Ketamine is an anesthetic drug that affects the central nervous system by antagonizing the n-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor. Like most dissociative anesthetics, ketamine has a high potential for abuse.

Ketamine has hallucinogenic effects. It changes your perception of sounds and sights, makes you feel detached, and makes you feel like you aren’t in control.

Ketamine is FDA-approved for use as a pain reliever for chronic pain and anesthetic. Unfortunately, it is often abused.

Although ketamine has a long-standing reputation as a recreational drug, its FDA-approved version has become popular in its role as an anti-depressant. Additionally, studies have shown its effectiveness in reducing drug and alcohol abuse.

This article discusses ketamine therapy and its benefits under supervised care.

Ketamine therapy as addiction treatment

Clinical trials focusing on alcohol and cocaine addiction revealed that patients who were prescribed therapy and ketamine had better results than those who went for therapy minus ketamine treatment.

Patients addicted to cocaine received doses of IV ketamine for five days. Additionally, they went through a 5-week mindfulness relapse prevention therapy. On the other hand, patients struggling with alcohol addiction received a dose of ketamine on their second week of 5-week motivational enhancement therapy sessions.

At the end of the trial, researchers concluded that ketamine treatment played a role in preventing relapse. Researchers argued that ketamine treatment alters how patients’ brains deal with cravings. Additionally, they argued that ketamine motivates individuals to stop abusing drugs and control their behavioral interactions. Ketamine treatment may also improve the outcome of behavioral therapy.

The clinical trials discussed above are not conclusive. There is a need for extensive research on the role of ketamine in addiction treatment.

Note that the use of ketamine in addiction treatment should be under the strict supervision of medical practitioners in clinical settings. Patients should only receive doses of ketamine as and when prescribed by their doctors to avert ketamine abuse.

Ketamine for depression

Medical practitioners can use ketamine to treat depression. Additionally, it can be used as an antidote for suicidal thoughts.

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Most treatments for suicidal thoughts, including anti-depressants, talk therapy, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), take several weeks to be effective. Sometimes, you may have to try multiple treatment options at once to gain relief.

Using ketamine for depression has proved effective. The doses that medical practitioners prescribe in treatment for depression are small.

How does it work?

It is still unclear how ketamine works. However, researchers suggest that it targets NMDA receptors in the brain, binds to the receptors, and consequently increases the amount of glutamate, a neurotransmitter, between the neurons.

The glutamate triggers connections in the AMPA receptors resulting in the release of molecules that allow neurons to communicate across new pathways. This process is called synaptogenesis. Synaptogenesis alters your cognition, mood, and thought patterns, making you less depressed.

Ketamine may also treat symptoms of depression by reducing the signals that take part in inflammation. These signals are often linked to mood disorders. Therefore, ketamine may prevent mood swings by reducing the signals.

How do you receive ketamine for depression treatment?

Ketamine comes in various forms, including white powder. The FDA-approved form for depression medication is a nasal spray known as esketamine/ Spravato.

Doctors prescribe esketamine to adults who have a major depressive disorder, treatment-resistant depression, or are suicidal.

Patients with treatment-resistant depression get the nasal spray twice weekly for the first four weeks, then once a week from the fifth to the ninth week. If they still need the nasal spray after the ninth week, they will get it once every two weeks.

The other forms of ketamine that are not approved by the FDA include; tablets, IV infusion, or a shot in the arm. IV infusions are done explicitly by doctors. Some doctors may prescribe pills for use at home. However, it is not recommended since ketamine has a high potential for abuse.

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The process of IV infusion takes place for approximately 30 minutes. Immediately after the drip ends, you will have the dissociative experience for about 20 minutes. Your doctor will be present during the entire process. The dissociative experience wears off after 20 minutes.

Research shows that most patients appear to be asleep during IV infusion. They neither talk, nor move. Most doctors prefer not to interfere unless the patient specifically asks for something or asks where they are.

After ketamine treatment, patients need to undergo talk therapy. Talk therapy is an essential part of depression treatment. During talk therapy, medical practitioners equip you with the relevant skills to handle your depression. It is practical and empowering for most patients. For those with mild depression, talk therapy may be sufficient.

Possible side effects

All drugs have side effects. However, the benefits you will get from using ketamine for depression outweigh the side effects you will experience.

Here are some side effects that you may experience after ketamine infusions:

Usually, dissociation and perception disturbances are noticeable when you get the first infusion but fade away afterward.

Long-term use of ketamine may have additional side effects. Scientists are still researching the issues surrounding ketamine abuse.

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Concerns on using ketamine therapy for depression and addiction treatment

The main problem regarding ketamine therapy is addiction. Ketamine shows a lot of promise in treating mental health conditions and addiction. However, ketamine is a highly addictive narcotic, and addicts can still get high off it.

There is a possibility that patients who undergo ketamine therapy may become dependent on it. Long-term use of ketamine may have long-term effects. Patients may develop tolerance or unidentified side effects.

Another concern is the risk of cross-addiction. Cross addiction refers to instances when an addict develops a second addiction, in this case, ketamine addiction.

There is a need for more studies on ketamine treatment to realize its benefits in addiction and depression treatment.

If you are struggling with an addiction, check out treatment addiction programs that you can enroll in. You can also check our blog for resources on addiction and mental health issues.

Many drugs are available in the market today. When abused, they can have dangerous effects on the user’s health including heart attacks. This article will discuss various white powdered drugs, how they are used, and their effects on users. Let’s dive in.

Cocaine

Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant drug. It is derived from leaves of the coca plant and sold in three forms; crack, cocaine hydrochloride, and freebase.  

Crack cocaine consists of white crystals with a yellow or pink hue. Most times, crack contains impurities. 

Cocaine hydrochloride is an ultra-fine white powder that has a tart, numbing flavor. Most times, vendors cut or mix cocaine powder with other substances, including talcum powder, sugar, or lidocaine, before selling it. 

Freebase is also a white powder, but unlike cocaine hydrochloride, it does not contain impurities.

Most addicts snort cocaine hydrochloride and smoke freebase or crack. Regardless of whether one snorts or smokes cocaine, it has various side effects, including:

If you use cocaine regularly, you can suffer long-term consequences, such as heart disease, lung disease, sexual dysfunction, kidney failure, hypertension, seizures, and lung conditions, among others.

If you want to stop using cocaine, it would be best to seek professional help, especially if you are dependent. Medical practitioners can help you deal with withdrawal symptoms that can sometimes be overwhelming.

Ketamine

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This is a dissociative drug. It affects specific brain chemicals to distort one’s auditory and visual, consequently detaching them from reality. Medical practitioners use doses of ketamine as a sedative. Unfortunately, some people illegally use it to get high.

Ketamine is sold as a white powder. It also goes by the names KitKat, horse trank, special K, and ket. Most people snort ketamine, but others smoke it with tobacco or cannabis. Ketamine can affect one’s senses or coordination for 24 hours.

Ketamine has several negative effects. Some effects of ketamine include:

If you become dependent on ketamine, you can suffer long-term effects like poor memory, poor kidney function, poor liver function, treatment-resistant depression, among others.

Ketamine addiction is a serious problem. If you notice that your dependence on ketamine addiction affects your health, relationships, school, work, or financial capability, you should seek professional help.

Heroin

Heroin is a highly addictive drug made from morphine. It is sold as a white or brown powder and is ‘cut’ with quinine, sugar, powdered milk, or starch.

There are three types of heroin; white heroin, brown heroin, and black tar heroin. 

Cheap heroin contains many impurities, so the more expensive it is, the fewer impurities it is likely to have.

Pure heroin is white. Most drug users smoke or snort pure heroin. The National Institute on Drug Abuse study revealed that snorting appeals to new users since they do not have to inject themselves with the drug. 

Impure heroin is usually dark in color due to the simple methods of processing. Normally, heroin users dilute it and inject it under their skin, in their muscles, or veins. 

Heroin has several effects on the body. The short term effects are:

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Long term effects  include:

When you use heroin, your tolerance may build up. Therefore, you may need frequent or higher doses to achieve the high you want. Heroin addiction is a major problem. It can affect one’s health, social interactions, school, work, and finances, among other things. 

If you decide to stop using heroin, you may have severe withdrawal symptoms. Therefore, it is best to seek help from professionals who will guide you through the process. They may prescribe behavioral therapy and medicine to help you in your journey.

Crushed OxyContin

OxyContin is a prescription drug. It contains oxycodone which is a very strong pain killer. Most people who abuse OxyContin start by taking the prescribed amount. With time, their bodies build tolerance, and they need to take more to feel relieved or get high. 

OxyContin tablets are round and can either be white or blue. Most 10mg pills are white, while the blue ones are 160 mg. You can buy the capsule form of OxyContin or the liquid form.

People suffering from terminal illnesses or battling terminal conditions are more likely to get addicted since most people market it as a painkiller that gives relief for over 12 hours. 

If you use OxyContin regularly, you are likely to become dependent because of its euphoric effects. People who struggle with OxyContin addiction crush OxyContin tablets to form a white powder. They then snort the powder to enhance OxyContin’s euphoric effect. 

Like other drugs, crushed OxyContin can have serious negative effects. Some of the potential effects of abusing OxyContin include:

Crushed Adderall

Adderall is a prescription drug usually prescribed to people who have ADHD. It simulates part of the brain and controls hyperactivity, enabling one to focus more and have more clarity on issues. 

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Some people illegally use Adderall for non-medicinal purposes, e.g., students when they are studying for exams. Since Adderall tablets are white, they crush it to form a white powder and snort it to enhance its effects.

 Unfortunately, Adderall is highly addictive, and its misuse can lead to a substance use disorder. Using crushed Adderall for non-medicinal purposes can have risk factors, including:

GHB

Gamma-hydroxybutyrate, commonly known as GHB, is a popular party drug used in clubs and house parties alike. GHB is sold in three forms; liquid, capsule, or powder. Powdered GHB is white.

GHB is a depressant for the nervous system. When you use it, it slows your heart rate and makes you feel drowsy. It can also make a user go into a coma.

Most addicts use GHB because of its euphoric effect. Some use it as a date rape drug. They slip the GHB into their victims’ drinks, and when it kicks in, they sexually assault them. Other common date rape drugs are flunitrazepam, alcohol, and ketamine.

Like other drugs, GHB has negative long-term effects. Some of them are:

Conclusion

If you struggle with addiction to any white powdered drug, you should seek medical help and treatment. The more you continue abusing drugs, the more adverse their effects will be.

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