How Matthew Perry died: Everything you need to know about Ketamine withdrawal

A syringe of ketamine. This is what people go into ketamine withdrawal from.

By now, we’ve all heard the news. Matthew Perry has died of a Ketamine overdose. The first of the “Friends” that captured the hearts and laughs of tens of millions in the 90s has passed. It’s a tragedy made even more tragic because it was so preventable. Matthew Perry was only 54 when he passed. But Ketamine, and drugs like it, can take lives at any age. That’s why it’s so important to understand the answers to questions like: “What is Ketamine”; “What is Ketamine Therapy”; “What is Ketamine Withdrawal”; and “How can you overdose on Ketamine”? Understanding the answers to these questions, and understanding the dangers of Ketamine, is one of the best ways to honor Perry’s legacy: by supporting people everywhere who struggle with drug use disorder. 

What is Ketamine?

Since it was first synthesized and patented in the 1960s, Ketamine has been prescribed and used as a powerful analgesic and even a surgical anesthetic. As a drug, Ketamine works by blocking NMDA receptors in the brain. This affects the way that the brain processes perception, sensation, and consciousness. As we’ve discussed above, these properties make it extremely useful when prescribed as a painkiller and a general anesthetic. These properties also make it extremely easy to abuse. 

What is Ketamine abuse

While ketamine has legitimate medical uses as an anesthetic and for certain mental health conditions, it is also misused for its dissociative and hallucinogenic effects. Sadly, people like Matthew Perry, who die from Ketamine overdoses, often die because they’re misusing Ketamine. It’s not clear if this was true in Matthew Perry’s case, but his case should be an instructive one for anyone who isn’t sure how dangerous Ketamine abuse can be. 

What is Ketamine Withdrawal?

Because Ketamine is an addictive substance, going without ketamine or substantially reducing one’s regular use of Ketamine has the potential to precipitate ketamine withdrawal. Ketamine withdrawal refers to the collection of physical and psychological symptoms that can occur when someone who has been using ketamine regularly or in high doses suddenly stops or significantly reduces their intake of the drug. Withdrawal symptoms can vary in intensity and duration depending on factors like the individual’s usage patterns, the duration of ketamine use, and the dosage. The symptoms themselves aren’t nearly as important as how effective detox treatment can be in mitigating ketamine withdrawal in people who suffer from it. 

A syringe of ketamine that ketamine therapy is administered with. This is what people going into Ketamine Withdrawal from.
Ketamine is very serious and very dangerous if misused

Ketamine Withdrawal Symptoms

While ketamine is not as addictive as some other substances, dependence and tolerance can develop with regular use. This can lead to withdrawal symptoms when its use is discontinued. Ketamine withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Psychological symptoms (such as):
    • Anxiety
    • Depression
    • Mood swings
    • Irritability
    • Difficulty concentrating
    • Cravings for ketamine
    • Disorientation or confusion
  • Physical symptoms (such as):
    • Sweating
    • Rapid heartbeat
    • Tremors or shakiness
    • Fatigue
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Headaches
    • Muscle stiffness or pain

It’s important to note that the severity and duration of ketamine withdrawal symptoms can vary significantly from person to person. Some individuals may experience mild symptoms that dissipate relatively quickly, while others may face more intense and prolonged effects.

What is a Ketamine Overdose

A Ketamine overdose occurs when an individual consumes or is exposed to an excessive amount of ketamine. One that surpasses the body’s ability to metabolize and process the drug safely. Overdoses can have varying degrees of severity, from mild to life-threatening, depending on the amount of ketamine taken and individual factors.

Ketamine overdoses can be dangerous and require immediate medical attention. If someone exhibits signs of a ketamine overdose or if there is suspicion of an overdose, it is crucial to seek emergency medical help immediately. But you should never let it get that far. If you suspect that someone is going down a path that will end with a ketamine overdose, you should get them help immediately. 

What is Ketamine Therapy

Ketamine is not just a series of ketamine overdose and ketamine withdrawal. Ketamine therapy involves the therapeutic use of ketamine, typically in a controlled and supervised clinical setting, to treat certain mental health conditions or chronic pain that haven’t responded well to conventional treatments.

There are primarily two forms of ketamine therapy:

  • Ketamine for Treatment-Resistant Depression (TRD): Ketamine has gained attention for its rapid-acting antidepressant effects, especially in cases of treatment-resistant depression where traditional antidepressants have been ineffective. In this context, ketamine is administered in lower doses, often intravenously (IV), but it can also be given through other routes such as intramuscular injections, nasal sprays, or oral tablets. Ketamine infusions for depression are usually given over several sessions under medical supervision.
  • Ketamine for Chronic Pain Management: Ketamine has also been explored for its analgesic properties, particularly in managing chronic pain conditions, including neuropathic pain or pain that hasn’t responded well to other treatments. Similar to its use in depression, ketamine might be administered in lower doses through various routes to alleviate pain symptoms.

Ketamine therapy has lots of appropriate and helpful uses. But even though it can be helpful, that doesn’t mean that it can’t be abused. And if you’re struggling with ketamine use, it’s important to get help. Even if it’s been beneficial to you in other ways. If you’re struggling with dependency, it’s important to get help. Before it is too late. A ketamine overdose from inappropriately monitored ketamine therapy can be fatal.

If you’re suffering from Ketamine withdrawal or ketamine abuse; if you’re afraid that your ketamine therapy has led to Ketamine abuse or a Ketamine Overdose, it’s time to get help now! 

Matthew Perry’s death was tragic. There’s no getting around it. And to the millions of fans who grieve him, to say nothing of his friends and family who will miss him forever, there is no consolation. But every death from Ketamine use that can be avoided is a victory that can honor the life that it’s sad that Matthew Perry was not able to go on living. Better Tomorrow Treatment Center’s modern, evidence-based addiction care is designed to foster the personal growth needed to sustain a lifetime of recovery. Find the insight and strength required for the rewarding sober lifestyle your or your loved one deserves. If you or a loved one wants to start their recovery journey, with drug treatment in West Palm Beach, Florida, please contact us at (888) 653-1149, or head over to our website and scroll down to the bottom of the page and fill out our 100% confidential information form and a compassionate member of our team will reach out to you.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *