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Getting Treatment for a Ketamine Addiction

Ketamine is a drug that is similar to PCP. It leaves the user in a dissociative state, or what is also referred to as an out-of-body experience. Ketamine is highly addictive and can cause withdrawal symptoms immediately after the last dose of the drug has been taken. Ketamine addiction treatment is usually needed once a person becomes addicted.

What is Ketamine Used For?

Ketamine is used in hospitals and by veterinarians as a dissociative anesthetic. It was originally marketed in liquid form as a tranquilizer, and is most commonly used as a tranquilizer on animals before surgery. The drug has similar characteristics to that of laughing gas. More and more veterinarians are being robbed for their supplies of ketamine. According to the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, most of the Ketamine sold illegally in the United States comes from drugs stolen from vet offices. It is becoming easier for users to locate the drug in street markets. Other uses for the medication include its ability to help control severe pain.

The medicine is a popular club drug. It is often used as a date rape drug due to its dissociative properties. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, nearly two and a half million individuals over the age of 12 have used ketamine illegally at least once in their lifetime. Because the drug is highly addictive even after the first use, the result is an increasing number of individuals that must go through ketamine addiction treatment.

In street form, liquid ketamine is injected into muscle, pressed into pill form and swallowed, or heated and turned into powder form. The powder is snorted or combined with other substances, such as marijuana and smoked. It is also often combined with other drugs, such as ecstasy, which double the effects of the drug and can make ketamine addiction treatment complicated. In spite of the ease in obtaining the drug, its use is still far less than other types of drugs, such as marijuana.

When snorted, ketamine takes five to ten minutes to take effect. When the medication is injected, it starts to work almost immediately. The hallucinatory effects usually last about an hour, but can vary depending on the weight of the individual and how concentrated the medication is.

Dangerous Effects Associated with Using

Ketamine blocks certain opioid receptors in the central nervous system, which can leave an individual feeling emotionally detached from reality. Other side effects can include of ketamine use includes:

  • Decreased or elevated heart rate
  • Hallucinations
  • Dry mouth
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nervousness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Nightmares
  • Double vision
  • Muscle spasms
  • Decreased attention span
  • Impaired motor function
  • Near-death experience
  • Difficulty in learning
  • High blood pressure
  • Feelings of being paralyzed

Because the medication stops the user from feeling pain, it is not uncommon for someone to cause physical harm to himself or herself while they are under the influence of the medication. It is always good to look for the signs of overdose or addiction if you or someone you know takes ketamine. It is best if you can identify the problem as early as possible.

Common Symptoms of Overdose

At extremely high doses, ketamine may cause specific health risks. These are all warning signs that you may have taken too much of the medication. Ketamine overdose can cause an increased heart rate, which can be dangerous for those that suffer from heart problems. It can also put you at a higher risk for heart attack and stroke. Normal drug usage can make the user feel like they are floating on air. If you take a higher dose, it can cause extreme nightmares and paranoia. If you begin to feel disoriented, you should contact your physician.

Developing an Addiction

Ketamine addiction can occur quickly. The medication leaves the user feeling mentally drained and unstable. The only way to lessen these feelings is to take more or to use more frequently. The addiction effects of ketamine are similar to that of cocaine. The individual uses more of the medication to experience the psychedelic effects of the drug. The body and mind then becomes more and more accustomed to the dose and the addict must take more of the medication each time in order to continue to feel the effects.

Prolonged use of ketamine can cause amnesia, vivid dreams, abnormal heart rhythms, visual problems and skin rash at the site of the injection.

Available Treatment Options

“Ketamine addiction treatment requires the cooperation of the user.”
In order to go through rehabilitation successfully, it is up to the individual to decide if they are going to stop using drugs illegally. Ketamine addiction treatment requires the cooperation of the user. There are many treatment options available for one going through ketamine rehab. Treatment is similar to that of someone that is experiencing cocaine addiction.

One of the most popular and successful methods of treatment is an inpatient treatment center. Inpatient treatment centers remove the addict from their current living conditions and places them in a medically supervised treatment facility. This allows the user to go through detox safely while being monitored round the clock. These centers often are a last resort for someone that is suffering through more than one addiction or for someone that has tried other methods of ketamine addiction treatment and failed. Individuals that have relapsed may use inpatient treatment as a last resort.

When the individual first arrives at the treatment facility, they must go through detox. This involves the complete cessation of all drugs and alcohol. Treatment can involve medication to help control the withdrawal symptoms. The addict is made as comfortable as possible during this transition stage and is given support from both medical personnel and others who have went through the same treatment.

Detoxification from ketamine results in a wide variety of withdrawal symptoms. The types and severity of the symptoms varies from person to person. Withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Flashbacks
  • Extreme agitation at not having the medication. This can also result in aggressive behavior towards anyone who tries to help.
  • The inability to be in touch with reality.
  • Decrease in cardiac and respiratory functions.
  • Nightmares

Other methods of ketamine addiction treatment include individual and group behavior therapy. A psychologist helps the user identify why they began abusing the medication. Once the underlying issue has been brought to the surface, time management skills are taught and the addict is encourage to find a new hobby or interest to pursue. Sometimes there are no underlying reasons why the addict began taking the drug other than pressure from friends. In this case, they learn how to say no and learn how to stay away from those that could put them back on the wrong path.

Group therapy allows the ketamine user to associate with others that have gone through similar circumstances. They share similar experiences and learn to celebrate each milestone with one another.

Outpatient treatment is similar to inpatient treatment. The main difference is that the individual spends most of their day in a treatment facility where they are cared for by trained medical staff. They are then allowed to go home each night. This type of treatment is not recommended for severe addiction or those that have already relapsed.

Choosing the Right Facility for You

When you begin looking for a rehab center there are some things that you will need to ask yourself. Make sure you visit the center and talk with the people that will be involved in your treatment. It is important that you feel comfortable and confident in your ketamine withdrawal treatment in order for it to be a success. Things to consider are:

  • How long will you have to stay once you begin your treatment?
  • When you decide to use the center, will you be placed on a waiting list to get in?
  • Do the patients and staff seem happy with their jobs and the type of treatment they are receiving?
  • Is the staff fully certified to handle treatment? Ask for proof of certification if it is not evident.
  • Are families involved in the recovery process? Will your family be given methods to help with your recovery?
  • Does the facility offer outpatient services or is it strictly and inpatient facility?
  • How much will the ketamine addiction treatment cost?
  • Do they accept all forms of insurance, or will you need to come up with out of pocket money?
  • How do they assist you during detox? Will you be constantly supervised?
  • What is the client to patient ratio? Will you get the attention you deserve?
  • What types of programs do they offer? Is it strictly a drug rehab center or do they teat other forms of addiction.
  • Do they offer a follow-up program for those that leave the hospital?
  • How long has the hospital been its current location and how long has the staff worked their?
  • What makes the treatment facility different from others that you are considering?

Think of any other questions that are pertinent to your situation. You may need to ask if they provide dietary accommodations if you are diabetic. Do they have statistics on their success rate? Will you be allowed to see family and friends? Your happiness while in the facility can mean the difference in succeeding or relapsing. Make sure you ask all the questions before you begin treatment so there are no surprises.

The Rehabilitation Process

Ketamine rehab is a maintenance plan that is used after detox. When a person goes through ketamine addiction treatment, they are still considered an addict even if they successfully stop taking the drug. Drug addiction is a disease that must be fought on a daily basis for life. Rehab allows the individual to continue with treatment in order to hold themselves accountable for their actions and can help prevent relapse.
Rehab includes individual therapy. Individual therapy allows the recovering addict a chance to talk about anything that may have tempted them or talk about experiences that may have triggered drug use.

Drugged Alcoholic patient visiting a doctor, stethoscope on the table Group meetings are usually free. Groups such as Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous meet once a week to help support one another and encourage one another through recovery. The only requirement for membership is that the individual has actually used or abused drugs and alcohol. Groups usually implement a 12-step program that helps to encourage self-esteem, self-worth and helps to build self-confidence.

A 12-step program also helps the addict identify those that they may have harmed in their past and helps them make restitution to those that they have hurt during their drug abuse. Groups such as AA and NA, teach the addict that there is a higher power that can help get through the worst times, and that there is a power greater than the addiction. The individual only need to pray and turn the addiction over to the higher power in order to remain drug free.

Family therapy is often needed for families of addicts that lived with addict during the time of addiction. Quite often families help to enable to drug use because they put up walls to protect themselves from the abuse. While they may not have actually condoned the behavior, they learned to accept things that they were unable to change. Family therapy helps the family learn how to encourage the recovering addict towards steps of being drug free. They learn how to be supportive and how to help the individual stay clean.

It is extremely important for the recovery addict to keep every doctor appointment and therapy meeting to lower their chances of relapse during the ketamine addiction treatment.

If you believe you or someone you love needs help finding ketamine addiction treatment, call the free national referral hotline in order to find help. It is always confidential, private and secure.


Did you know that ketamine is often used by sexual predators to help lure their victims in?

The high that one feels while taking ketamine is similar to that of LSD.

Long-term use of ketamine can cause a wide variety of mental illnesses.


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