Five Myths You’ve Probably Heard About Ketamine – Debunked
Just like taylor swift, ketamine has a big reputation. So, we’re separating fact from fiction.
Myth 1: Ketamine is a horse tranquilizer.
This statement is only partially true. Ketamine was developed in 1962 to be used in both humans and animals for anesthesia. It is not the only medication to be used across species. In fact, thyroid medication, antihistamines, indigestion medicine, certain supplements, and many antibiotics are commonly used by both humans and certain animals. So while it’s true that ketamine is widely used in veterinary medicine, it is equally true that it has been used safely and extensively in humans for over 50 years.
Myth 2: Ketamine makes you psychotic.
Another twist on the truth. Ketamine will not cause psychosis (detachment from reality with delusions and distortions of thought) in someone who doesn’t have a prior history of a psychotic disorder, like schizophrenia. However, it does induce a dream-like state where the body experiences sensations differently. These changes in perception are temporary and terminate shortly after the conclusion of the infusion. Moral of the story? Ketamine doesn’t cause mental illness.
Myth 3: ketamine is only a party drug.
Many people have heard of ketamine as a party drug. Commonly known as “Special K” or “Vitamin K”, the experience itself is referred to as a “K-hole.” This type of use is illegal. Ketamine is considered a Schedule III drug by the federal government and is closely regulated by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). The use of ketamine under the supervision of a medical professional is medically appropriate, therapeutic, and 100% legal.
Myth 4: ketamine is highly addictive.
Ketamine does not cause physical dependence. However, some people like how it makes them feel, and want to continue using it–which is known as psychological dependence. When abused, often at doses up to ten times higher than the prescriptive dose, it raises the risk of becoming addictive. However, in the supervised medical setting there are no reported cases of addiction.
Compare ketamine’s low addiction potential to other known substances. That’s right, ketamine is less addictive than your morning cup from Starbucks.
Myth 5: once I use ketamine, I won’t need mental health care or antidepressants ever again.
Ketamine is an incredibly powerful and effective tool in the treatment of mood disorders like depression and PTSD, but it is not a permanent cure. While there are people who have months of remission of symptoms after only one or two infusions, these people are in the minority. Most people will need repeated infusions over time, and continue to benefit from working with a mental health professional. Never stop or change your current medication without consulting your mental health provider.
For more information on ketamine for mood disorders or pain, please check out our comprehensive Ketamine Guide.