Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic that was first developed in the 1960s. It is primarily used in medical settings for anesthesia induction and maintenance during surgical procedures. Ketamine is known for its ability to induce a trance-like state and provide pain relief while preserving respiratory function and blood pressure stability, making it particularly useful in emergency and pediatric settings.
In addition to its anesthetic properties, ketamine has gained attention for its off-label use in the field of psychiatry. It has been found to have rapid-acting antidepressant effects and has been used in the treatment of treatment-resistant depression and certain mood disorders. The exact mechanism of its antidepressant action is not fully understood but it is thought to involve the modulation of glutamate, a neurotransmitter in the brain.
Ketamine is classified as a dissociative anesthetic because it can induce a sense of detachment from one’s surroundings and a distortion of perception. This dissociative state can result in hallucinations, out-of-body experiences, and a feeling of being disconnected from reality. These effects are temporary and typically last for a short duration, as ketamine is rapidly metabolized by the body.
Recreational use of ketamine has also been reported, primarily due to its dissociative and hallucinogenic effects. Illicit use of ketamine can have various health risks and is associated with potential adverse effects, including confusion, memory loss, increased heart rate, high blood pressure, and potential bladder and kidney problems with long-term use.
It’s important to note that the use of ketamine for recreational purposes or off-label psychiatric treatments should only be done under the supervision of a medical professional, as improper use can lead to serious health complications.