Evidence-based pharmacology for the treatment of depression may include a medication known as ketamine. While the use of ketamine is dangerous for an individual using it illegally or trying to use it in any form on their own, the medication can be helpful if used in a setting supervised by a physician. What are the effects of ketamine, when used with and without supervision?
When used without supervision, ketamine can cause an individual to feel distanced from their environment, since it blocks the neurotransmitter glutamate at one of its receptors. The drug can cause a person to lose their sensitivity to physical pain and even feel euphoric.
However, the drug, when not used appropriately, can cause bad reactions, including high blood pressure, agitation, and potentially fatal respiratory issues. The drug impairs an individual’s ability to drive and can, in fact, cause them to be unable to move or communicate at all. This can be a frightening and disturbing state for the user.
At higher doses, ketamine is a depressant and can reduce the heart rate and respiratory function to dangerous levels. Especially when the drug is combined with other depressants, such as Valium or alcohol, the negative effects can lead to serious medical consequences. Ketamine, when not used under the supervision of a physician, can result in amnesia, impaired motor function, and delirium.
Symptoms of Ketamine Use
A condition known as ketamine toxicity, which can occur when the medication is used by an individual illegally or without medical supervision, can cause cardiovascular, neurological, and psychiatric symptoms, as well as abdominal symptoms. Some experts have determined that the higher occurrence of ulcerative cystitis in those who use the drug recreationally is caused by the adulterants that are typically mixed with the drug.
The effects of ketamine use and intoxication can include:
- Sedation and impaired consciousness
- Issues with the head, ear, eyes, nose, and throat, including excessive salivation
- Cardiovascular problems such as palpitations, hypertension, tachycardia, chest pain, and arrhythmias
- Abdominal pain, tenderness, nausea, and vomiting
- Altered mental state and disorientation
- Neurological issues such as paranoia, anxiety, confusion, slurred speech, dizziness, muscular rigidity, psychomotor, or muscular spasms
- Lower urinary tract symptoms.
In addition, the individual may experience physical trauma in the form of injuries, as they have a diminished perception of pain when using the drug.
People with existing cardiovascular disease or high blood pressure may be at an increased risk for stroke, restricted blood flow to the heart, angina, or increased intracranial pressure, since the drug stimulates the sympathetic nervous system. The result can be increased cardiac output, increased heart rate, and higher blood pressure.
Medically Supervised Use of Ketamine
Ketamine can be used safely for the treatment of depression, but only when in a setting that is supervised by a medical professional. Adults who have not been helped by other treatments, such as antidepressant medications, who have major depressive disorder, or who are suicidal, can often be helped with medically-supervised ketamine.
Some individuals with depression may lose important connections within their brains, called synapses, that let their nerve cells communicate. Research has found that within 24 hours of the first dose of medically-supervised ketamine, the lost connections begin to regrow. As these synapses continue to regrow, the positive effects of ketamine continue for these individuals.
Approximately 70% of individuals who try medically-supervised ketamine for a mental health condition experience the positive effects of ketamine for several days after the medication has been administered.
Contact Recovery Without Walls for Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy
Ketamine is effective in treating certain conditions but should only be used under the supervision of a medical professional. At Recovery Without Walls, we provide a unique experience to help you heal from your substance abuse and mental health issues. Our approach involves exceptional psychotherapy, evidence-informed research, and integrative healing methods, to help you with the treatment of depression, anxiety, phobias, chronic pain, and addiction. We also offer help with anti-anxiety and antidepressant medications.
We understand that it can be difficult and even dangerous to stop abusing prescription drugs without help. We are here to guide you through safe and effective withdrawal from prescription medications such as antidepressants. We personalize your treatment based on evidence-informed research, exceptional psychotherapy, nutritional support, and integrative healing methods designed to treat your whole body. Contact us today to learn how we can help you.