K-Hole | Meaning, Experiences, & Effects
Ketamine, also called ket or special K, is an anesthetic drug with hallucinogenic and dissociative effects. It’s usually used for sedation and pain relief, though it’s also shown promise as an antidepressant nasal spray for treatment-resistant depression.
Common side effects of ketamine include dizziness, blurred vision, and nausea.
Many people use ketamine as a recreational drug, specifically a “party drug” at clubs and raves. When you use the drug in a manner not prescribed by a doctor, you could become addicted to it. You may also experience a ketamine hole, also known as a k-hole.
What Is A K-Hole?
A k-hole is a dissociative state that can occur when you take high doses of ketamine. In most cases, the experience starts within 1 minute if you injected the drug, within 10 minutes if you snorted it, and within 20 minutes if you ingested it in pill form.
What Does A K-Hole Feel Like?
The specific experience of a k-hole depends on factors such as dosage, how you ingested the drug, and whether you mixed the drug with other substances.
Most people describe a k-hole as a state of intense dissociation or an out-of-body experience in which you can’t respond to people or objects in your environment.
Some individuals find this experience neutral or pleasant. They may feel like they’re dreaming, “melting” into their surroundings or teleporting to another place.
Others describe a k-hole as a frightening, near-death experience. They might say it’s similar to a bad “trip” on another hallucinogen, such as LSD or psilocybin mushrooms.
A k-hole can cause distressing side effects such as:
- intense panic
- extreme dizziness
- trouble walking
- numbness and inability to move or speak
- hallucinations (seeing, hearing, or feeling things that aren’t there)
- nausea and/or vomiting
- short-term memory loss
- agitation, which may lead to violent behavior
Typically, a k-hole lasts about 45 to 90 minutes. However, some people feel the effects for several hours or days.
Effects Of A K-Hole
A k-hole poses many health risks. For example, if you have trouble walking, you might fall or slip and get a serious injury. Similarly, if you have nausea but can’t move, you could choke on your vomit.
In addition, if you can’t move or speak, you may face a higher risk of sexual assault. In fact, ketamine is often called a “date rape drug” because some sexual predators use it to sedate victims before assaulting them.
Once a k-hole is over, you may have flashbacks to the experience for months or even years. A flashback makes you feel like you’re reliving the k-hole.
Flashbacks can also occur with other psychedelic and dissociative drugs, including LSD, MDMA (ecstasy or molly), and phencyclidine (PCP). Many people find flashbacks frightening and disruptive to their daily lives.
Other health problems that can result from k-holes or using ketamine in high doses include:
- long-term memory issues
- kidney or liver failure
- slow heart rate or breathing
- tolerance, which means you need increasingly higher doses of ketamine to feel the desired effects
- physical dependence, which means you experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when you stop using ketamine
- ketamine addiction, which is a disease that makes you feel unable to control your ketamine use and requires professional treatment
Signs Of A Ketamine Overdose
A k-hole also increases your risk of a ketamine overdose. The most common signs of overdose include:
- chest pain
- high blood pressure
- irregular heartbeat
- slowed breathing
- loss of consciousness
Seek emergency medical advice if you or someone you know experiences these symptoms. A ketamine overdose can be fatal when left untreated.
If you or someone you love struggles with ketamine use, please reach out to an Ark Behavioral Health specialist. Our substance abuse and addiction treatment services include mental health care, medical detox, family therapy, support groups, and more.
Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
©2023 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
This page does not provide medical advice.
National Institute on Drug Abuse - What Are the Effects of Common Dissociative Drugs on the Brain and Body?
United States Drug Enforcement Administration - Ketamine
United States National Library of Medicine - Ketamine for chronic pain: risks and benefits
Questions About Treatment?
Ark Behavioral Health offers 100% confidential substance abuse assessment and treatment placement tailored to your individual needs. Achieve long-term recovery.
100% confidential. We respect your privacy.
We've got you covered.
Receive 24/7 text support right away.
There is no obligation and you can opt out at any time.