Drug addiction can have negative consequences on all areas of your life, and ketamine addiction is no exception. Excessive drug use can impact your physical and mental health and can impact your relationships, finances, and general well-being.
Likewise, substance use disorder rarely only affects the person with the addiction; it can also impact family and friends too. It’s important to seek help for your ketamine addiction before your life is further impacted. Every day you don’t receive treatment is another day wasted in active addiction.
Read on to learn more about ketamine addiction, including ketamine withdrawal and what to expect from ketamine addiction treatment. We’ll also be letting you know how our team at Help4Addiction can help you overcome your ketamine addiction.
Ketamine is commonly used in the medical and veterinary fields, used as a dissociative anaesthetic and analgesic. For example, ketamine may be administered before human and animal operations.
Like many other illicit substances, ketamine has a range of ‘street’ names – for example, ‘Ket’, ‘K’, ‘Special K’ ‘Vitamin K’, ‘Cat Valium’, or ‘Purple’.
The Misuse of Drug Act 1971 classifies ketamine as a controlled substance – a Class B drug. This means that it is illegal for recreational use in the UK. Previously, ketamine was a Class C drug, but was levelled up in 2014.
However, ketamine users will use ketamine recreationally. It is considered a ‘party drug’ and is frequently used on the recreational drug scene.
Ketamine is a dissociative anaesthetic, meaning that it can produce sedating effects and pain relief, as well as distorted perceptions of sight and sound.
You may feel ‘zoned out’ or detached after taking ketamine and have reduced sensations. Ketamine can also cause altered perceptions of time and confusion. Due to these effects, ketamine has a history of being used as a date rape drug.
Because ketamine is a hallucinogenic drug, it can also cause hallucinations. Ketamine abuse can lead to a ‘k-hole’, a state of altered consciousness (a trance-like state or ‘out-of-body experience’), illusions and hallucinations. This state is usually temporary. However, over time, ketamine abuse can lead to ongoing psychotic symptoms.
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Drug misuse essentially refers to taking a substance for any reason other than its intended purpose. This means that if you take ketamine recreationally, you are abusing ketamine – for example, if you take ketamine to get high, or you take large amounts of ketamine.
Likewise, mixing ketamine with other drugs or with alcohol is a form of drug abuse, especially if it is to enhance the effects of the drug. It can be highly dangerous when abused – which is one of the reasons that ketamine was upgraded from a Class C to a Class B drug in the UK back in 2014.
Excessive ketamine use increases the risk of having a ketamine overdose. This can be dangerous and even life-threatening.
Some signs of a ketamine overdose/ ketamine poisoning include high blood pressure, an irregular or increased heart rate, loss of consciousness, abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting, and difficulty breathing.
It can also lead to a comatose state. If you notice these signs after taking ketamine, seek medical attention immediately.
Although ketamine isn’t considered a physically addictive drug, it’s possible to develop a psychological dependence over time. Like with other addictive drugs, taking ketamine in large doses regularly can lead to you developing an addiction.
Ketamine can alter the chemistry in your brain, leading to you developing a tolerance over time. This means you may feel the need to take larger doses of ketamine to feel the same effects.
The changes that ketamine produces in the brain are similar to other drugs such as cocaine and amphetamines, as they have a similar chemical structure.
Some signs and symptoms you are addicted to ketamine include craving ketamine, and the lack of control over taking the drug.
This can include having the desire to stop taking ketamine but struggling to do so. Likewise, if you are addicted to ketamine, you may continue to take the drug despite the negative effects it is causing.
Some other signs and symptoms of ketamine addiction/ ketamine use disorder include:
If you experience these symptoms after ketamine use, we recommend that you contact us to find the right treatment centre for you – whether it be on an inpatient basis (residential rehab) or an outpatient basis.
If you have a ketamine addiction, you may experience a range of uncomfortable/ unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when you suddenly stop taking it or drastically lower your dose.
You may experience both psychological symptoms and physical symptoms during the withdrawal process – although physical symptoms have been reported but not scientifically proven.
You may experience symptoms such as tiredness, insomnia, psychosis and psychotic episodes, depression, agitation, nausea and confusion.
We often recommend that you detox from ketamine with the help of experts – whether it be an inpatient detox or an at-home detox. Read on to learn more about ketamine addiction treatment.
While ketamine may have legitimate therapeutic uses (for example, as an anaesthetic in medical settings or to treat a mental health problem), it also carries the risk of addiction and misuse.
Physical and psychological dependence is naturally a risk when it comes to ketamine abuse. Regular ketamine use can quickly lead to both physical and psychological dependence – although physical dependence/ physical addiction is considered less of a risk than psychological dependence.
The drug affects the brain’s reward system, leading to cravings and compulsive drug-seeking behaviour. Over time, individuals may find it difficult to function without using ketamine, and their lives may revolve around obtaining and using the drug.
There are, of course, health consequences to consider – chronic ketamine abuse can have significant health consequences. It can cause damage to the urinary system, leading to urinary tract problems, frequent urination, and in severe cases, bladder and kidney damage. Long-term use can also affect memory (e.g. memory loss), cognition, and overall brain function.
With continued use, individuals may develop tolerance to ketamine, requiring higher doses to achieve the desired effects. Escalating doses increase the risk of overdose, which can result in life-threatening respiratory depression, hallucinations, seizures, and even coma.
It’s also important to note that ketamine abuse can exacerbate or trigger mental health issues, such as depression, anxiety, and psychosis. It can also contribute to mood swings, disorientation, and impaired judgement, impacting an individual’s overall mental well-being.
Frequent ketamine misuse may also cause social and occupational issues. Addiction to ketamine can lead to strained relationships, financial difficulties, and problems at work or school. You may experience social isolation, withdrawal from activities you once enjoyed, and a decline in academic or professional performance.
It is illegal to abuse ketamine – ketamine is a controlled substance in many countries, including the UK. This means that possessing or selling it illegally can result in legal repercussions, including fines and imprisonment.
It’s important to recognize the risks associated with ketamine use and seek help if you or someone you know is struggling with addiction. Treatment options, such as detoxification, therapy, and support groups, can assist individuals in overcoming ketamine addiction and regaining control of their lives.
Before quitting ketamine, you may wish to have an understanding of how to treat ketamine addiction and the ketamine rehab process. There are different forms of ketamine addiction treatment; for example, residential rehab and outpatient rehab.
You will also have the choice between a range of different professional treatment options such as luxury rehab, private rehab, or NHS-operated rehab. Some people also choose to complete online rehab.
Whichever option you choose, the three core stages of rehab treatment will remain the same; detoxification, therapy/ rehab, and secondary treatment.
Detoxification addresses the physical aspects of addiction – it involves abstaining from the substance to free your body from the addiction.
We often recommend a medical ketamine detox with medical professionals – however, as ketamine isn’t considered a physically addictive substance, it is possible to detox from ketamine at home.
Upon detoxing from ketamine, you may proceed to the next stage of rehab treatment. This involves attending therapy sessions.
During therapy, you may learn long-term coping mechanisms that can help to manage and even avoid relapse. It can also help to treat co-occurring disorders such as depression or anxiety.
Cognitive behavioural therapy/ CBT is a popular form of therapy during rehab. It is based on the idea that our thoughts, actions, and behaviours are linked.
Some other therapies you may benefit from include dialectical behaviour therapy, interpersonal therapy, group therapy, counselling, and many more.
After you have completed your rehab program, you may continue to receive ongoing support on an outpatient basis. Secondary treatment can streamline the recovery process, and increase the chance of a successful recovery.
Ultimately, ongoing support can help you to achieve emotional sobriety. Forms of aftercare can include support groups, telephone support, online support, and ongoing counselling.
At Help4Addiction, we understand how daunting it can be to address your addiction and take the first steps toward ketamine addiction treatment. This is why we aim to make the process easier for you by outlining your treatment options and finding the right treatment plan for you and your drug addiction.
We’ll discuss your options and address concerns about the cost of rehab – and find a ketamine rehab based on your budget. We can help you overcome addiction to other substances too, whether it be cocaine or alcohol addiction.
Contact us today if you have the desire to quit ketamine and get your drug use under control – and begin your drug-free life.
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. He is the founder and CEO of a drug and alcohol rehab center called Help4addiction, which was founded in 2015. He has been clean himself since 2009 and has worked in the Addiction and Rehab Industry for over a decade. Nick is dedicated to helping others recover and get treatment for drug and alcohol abuse. In 2013, he released a book ‘The Thin White’ line that is available on Amazon.
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