What are the effects of ketamine on physical and mental health?


What are the effects of ketamine on physical and mental health?

Ketamine has been used as a short-acting general anesthetia since the 1970s. During the Vietnam War, it was first utilized in the United States for sedation and pain treatment. It has numerous medical applications today.

Because of its dissociative properties, the substance is extremely popular for recreational use. Recreational ketamine is also known as Special K, KitKat, Vitamin K, and other slang phrases, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Ketamine's usefulness in treating certain mental health issues has sparked a lot of research in recent years. But there's still a lot to learn about how ketamine works, how it's dosed, and what long-term impacts it can have.

We'll go through the medical uses, side effects, and more of ketamine in this post.

What exactly is ketamine, and how does it affect the human body?

Ketamine is a dissociative anesthesia. According to 2018 research, ketamine blocks glutamate by attaching to the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor in the brain.

Glutamate is a neurotransmitter, a type of brain molecule that helps the brain work normally. This action, according to researchers, aids ketamine's usage in anesthesia, pain management, and depression treatment.

Ketamine also has a limited effect on other brain receptors, such as

·       opioid

·       serotonin receptors.

·       aminobutyric acid gamma (GABA)

·       sigma

·       dopamine

Ketamine's effect on these brain chemicals is still being studied by scientists. However, according to 2014 research, ketamine's interactions with these brain receptors may contribute to its pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, and antidepressant properties.

Other side effects of ketamine use include:

  • ·       Sedation
  • ·       dizziness
  • ·       euphoria
  • ·       hallucinations
  • ·       dreams vivid
  • ·       disorientation
  • ·       unable to function
  • ·       delusions
  • ·       amnesia

One of the reasons ketamine is popular as a "party drug" for recreational use is its dissociative effects.

Ketamine comes in a variety of dosages and dosing forms. The drug's effects vary based on the dose and form used, as well as if it's being used illegally.

Dosage forms for medical use

Ketamine is a general anaesthetic that works quickly. It's given as a sedative injection directly into a vein. An intravenous injection is what this is called. It can also be injected into a muscle intramuscularly.

Esketamine (Spravato) is a nasal spray formulation of ketamine. Treatment-resistant depression in adults is treated with it in combination with an antidepressant.

Ketamine for medical purposes is only administered under the direct supervision of a skilled health professional, according to a 2014 review. Your doctor will not give you ketamine in any form to use on your own.

Recreational use dosage forms

·       powder

·       liquid

Higher amounts of recreational ketamine, according to the DEA, can induce serious reactions. In the United States, it is classed as a Schedule III non-narcotic substance, making it unlawful to possess without a prescription.

What is ketamine used for medically?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved ketamine for use as a short-term injectable anaesthetic in people and animals for sedation, according to FDA evaluations from 2020 and 2021. When given intravenously for anaesthetic, it operates quickly (within 10 to 30 seconds). It can be taken alone or in combination with other drugs.

It's also used off-label for a variety of different ailments. One of its uses, according to 2016 research, is a pain treatment for:

·       burns
·       cancer discomfort
·       neuropathic pain that persists
·       migraines.
·       Other types of chronic discomfort

Off-label use refers to when your doctor prescribes a medication for a reason other than anaesthetic. More research is needed, however, to fully comprehend the drug's safety and effectiveness in some types of pain management, particularly for long-term chronic pain.

According to a 2018 review, ketamine may be useful in the treatment of substance use disorders such as alcoholism, cocaine addiction, and opiate addiction. However, more research on its benefits, doses, and long-term safety is required.

What is ketamine used for in mental health care?

According to studies published in 2018 and 2020, ketamine is useful in treating specific mental health issues, such as major depressive disorder and suicidal ideation, when combined with psychotherapy.

One benefit of ketamine over other antidepressants is how quickly it works. According to a 2020 study, it might work in as little as two hours. It can take weeks for traditional antidepressants to start working.

Ketamine has been demonstrated to be beneficial in the treatment of illnesses such as:

  • ·       Resistant depression
  • ·       post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • ·       anhedonia
  • ·       anxiety

However, there is still a lot to learn about how ketamine works, the best dosages, and how safe it is.

The FDA authorised esketamine nasal spray, also known as Spravato, in 2019Trusted Source for the treatment of treatment-resistant depression. The medication is administered under physician supervision.

R-ketamine, a different kind of ketamine, is now being researched for treatment-resistant depression.

Are there side effects of ketamine therapy?

Ketamine side effects Several factors influence the reliability of a source.

They include:

·       the drug's type (medical or recreational)

·       how it's used; and the dosage given

·       your age

·       any other health issues you may have, such as high blood pressure or heart disease

·       any medications you're taking

The following are recognised side effects that can vary from person to person:

  • ·       dizziness
  • ·       muscle spasms or stiffness
  • ·       urinary difficulties, such as painful, uncomfortable, or frequent urination and bladder control loss
  • ·       disorientation

·       heart problems such as arrhythmia, a slow heart rate, excessive blood pressure, heart failure, or cardiac arrest

  • ·       seizures
  • ·       anxiety
  • ·       hallucinations
  • ·       sleeplessness
  • ·       addiction
  • ·       difficulty breathing

Long-term, high-dose recreational ketamine use was connected to brain function-related adverse effects, mood disorders, and psychotic symptoms, according to a 2022 review.

Ketamine can be taken recreationally alone or in combination with other illicit drugs. As a result, it's unclear if ketamine contributed to cognitive and behavioural adverse effects in trials alone or in conjunction with other factors.

Scientists are still learning about ketamine's long-term effects, although they may include issues such as:

·       memory

·       executive function

·       attention

·       self-control

·       Getting help

There's no need to be embarrassed if you or a loved one has a ketamine addiction. It's a challenge that thousands of individuals face every day. There's a vibrant community ready to help you on your way to a better, healthier life.

You might find any of the following resources useful:

Is ketamine therapy covered by insurance or Medicare?

It is debatable. Ketamine for anaesthesia may be covered by your insurance. However, injectable ketamine for depression or other mental illnesses has not yet been approved by the FDA and may not be reimbursed by insurance. It's considered an off-label application of the medication.

However, things are changing, and there may be some good news about insurance coverage in the future. Your insurance plan may cover ketamine in the future for treatment-resistant depression and other disorders if the FDA approves it for other conditions based on new research.

When selecting coverage, insurance plans take into account a number of things. Among them are:

·       the ailment being treated with ketamine – usage not approved by the FDA is unlikely to be covered

·       the individual plan

·       the composition (esketamine is covered by many plans)

You can inquire about insurance coverage if your doctor suggests ketamine as a therapy option for your health problem. You can also inquire about your specific plan's coverage.


The different effects of ketamine are currently the subject of a lot of fresh research. Benefits for mental health problems like treatment-resistant depression, PTSD, and suicidal ideation are included.

Ketamine may not be safe for you if you have certain health disorders, such as high blood pressure or heart difficulties, or certain mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia. Your doctor can inform you about the most recent research and medicinal applications for ketamine, as well as the benefits and drawbacks of the medicine.

Keep in mind that ketamine has potentially hazardous adverse effects. Ketamine should not be used without medical supervision. It is illegal to use ketamine without a prescription, and illicit ketamine may be laced with other narcotics, increasing your chances of a bad reaction.

For further information about ketamine and its uses, consult your doctor.


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