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What Are the Effects of Ketamine?

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Ketamine is employed in the medical field and veterinary practice as an anesthetic agent. Illicitly, it is also consumed by individuals seeking euphoric experiences.

As a dissociative drug, ketamine can trigger a sense of disconnection from the body and the surrounding environment. Dissociative drugs, like psychedelics, have the potential to provoke hallucinations and alter perceptions, emotions, and the overall state of consciousness. If you are concerned about the effects of ketamine, this guide aims to clear up the confusion.

Short-Term Side Effects of Ketamine

Ketamine drug effects manifest within minutes of use. Its effects are variable and can range from mild to severe, depending on the dosage. While the immediate effects normally last for several hours, some people report lingering effects that persist for days. At lower doses, short term effects of ketamine may include:

  • Confusion, difficulty coordinating movements, and disorientation.
  • Feelings of dizziness, potential for nausea, and the likelihood of vomiting.
  • Elevated blood pressure, rapid heart rate, and increase in breathing and body temperature.
  • Altered sensory experiences – visual or auditory hallucinations, for instance.
  • A profound sense of detachment from self, the environment, or reality.

At higher doses, the risks and intensity of the effects increase significantly.

Mixing ketamine with other substances like MDMA, amphetamines, or cocaine, heightens its dangers. Especially hazardous is its combination with alcohol or other central nervous system depressants, which can trigger life-threatening respiratory depression.

Long-Term Side Effects of Ketamine

Many negative effects of ketamine occur over the long-term. Intranasal use of ketamine can damage the nasal passages and sinuses, causing long-term harm to the structure of the nose and a diminished sense of smell. Injecting ketamine can harm veins, muscles, skin, and internal organs, potentially causing skin infections, transmission of infectious diseases, or endocarditis (an infection of the heart valves).

Long-term ketamine abuse can also adversely affect the kidneys and liver, especially at high doses over extended periods. This can provoke complications such as urinary tract and bladder issues, increased heart rate, hypertension, respiratory problems, and seizures.

The health degradation caused by chronic ketamine abuse can be profound and debilitating, disrupting normal functioning and potentially leading to organ failure, heart attacks, and fatal outcomes.

Extended ketamine use may also cause psychological harm, with possible effects of ketamine on the brain including:

  • Impaired memory
  • Persistent confusion
  • Episodes of paranoia
  • Diminished attention span
  • Emotional instability

For those with a predisposition to certain mental health disorders, ketamine abuse can trigger flashbacks, psychosis, or schizophrenia. Long-standing and frequent use can cause a person to experience dissociation, a state of disconnection from reality, even after the drug’s immediate effects have subsided. This is perhaps the most distressing adverse effect of ketamine.

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Effects of Ketamine Abuse

When misused, ketamine can alter perception, cause hallucinations, and lead to dissociative states. Effects and risks associated with ketamine abuse may include:

  • Physical health risks: Chronic use of ketamine is associated with severe damage to the bladder – ketamine-induced cystitis. People may experience painful urination, blood in the urine, and in severe cases, a reduced bladder capacity which might require surgical intervention. Other physical effects of ketamine include kidney dysfunction, abdominal pain, and elevated blood pressure.
  • Mental and cognitive effects: Ketamine abuse can lead to cognitive impairments, including memory loss, difficulty concentrating, and impaired judgment. Long-term use can result in persistent changes in mood and perception, potentially inflaming symptoms of depression or causing anxiety disorders.
  • Dependency and addiction: Regular use of ketamine can lead to psychological dependence, with some people feeling a compulsion to continue using the drug despite negative consequences. Withdrawal symptoms that include cravings, anxiety, tremors, sweating, and palpitations may present upon discontinuation.
  • Dissociative effects: At high doses, ketamine can cause a dissociative state, sometimes referred to as a K-hole, where the person experiences a profound detachment from reality. This can be disorienting and frightening, especially if it occurs in a public space.
  • Impaired motor function: Ketamine can impair motor coordination and lead to a loss of function in the limbs, which increases the risk of accidents and injuries.
  • Social and behavioral changes: Abuse of ketamine can influence social behaviors, leading to withdrawal from friends and family, decreased performance at work or school, and neglected responsibilities.
  • Risks of polydrug abuse: Combining ketamine with other substances like alcohol or stimulants can significantly increase the risk of harmful interactions and potentially fatal overdoses.

Ketamine abuse poses many health risks and can impact every aspect of a person’s life. It’s important for those struggling with ketamine abuse to seek professional help, as inpatient or outpatient rehab programs can mitigate the risks associated with this drug and help people initiate and maintain recovery from ketamine addiction.


What are the effects of ketamine?

Ketamine produces a range of effects due to its action as a dissociative anesthetic. It can cause dissociation, hallucinations, and pain relief. It may also trigger effects like sedation, dizziness, euphoria, vivid dreams, disorientation, feeling incapacitated, delusions, and amnesia. Additionally, it can disrupt the neurotransmitter glutamate, which is involved in learning, memory, emotion, and pain recognition, potentially leading to increased heart rate and elevated blood pressure.

What are the negative side effects of ketamine?

The negative side effects of ketamine can include serious risks such as disorientation, nausea, and an increased risk of injury due to a lowered sensitivity to pain. There is also a chance of experiencing confusion, clumsiness, and an increase in dissociation, which can lead to a feeling of detachment from self.

How long do the effects of ketamine last?

The duration of ketamine’s effects varies depending on the method of use and dosage. Generally, the effects can last from 30 minutes to an hour, but they may persist for 24 hours overall. That said, the duration of effects can vary widely from person to person, with some experiencing effects for just a few minutes to an hour or two, while others report staying in an altered state for an entire night.

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Find Treatment for Ketamine Addiction at Drug Rehabs Centers

If you require ketamine addiction treatment in Southern California, it can be frustrating and challenging to find the right rehab. Shortcut your search by reaching out to Drug Rehab Centers in Southern California where our team is ready to help you connect with treatment providers delivering evidence-based interventions for ketamine addiction throughout the state.

We can help you find licensed medical detox services to manage withdrawal symptoms from ketamine.

Beyond detox, there is a network of inpatient and outpatient treatment centers throughout California offering science-backed and holistic therapies. We can provide you with referrals to reputable rehabs near you, including immediate access rehab for those who need urgent assistance.

Call (844) 739-2005 and begin your recovery in Southern California right away.

Juan Bonnet
Author: Juan Bonnet


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