Treatment

The most dangerous effects of ketamine are behavioral. Individuals may become withdrawn, paranoid, and physically sloppy. In the event of dealing with an individual who is intoxicated on ketamine, the physician must treat the individual symptomatically. Calm reassurance and a low-stimulation environment are usually most helpful. The patient should be placed in a part of the clinic or emergency room with the least amount of light and stimulation. If necessary, the patient may be given benzodiazepines to control the associated anxiety (Graeme, 2000). Neuroleptics should be avoided, because the side-effect profile may cause discomfort and possibly exacerbate the patient's agitated state.

Ketamine is an addictive drug. There are numerous reports of individuals who have become dependent on the drug and use it daily (Galloway et al., 1997; Jansen, 1990). Such dependence should be treated in the same manner as any other chemical dependence. The clinician should do a careful evaluation in order to discern other psychological conditions. These should be dealt with in the most clinically expeditious manner.

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