Ketamine Users Have High Rates of Psychosis and/or Depression

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Ketamine has been linked to psychosis and used in the treatment of depression. However, no study has examined the prevalence of psychotic and depressive disorders in dependent ketamine users. This study aimed to examine the frequency of various psychopathologies among a series of patients seeking treatment for ketamine use in Hong Kong, China. The case records of 129 patients with a history of ketamine use receiving treatment at three substance use clinics between January 2008 and August 2012 were retrieved for data collection. Patients’ demographic data, patterns of substance misuse, and comorbid psychiatric diagnoses were recorded and entered into analyses. The mean age of onset and length of ketamine use were 17.7 ± 4.4 and 8.7 ± 5.7 years, respectively. All patients were dependent on ketamine at the time of data collection. Multiple substance misuse was common. Eighty-four of the 129 (65.1%) patients were found to have comorbid psychiatric disorders, most commonly substance-induced psychotic disorder (31.8%) followed by depressive disorder (27.9%). Psychosis and/or depression were common in ketamine-dependent patients referred to a psychiatric substance use clinic. The findings provide evidence of an association between chronic ketamine use and the presence of psychosis and/or depression. The results raise the issue of safety when using ketamine in the long-term treatment of depression.

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