Ketamine, commonly referred to as Special-K, is a widely abused drug due to its anesthetic, hallucinogenic and painkilling abilities. Recent studies show that the drug may benefit those with bipolar disorder, but experts strongly discourage clinical use because long-term efficiency and possible safety hazards are still unknown.
Ketamine abuse is ongoing among recreational and medical users. People with bipolar disorder are highly susceptible to Ketamine abuse, which puts them at high-risk for many of the drug’s potential dangers.
What is Ketamine and Why is it Abused?
Ketamine is a short-acting anesthetic that causes users to separate perception from sensation. This gives the drug many painkilling and hallucinogenic qualities that affect people differently. Its effects can produce a dream-like sensation or alcohol-like intoxication. Ketamine abuse often includes the following symptoms:
- Hallucinations, vivid dreams, visions, visual distortions and etc.
- Impaired perception of reality; lost sense of time, senses and one’s self-identity
- A floating sensation
These effects appeal to recreational users looking to have a mind-altering experience. Others enjoy the drug’s ability to numb their physical, mental and emotional senses. People going through physical or psychological pain believe they can drown their hurt and sorrows with the drug.
Connection between Ketamine Abuse and Bipolar Disorder
People living with bipolar disorder have an overwhelming amount of stress and pain. The complexities of living with such dramatic shifts are intense, and people with bipolar disorder need relief.
To ease the pain, people often use mood stabilizers, antidepressants, anticonvulsants and antipsychotics. Ketamine can significantly decrease symptoms of depression by working on specific brain receptors that send nerve signals between neurons. Because the drug alleviates the symptoms of depression and mania, it is a popular choice for patients with bipolar disorder.
Dangers of Self-Medicating Bipolar Disorder with Ketamine
One may wonder why doctors discourage Ketamine use for bipolar disorder if the drug can treat the disorder’s grueling symptoms. Bipolar disorder is a serious mental health condition, and without proper medical treatment an individual risks many dangers
Ketamine is a drug with high potential for tolerance, dependence and addiction. Even a person taking the drug for legitimate medical purpose is extremely vulnerable to these dangers. It is easy for bipolar individuals to develop these problems because they are likely candidates to abuse the drug to relieve their painful symptoms.
Ketamine abuse can also cause overdose and dangerous side effects, like increased heart rate, delirium, amnesia, impaired motor function, high blood pressure and potentially fatal respiratory problems.