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  • Writer's pictureLogan MacLean

Ketamine Infusions - FAQs - Part 3

Updated: Aug 3, 2023

Ketamine Infusions - FAQs - Part 3

Is ketamine addictive?

Of all the concerns of ketamine infusions this may be the most common, and it is certainly understandable why. Ketamine has been available since the 1970s and has a very public history of recreational use and being a “party drug.”

Here are a few important facts to consider regarding ketamine:

- Recreational use (self-administered, unsupervised, unmonitored, high dose, rapid administration, frequent usage) of ketamine, like most controlled medications commonly used in medicine, increases the risk of dependence and addiction.

- The risk of developing dependence (tolerance and physical symptoms of withdrawal) to ketamine is less than caffeine, alcohol, marijuana, or morphine.

- In the clinical environment, ketamine is a highly respected medication and has a long history of use for both adults and children, in the operating room environment, and on the battlefield by medics.

- The risk of addiction for ketamine is extremely unlikely when infused in the appropriate environment under the watchful care of a qualified provider monitoring the patient as well as the medication dosage, frequency, and method of administration.

To this end, it is important to receive ketamine infusions from a provider who is knowledgeable about ketamine and partners with your mental health team.

Can I develop a tolerance to ketamine?

Tolerance is not the same thing as addiction. Tolerance is when someone no longer responds to a medication in the way that they first did. This means that a higher dose must be given to achieve the same desired effect as when the medication was first used.

Some people can develop a tolerance to ketamine. For people receiving ketamine infusions for many years, ketamine’s positive effects become minimized. There are several guiding principles we use to decrease the likelihood of developing tolerance quickly to ketamine. First, we find the lowest effective dose that works for you. Second, after the initial 6 infusions, we spread infusions out as far as possible without losing the effectiveness of them. We also attempt to decrease any other medications you are taking that may decrease the effectiveness of ketamine.

Is there a stigma around ketamine regarding abuse?

As Christians, we should be aware of what we are putting into our bodies. Our actions in this area will work for either its benefit or harm. The body is not a temporary piece of flesh to be treated with carelessness, but a temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19–20). Because of this, we should be aware of the addictive potential of the food and medicine we consume.

It is true that ketamine has been used on the street as a drug of abuse. This, however, does not inherently disqualify it from the Christian’s use. Consider the following:

- We as fallen creatures often take many of God’s good gifts and use these gifts in ways that do not glorify God. We see examples of this daily when we look at pain medication, alcohol, or even caffeine.

- Accepting a good gift from God and stewarding it appropriately is glorifying to Him.

- Every good gift, although given to all people, is ultimately meant for the Bride of Christ, the Church.

The history of abuse of ketamine speaks to the consequences of a wrongful action, not an inherently evil medication. Its history should urge us to be more wise and vigilant in our stewardship of it.

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