What happens if you use ketamine often?
Using ketamine long-term can have impacts on both your body and your mind. The severity of these impacts depends on how much you use, how long you use for, and your individual body and health. For people using low doses of ketamine for medical purposes, the long-term effects are likely to be less severe, but there is limited research on this.
Long-term use of ketamine can cause physical problems. The main issue is the impact it has on the bladder which includes inflammation and troubles with peeing. In bad cases, it can cause ulcerative cystitis. This is a painful condition where the bladder is damaged and causes pain, bleeding, ulcers in the pelvis and bladder failure. Around 1 in 3 people who use ketamine long-term will have problems with how much their bladder can hold. Long-term ketamine use can also cause kidney problems from a back-up of urine in the bladder which in bad cases, leads to kidney failure.
Ketamine can also cause physical problems with the liver, gastric system (like vomiting and reflux) and heart problems. Ketamine can be addictive, and although it is not as severe as other drugs like meth, people that stop using can experience withdrawal symptoms.
Ketamine can also have effects on your brain, especially your memory. Regular ketamine use can cause memory loss, trouble remembering new things, trouble paying attention and reduced spatial awareness. Some of these problems can go away when you stop using ketamine, but others may be more permanent. Some people who use ketamine long-term may experience mental health effects, such as mood swings, paranoia and in some cases, psychosis. As with other hallucinogenic drugs like mushrooms and LSD, ketamine can cause hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD), which causes people to have ‘flashbacks’ at random times after using the drug.
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