Dangers of Mixing Ketamine and Alcohol

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Every drug ingested recreationally will produce different long-term and short-term physical, emotional, and mental effects on the user. These side effects are usually unpleasant, causing internal damage slowly over time. Sometimes, the result of mixing two substances may be very different than the individual side effects of each. In this article, we will discover how ketamine and alcohol create a lethal combination. The ramifications of ingesting the mixture are usually fatal, causing extreme adverse long-term damage to the body, and very often ending in an overdose.

What is Ketamine?

Ketamine is a dissociative drug used during medical procedures as an anesthetic. As a sedative drug it is also used to treat chronic or very acute pain, and even sometimes to treat depression when all other treatment methods fail. Unfortunately, Ketamine is also used recreationally so users can enjoy its hallucinogenic effects, which make a person feel disassociated from reality and on a ‘high’. It is usually injected but can be consumed in a liquid or pill form too.

The feelings of euphoria and distortion from reality are very pleasurable to users. Ketamine triggers the hormones in the brain that cause a person to feel reward and pleasure, spurring the person to want to continue consuming the drug to release the hormones again. In other words, ketamine is addictive. With time, like with many other drugs, the body develops a tolerance to ketamine, necessitating an increased dosage to feel the same enjoyable effects as previously. This is also known as dependency on the drug.

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Side-Effects of Ketamine

As mentioned above, ketamine is a powerful dissociative drug that causes the user to feel separated from reality. This makes the drug great for surgeries, where it is used as an anesthesia. Similarly, using Ketamine recreationally causes the user to feel dream-like, chilled, relaxed, and euphoric. However, misusing ketamine can cause a person to enter the ‘k-hole’ [1], where they feel detached from their body and are unable to move their limbs for an extended period of time. Users may also hallucinate, have a warped perception of time and space, and lose their ability to feel pain, increasing the likelihood of harming themselves.

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Combining Ketamine and Alcohol

Alcohol has different but complementary properties to ketamine, so when alcohol and ketamine are combined, the negative side effects of each substance are enhanced and magnified. Alcohol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant, which means that alcohol slows down the internal organs, including the heart. On the other hand, ketamine is a dissociative sedative drug, and its physiological effects on the body are doubled with alcohol.

The ketamine and alcohol interaction can mask the effects of the alcohol on the body, leading to complete intoxication, or it can hide the effects of the ketamine, causing a drug overdose. The ketamine-alcohol combination can be destructive to your internal organs and have irreversible, devastating results. As an example, using ketamine while drinking alcohol can cause permanent damage to the urinary tract, with issues such as increased urinary frequency, blood in the urine, abdominal pain, and other problems. It can also cause memory loss, slowed breathing, a coma, and even death in users.

Overdose Due to Ketamine and Alcohol

If you have a friend or close family member who is struggling with an addiction to both alcohol and ketamine, it’s important to recognize the signs of an overdose. If you know that someone consumed both substances at the same time, stay with that person and watch out for the typical signs of overdose.

Quickly call for emergency services if you identify any of these overdose behaviors, and you may just save their lives:

·       Drowsiness

·       Hallucinations

·       Confusion

·       Unconsciousness

·       Slow breathing

·       Seizures

·       Vomiting

·       Irregular/rapid heartbeat

·       Chess pain

·       Lack of coordination

·       Clammy, pale skin

·       Low body temperature


If you notice these symptoms, call 911 immediately and try to find out how much ketamine and alcohol the person consumed and when. Additionally, monitor their vital signs and perform CPR [2] if you know how. When emergency personnel arrive, let them know that the patient has been using ketamine with alcohol, providing as much detail about the incident as you can.

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Ketamine and Alcohol Treatment

Overdosing on ketamine and alcohol is tough. Addiction is tough. Living with addiction isn’t easy, but the route toward a sober life may feel unreachable and just too hard. Being addicted to more than one substance can lead the person struggling with addiction to feel despair that they will never be able to live a drug/alcohol-free life again. But, we can tell you that with enough willpower and the right support, you CAN overcome your addictions, one day at a time. At Avenues Recovery, our goal is to help every patient reclaim their lives through therapies, support groups, and more, leading to long-term sobriety. As leaders in addiction rehabilitation, we will design an individual treatment program to best suit your needs. Reach out and start your journey to recovery today, with the help of Avenues Recovery’s caring, sensitive, highly-trained professionals.

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[1] en.wikipedia.org

[2] mayoclinic.org

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