomes.

Seek Support for Ketamine Addiction

If you or a loved one is dealing with ketamine addiction, or you’re looking to stop using ketamine, our team at Help4Addiction are here to help. We are dedicated to assisting people in their recovery journey, connecting them with suitable rehab clinics and tailored rehab programmes.

We can find the best treatment for you, giving you the best chance of overcoming substance abuse and addiction for good. Treatment begins with detox. During a ketamine detox, you may be given detox medication to ease the withdrawal symptoms.

Upon successfully cleansing your body of the substance, you can begin the next phase of rehab. This involves therapy and counselling. Therapy can teach you coping strategies and help you understand the root causes of your addiction.

There are several options to choose from when it comes to ketamine rehab. You can complete rehab as an inpatient at a residential rehab clinic, or you can opt for outpatient treatment. Likewise, there are also online rehab options, which means you can complete rehab from the comfort of your own home.

From detoxification to ongoing therapy, our network of reputable clinics offers the support needed to break free from the chains of ketamine addiction.

Our services extend beyond referrals - we are committed to guiding you to the most effective ketamine addiction treatment programmes. Begin your recovery journey today with Help4Addiction.

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