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How Addictive is Ketamine?

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Nicholas Conn

Nicholas Conn is a leading industry addiction expert who runs the UK’s largest addiction advisory service and is regularly featured in the national press, radio and TV.

How Addictive is Ketamine?

Ketamine was once primarily known as a dissociative anaesthetic used in medical settings. However, the drug has become more popular among recreational users in recent years.

More and more people are misusing ketamine for its sedative effects - but can you get addicted to ketamine? How addictive is Ketamine?

That’s what we’ll be exploring in this blog post. Read on to learn more about ketamine addiction, and how you can overcome it. We’ll also be discussing whether ketamine can be used to treat alcohol withdrawal.

What Are The Effects of Ketamine?

Ketamine can have various effects on your body and mind. When you use the drug recreationally or in higher doses, it can lead to a range of experiences. These experiences can be both positive and negative.

On the positive side, ketamine users may feel a sense of euphoria, detachment from reality, and distorted perceptions of time and space. Some describe a feeling of a trance-like state and floating or out-of-body experiences, as well as memory loss.

These effects are why ketamine is sometimes used recreationally, and why it is considered a date rape drug.

However, there are potential risks and negative effects. Ketamine can cause short-lived confusion, dizziness, and impaired coordination.

In higher doses, it may lead to hallucinations, vivid dreams, or even a "K-hole,”. This is when you feel completely detached from your surroundings. Some people report feeling ‘trapped’ when they’re in a “K-hole”.

Physically, ketamine can elevate your heart rate and blood pressure. It can cause nausea and vomiting, especially when taken in excessive amounts.

It’s important to note that In a medical context, ketamine is considered safe when administered by professionals. However, using it recreationally or in large quantities can be dangerous.

Is Ketamine Physically Addictive?

If you use ketamine, or you know somebody who uses ketamine, you may be wondering whether it is physically addictive or whether it is just psychologically addictive.

Some substances are notorious for causing severe physical dependence. However, ketamine doesn't typically lead to a physical addiction in the traditional sense. There is, however, still a risk of becoming physically and psychologically addicted.

If you use ketamine frequently, you may develop a psychological dependence on the drug due to its mind-altering effects.

This means you could experience ketamine withdrawal symptoms when you stop taking it suddenly.

Some signs and symptoms of ketamine addiction include increased tolerance. As you develop a tolerance, you may feel the need to take higher doses of ketamine to feel the same effects. You may also notice cravings, anxiety and mood swings when you go without it.

Some behavioural symptoms of ketamine addiction include neglecting responsibilities, social withdrawal, and spending excessive time seeking or using ketamine.

You may also notice physical symptoms such as impaired coordination and slurred speech. If you resonate with these signs of ketamine addiction, we recommend you seek support as soon as possible.

What is Ketamine Abuse?

Abusing ketamine involves taking the drug outside of its intended medical use. This could include taking ketamine in larger quantities and more frequently than its medical use - or sourcing it through illicit means (for example, from drug dealers). Ketamine abuse could also include mixing ketamine with other drugs or with alcohol.

Ketamine users seek the dissociative and hallucinogenic effects that create a "ketamine high." This altered state of consciousness can lead to a sense of detachment from reality, euphoria, and vivid hallucinations.

However, ketamine misuse can be dangerous. Over time, ketamine use could lead to a range of physical health issues, including damage to the bladder and other organs.

Chronic use may result in long-term cognitive impairment and mental health challenges. For example, ketamine use can cause changes in the brain and increase the risk of ongoing psychotic symptoms.

If you abuse ketamine, you increase the risk of having a ketamine overdose. This could result in serious health risks - and can even be fatal. If you think you are having a ketamine overdose, seek immediate medical assistance.

Can Ketamine Be Used to Treat Addiction?

Ketamine has shown promise in the field of addiction treatment, particularly in addressing alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

It is thought that ketamine treatment could play a therapeutic role in treating substance use disorders. That being said, there is currently limited research on the topic, and more clinical trials will be needed.

In some studies, ketamine has been shown to help people stay sober from alcohol and heroin. It reduced alcohol cravings in those with alcohol use disorder, and heroin cravings in those dependent on heroin. Additionally, ketamine appears to reduce cravings for people with cocaine addiction.

However, it's important to note that using ketamine for this purpose should only be done under the supervision of qualified medical professionals in a controlled setting. Self-medicating or unsupervised use of ketamine can lead to further complications and risks.

How to Overcome Ketamine Addiction

If you are struggling to stop taking ketamine, seeking professional support is the best thing you can do. The first stage of ketamine addiction treatment is a ketamine detox. During a detox, you will have no access to ketamine. This stage addresses the physical addiction to ketamine.

Some people prefer to detox from ketamine at home, but others with more severe addictions benefit from inpatient detoxification. We can discuss your circumstances to determine the safest approach for you and your addiction. Our experts can provide you with a helpful guide to treatment for ketamine addiction.

However, detoxification alone is not enough to combat addiction. Instead, you should detox as part of a larger, more comprehensive treatment programme involving therapy and aftercare. Therapy can help you gain an understanding of your addiction and address any underlying issues that contribute to ketamine abuse.

Cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) and counselling sessions provide a supportive environment for you to explore your thoughts and behaviours. Some other types of therapy in ketamine rehab include dialectical behavioural therapy (DBT) and group therapy.

The support doesn’t have to end once you finish treatment - aftercare can provide you with ongoing support as you adjust to life after rehab. This can include telephone support, online support, and even support groups.

Take the first step towards recovery with Help4Addiction today - we can help you overcome your addiction to ketamine and live a sober life.

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