She used to make headlines as an it girl, today Ariane Sommer is a healthcare entrepreneur. In the USA, she administers ketamine to traumatized patients – a drug that is a party drug in this country. We explain why it is so dangerous.
She is considered the It Girl of the 2000s. Ariane Sommer caused a stir throughout Germany in her 20s. Today the model, who now lives in Los Angeles, earns her money with a very special therapy: she treats patients with ketamine – a drug that is abused as a party drug in this country.
The 45-year-old recently opened the so-called “Gateway” clinic with her husband, a US entrepreneur, as reported by “Bild”. Here she offers treatments with ketamine, which are said to relieve patients from anxiety and panic attacks and to cure depression.
As the model of “Bild” says, she herself has had positive experiences with it. “My anxiety levels have been zero ever since,” she explains. “Ketamine freed me from lifelong anxiety and panic attacks. It has helped me incredibly. Ketamine was life-changing for me.” She now uses the drug herself to treat patients, including those who have experienced deep trauma. They would then have “the will to live and zest for life again,” says Sommer. But as nice as all this may sound – ketamine is by no means harmless.
The substance is approved as an anesthetic in the USA and also in Germany. It can greatly reduce the sensation of pain and cause unconsciousness. In this country, however, it is mainly administered to animals, as the Federal Center for Health Education (BzgA) writes.
“After waking up from the ketamine anesthetic, patients experience hallucinations, are disoriented or have delusions.” Due to these side effects, the use of ketamine is usually limited to emergency medicine and mostly to the combination with other agents.
Ketamine was once one of the main anesthetics used by US soldiers during the Vietnam War. Today it is used in particular in countries and situations in which the necessary technical equipment for other types of anesthesia is not available. The World Health Organization (WHO) therefore has ketamine on the list of essential medicines.
But ketamine is not only used as a medicine. Precisely because of its hallucinogenic properties, the drug is also abused in this country as an intoxicating drug. On the illegal market, it is traded under the names “Special K”, “Vitamin K”, “Kate” or “K”. It is gaining popularity in Europe, according to the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction’s ‘Drugs Report 2021’.
How and how fast ketamine works depends on the dosage and the form of consumption. If the agent is injected, a five to ten minute anesthetic occurs within 30 seconds. In the case of the so-called “sniffing”, the cold, the effect only occurs after a few minutes and lasts one to two hours, as the BzgA explains.
The BzgA warns above all of acute psychological and physical risks.
According to the BzgA, the strong change in consciousness caused by ketamine can have various psychological consequences. Approximately
“In medical applications, the drug is considered comparatively safe,” wrote the BzgA. However, uncontrolled consumption in particular could have consequences. Approximately
In addition, the BzgA warns against mixed consumption together with alcohol or other drugs. This could “affect the respiratory center, which can lead to life-threatening conditions”.
But long-term use of ketamine can also be dangerous. The BzgA also warns
Since ketamine puts a particular strain on the cardiovascular system, people with heart problems and high blood pressure are particularly at risk of heart attacks and strokes.
Ex-It-Girl Ariane Sommer offers infusions, i.e. injections with the drug, in her practice. As she told the “Bild”, the ketamine she administers is prescribed by doctors, and a nurse also monitors the process. Patients do not have to worry about the side effects mentioned above, she explained.