What Is a K-Hole?
‘Falling into a k-hole’ is slang for the experience of using a high enough dose of ketamine to lose control of your awareness and surroundings— hallucinating in a state of oblivion, compared to an out-of-body experience, while sometimes being unable to move or speak.
What Is Ketamine?
Ketamine is a dissociative drug. It has been used as an anesthetic in animals and humans since 1970 and recently to treat depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Dissociative drugs cause users to feel detached from reality. The dissociative state becomes more intense at high doses of ketamine, leaving users in a state of hallucination with difficulty moving and speaking.
Ketamine is commonly used as a party drug with other substances, such as alcohol, MDMA, cocaine, amphetamines, and caffeine. Along with GHB, ketamine is used as a ‘date-rape drug’ because of its pain-killing effects and ability to leave the victim with severe memory loss. It is also odorless and tasteless, making it easy to add to drinks unknowingly.
Street Names for Ketamine
Slang terms for ketamine include:
- Special K
- Super K
- Vitamin K
- Super C
Effects of Ketamine
Ketamine inhibits the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors in our brain that control our senses, memory, behaviors, and emotions. When taken in low doses, it produces feelings of joy and inhibition, a phase that recreational users call ‘k-land.’ Though, in high quantities, users can ‘fall into a k-hole,’ associated with hallucinations and out-of-body experiences.
The dissociative state is related to its appeal as a recreational drug with effects including:
- Sensations of floating
- Visual hallucinations or illusions
- “Melting into the surroundings”
- Distorted sense of time and space
- Altered mood and body awareness
- Distorted sense and perception
The most common short-term side effects include:
- Increased heart rate
- High blood pressure
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle stiffness
- Impaired memory and cognitive function
- Visual hallucinations
- Double vision
Persistent long-term side effects of frequent ketamine use include:
- Bladder problems such as urinary tract sumptoms and frequent urination
- Cognitive issues such as symptoms of schizophrenia and severely impaired working memory and attention span
- Kidney damage
What Is a K-Hole?
Ketamine evolved from medical use as general anesthesia into a recreational drug with a primary aim to experience a k-hole. Although there is no precise dose of how much ketamine to k-hole, at a sufficiently high dose, you enter a k-hole.
When you fall into a k-hole, your awareness of self, surroundings, and interactions with others is severely impaired. It is described as a separation of the conscious from your physical self. The feeling of mind-body dissociation describes the out-of-body or near-death experiences that are subjective effects of the k-hole state.
The K-Hole Experience
A study published by the University of Cambridge measured the brain waves of twelve sheep sedated by ketamine. Six of the sheep were administered higher doses of ketamine.
Five of the six sheep given the highest doses experienced complete cessation of cortical activity within two minutes, which means their brain activity stopped entirely. This lasted several minutes, after which the sheep’s brains were functioning as though it had never happened.
Researchers explained it as “something that has never been seen before.” They believe this pause in brain activity explains the k-hole state that is the desired result sought after by many ketamine users.
Ketamine for Depression
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) found that ketamine has a significant antidepressant effect. It has shown promise in patients with major depressive mood disorder that suffer from treatment-resistant depression (TRD), alleviating symptoms within hours.
In a particular study on ten United States soldiers, one dose of ketamine through IV dramatically reduced their feelings of helplessness and thoughts of suicide.
Although many patients suffering from depression and PTSD began to report hallucinations during ketamine infusions and the antidepressant effect of the drug typically only lasted about one to two weeks. In addition, chronic use was proven to cause mental health issues, including depression. And ketamine has an addiction and misuse potential, raising concern about ketamine as a long-term therapy option for depression.
Common dissociative drugs, ketamine, PCP, and DXM, are highly hazardous with adverse effects and intense addiction potential. Because ketamine is a ‘club drug,’ it is typically used in combination with another substance, making it particularly dangerous. If used with another central nervous system depressant like alcohol, it can result in death by slowing down breathing until it stops.
If you or a loved one is suffering from ketamine addiction, getting medical advice from a professional who can recommend an appropriate level of treatment is the first step.
Northridge Addiction Treatment Center’s residential treatment program can provide you the needed foundation to break the cycle of addiction and empower you to achieve meaningful recovery. AT NATC, we specialize in treating repressed trauma that can fuel drug addiction. Our goal is to heal residents holistically, addressing and managing self-defeating thoughts before they manifest into feelings.
Allow us to help you find newfound strength in your path to recovery with NATC. Our specialists are eager and available to answer any questions you may have. Reach out today for more information.
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