There has been a rise in the use of designer or club drugs, hallucinogens with slightly different chemical compositions than what has been defined as illegal, since the early and 80’s. Other types of designer drugs include chemicals which have a legitimate medical use for people or animals, but with variations of dosage and means of ingestion allow for a recreational user high. Ketamine addiction comes from overuse of a drug which was initially intended as part of anesthesia because at lower doses it causes a dissociate state while higher doses lead to effects similar to PCP or LSD.
Traditional hallucinogens have provided knowledge which allows for ketamine addiction treatment. Because hallucinogens are mentally rather than physically addictive, treatment requires a different approach than treating someone addicted to narcotics, opiates, or alcohol. Although all treatments require addressing underlying issues, hallucinogens and ketmine treatment specifically has to look at the patient’s mental health and find the reason behind the drug use in order to be successful.
Effects of Recreational Ketamine
When used for recreation, ketamine causes intense hallucinations. The effects begin in about 10 minutes after ingestion and typically last about an hour or two. The short duration comparative to other hallucinogens allows the user to feel as if they have more control over the high as they can re-dose as needed without being committed to remaining high for 12 or more hours. However, the intensity of hallucinations can often lead to injury or death through accidents or suicide attempts while under the effects of the drug. Ketamine treatment has to address the issue in which the user has experienced and enjoyed the high, the dissociative feeling which comes with hallucinogens, and likely feels the drug doesn’t cause as serious an addiction as other drugs because of the short term effects.
Treatment Considerations and Long Term Recovery
Ketamine treatment is similar to other addictions while providing its own challenges to doctors and the patient. There is nearly always some background leading to the desire to get high. In some cases, genetics give a person a predisposition toward drug use, in other cases, a traumatic experience or mental illness leads the patient to drug use through a desire to escape the memory or the world associated with the experience. It is integral to treatment and sustained sobriety to address the issues leading up to the addiction and providing the patient with a reasonable optimistic world view which requires neither drugs nor escape.
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