Ketamine Addiction

What is Ketamine?

Ketamine is a powerful psychoactive substance. It is known as a dissociative anaesthetic drug, and when consumed produces dissociative and hallucinogenic effects in the user. Medically, it is sometimes administered for the treatment of pain and depression due to its anaesthetic properties, though administration is often a last resort, in cases of emergency or when patients do not respond well to other forms of treatment. It is also used in veterinary practices.

Ketamine is a popular recreational drug of choice, as consumption results in hallucination, tranquility, and dissociation. Though it has been approved for medicinal purposes, ketamine has a high potential for abuse when used recreationally. It is not recommended for use outside of medical purposes.

There are a number of slang terms for ketamine, such as Ket, K, Jet, Cat, and Special K.

Is Ketamine addictive?

Ketamine is a dissociative drug, and like all dissociatives, it’s potential for psychological dependence is high. The euphoric, hallucinatory qualities of a ketamine high are the appeal for many users. Those who use recreationally often binge, and combine it with intake of other common party drugs such as alcohol, cannabis, ecstasy, and benzodiazepines. Bingeing or repeated, frequent use is a leading factor in the development of dependence, with addiction soon to follow.

Addiction to ketamine can significantly negatively impact a person’s quality of life. Like all addictions, ketamine addiction can result in social and family withdrawal, neglect of personal responsibilities and hygiene, prioritising consumption over other more important aspects of daily life, and issues with law enforcement.

If you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction to ketamine, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Substance use disorder is a progressive condition, meaning the earlier that treatment is sought, the more effective it is. Brazos Recovery Services can offer a full assessment, withdrawal management, and residential or outpatient treatment for those affected by ketamine addiction.

What are the effects of Ketamine?

Depending on an individual’s size and health status, their relationship with the drug, and how much has been taken, the effects of ketamine can vary in intensity. General effects of recreational ketamine consumption include feelings of happiness and relaxation, hallucinations, dissociation from the body, confusion, slurred speech, impaired motor function, increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, anxiety, panic attacks, and vomiting.

Recreational use of ketamine is not recommended. As with any substance, there is a risk of developing a psychological dependence, which can lead to addiction. One’s proneness to developing a dependence varies between individuals, to a greater or lesser degree depending on certain environmental and genetic factors, or pre-existing psychological health conditions.

In larger doses, chances of overdose are high. It’s important to be aware of the signs of overdose in case you see someone who appears to be in trouble. Be mindful of rigid muscles and a complete inability to move, convulsions, coma, and a high body temperature, as these can all indicate an overdose. In the case of overdose, call an ambulance immediately, as time is of the essence.

In the short-term, negative effects of ketamine occur during the come down and can persist throughout the following day. Such effects include loss of memory, body aches and pains, depression, disorientation and confusion, and clumsiness.

In the long-term, the effects of recreational ketamine use are much more destructive. It can lead to headaches, depression, changes in personality, work and social problems, flashbacks, poor concentration and memory, and a dependence on ketamine.

Residential and Outpatient Treatment for Ketamine Addiction

Ketamine addiction treatment for men is available at Brazos Recovery Services. We understand that addiction is a progressive and complex condition, and requires more than cessation of use for recovery to be successful. Following an initial patient assessment, our team of highly skilled counsellors, therapists, psychologists and medical staff can tailor a treatment program that addresses not only your general needs in recovery but also your unique, individual needs as a person. We believe that for any addiction treatment to be effective, it needs to be a collaborative approach between therapists and patients. We dig deep into any potential underlying conditions in patients to find the psychological roots of their addictive tendencies, and orient treatment around the most suitable and effective path to recovery.

At Brazos Recovery Services, patients can benefit from residential or outpatient therapy. While residential treatment is recommended for more severe addictions, outpatient treatment can also be effective and allows patients to continue with other responsibilities and commitments.

A typical treatment program, which may be extended if needed, removes the patient from the environment in which their addiction developed, decreasing the chance of relapse.

Throughout treatment patients will benefit from both one-to-one therapy and group therapy for substance use disorder, with a strong recovery support group made up of other men with similar difficulties.

Be mindful that recovery does not happen on a fixed time schedule. The process takes time, and varies between individuals. Though a typical residential treatment program could last weeks or months, the actual recovery process can take years. Though it may seem daunting, patients will learn effective tools for self-management in therapy, which can be used long after primary treatment has been completed. It is highly recommended that patients continue with recovery support groups as these are some of the greatest motivators of successful recovery.

Symptoms of Ketamine Withdrawal

Ketamine tolerance builds quickly, meaning a user will need to take a higher dose at more frequent intervals to achieve the desired effects. It produces an inhibitory effect on neurotransmitter uptake, which include chemicals like serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine. Frequent use results in the presence of withdrawal symptoms when use is discontinued. As a result of ketamine withdrawal, a person can experience a condition known as excitotoxicity, in which nerve cells are severely damaged. This damage is often permanent, which highlights the importance of proper public education on the harmful effects of ketamine and other dissociative drugs.

Aside from excitotoxicity, ketamine withdrawal symptoms can include feelings of depression and anxiety, impaired motor skills, problems with vision, heart and breathing issues, and insomnia.

Withdrawal from ketamine is undeniably difficult, but professional help is readily available. At Brazos Recovery Services, we treat men struggling with ketamine addiction by assisting and guiding them through the detox and withdrawal process, which, while troubling, is vital for successful recovery.

Following a physical and psychological health assessment, patients are medically supervised and guided through this difficult phase of addiction recovery with the help of our caring and diligent health care staff.