Ketamine, known as a dissociative anesthetic, has FDA approval for starting anesthesia in both humans and animals. Beyond its primary use, it is occasionally prescribed off-label for treatment-resistant depression. This guide explains how to connect with evidence-based ketamine addiction treatment, and explores the following issues:
- How is ketamine abused?
- Is ketamine physically addictive?
- How addictive is ketamine?
Is Ketamine Addictive?
Ketamine is a Schedule III controlled substance with a moderate potential for addiction.
The development of tolerance to ketamine can occur swiftly. People may discover that they need to consume increasingly larger doses to attain the same euphoric or dissociative effects initially delivered. This increase in dosage can happen quickly, as the body adjusts to the drug’s presence and effects.
Dependence on ketamine encompasses can be physical, psychological, or both. On a physical level, the body begins to adapt to the drug, leading to the presentation of withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation. Psychologically, individuals may experience intense urges to continue using ketamine. The psychological craving can be especially potent, given the escapist and dissociative experiences that ketamine induces.
The onset of addiction indicates a deeper, more complex relationship with the drug. Ketamine addiction is marked by an uncontrollable urge to seek and use the drug, in spite of the damaging consequences it may bring. Addiction to ketamine can profoundly disrupt everyday life, affecting personal relationships and responsibilities. Addressing a ketamine addiction typically requires professional treatment with behavioral interventions and counseling.
Signs of Ketamine Addiction
Understanding the signs of ketamine abuse can be the first step toward seeking help and beginning the journey to recovery.
- Tolerance and increased consumption: One of the earliest ketamine addiction symptoms is the need for larger doses to achieve the same effects. This indicates developing tolerance.
- Compulsive use: Individuals may find themselves using ketamine more frequently or in larger amounts than intended. This can trigger many dangers of ketamine abuse.
- Preoccupation with the drug: Spending a lot of time obtaining, using, or recovering from the effects of ketamine.
- Neglected responsibilities: Addiction can lead to neglecting work, school, or family responsibilities due to drug use.
- Continued use despite adverse outcomes: Persisting in using ketamine even when it causes or exacerbates personal, legal, or health problems.
- Withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuation: Experiencing physical symptoms like shaking, sweating, increased heart rate, or anxiety when not using ketamine.
- Changes in appearance: Noticeable weight loss, poor hygiene, or other changes in physical appearance.
- Health issues: Persistent health problems, including gastrointestinal issues or memory impairment, which are often associated with long-term ketamine use.
Psychological and emotional markers
- Mood swings: Experiencing significant shifts in mood, from euphoria while under the influence of depression or irritability during withdrawal.
- Dissociation: Regular ketamine use can lead to a feeling of detachment or dissociation from reality, even when not using the drug.
- Impaired judgment: Engaging in risky behaviors, such as unsafe sex or driving under the influence.
- Strained relationships: Conflicts with friends and family over drug use, or social withdrawal.
- Secretive behaviors: Being secretive or deceptive about whereabouts and activities to hide drug use.
- Altered social circles: Associating predominantly with other users or individuals who encourage drug use.
Recognizing these ketamine abuse symptoms is the first step in addressing the problem. If you or someone you know is exhibiting these signs, it is important to seek professional help. Rehabilitation and mental health facilities offer comprehensive treatment programs that address both the physical and psychological aspects of addiction, providing a path to recovery and a healthier, drug-free life.
Ketamine Addiction Risk Level
Ketamine is a Schedule III substance in the United States, indicating a moderate to low potential for physical and psychological dependence. The following factors may influence the rate at which addiction to ketamine develops:
- Method of consumption: The method of consumption (snorting, injecting, swallowing) can affect addiction risk, with some methods leading to a faster onset of effects and potentially higher addiction potential.
- Legitimate vs recreational use: Ketamine has legitimate medical uses, particularly in anesthesia and, more recently, in treating certain cases of depression. That said, its recreational use, which often involves higher doses and more frequent use than medically recommended, significantly increases the risk of addiction
- Dosage and frequency of use: Regular use, especially in large doses, increases the likelihood of developing tolerance, dependence, and ultimately addiction.
- Psychological variables: Individuals with a history of mental health issues, particularly those involving mood disorders or substance abuse, may have a higher risk of developing an addiction to ketamine.
- Environmental factors: Environmental and social factors, such as peer pressure, stress, and availability of the drug, also play a significant role in the risk of addiction.
While ketamine’s addiction risk is considered lower than that of Schedule I or II drugs (like heroin or cocaine), it still poses a considerable risk, especially when misused or used recreationally.
Ketamine Addiction Treatment
The treatment for ketamine addiction should be holistic and tailored to individual needs. Since ketamine addiction often co-occurs with mental health disorders, a dual-diagnosis approach is critical. This approach addresses not only the addiction itself but also any underlying psychological issues.
- Detoxification: The first step in treating ketamine addiction is detoxification, where the drug is eliminated under medical supervision. This process minimizes withdrawal symptoms and prepares the person for further treatment.
- Behavioral therapy and counseling: Various forms of therapy, such as CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) and DBT (dialectical behavior therapy), are effective in addressing the psychological aspects of ketamine addiction. These therapies help people develop coping strategies, improve emotion regulation, and address any underlying mental health issues.
- Medications: While there is no approved pharmacological treatment for treating ketamine addiction, certain medications may be used to manage withdrawal symptoms and co-occurring mental health disorders. Treatment plans should be monitored and adjusted by healthcare professionals.
- Peer support groups: Engaging with support groups can provide a sense of community and shared experience that is highly beneficial for long-term recovery. Peer support also offers practical advice and emotional support from those who have gone through similar experiences.
- Aftercare planning: Long-term success in recovery from ketamine addiction depends heavily on aftercare planning. This includes ongoing therapy, support group participation, and lifestyle changes to support a drug-free life.
Recovery from ketamine addiction is not just about stopping the drug – it’s about embracing a new way of life. This includes rebuilding relationships, finding new hobbies and interests, and developing a supportive network. Rehabilitation centers play a key role in guiding individuals through this transformative journey.
Get Treatment for Drug Addiction at Gratitude Lodge
If you need help eliminating ketamine from your system safely and comfortably, we can help you achieve this at Gratitude Lodge. Our treatment centers in Southern California are located in Newport Beach and Long Beach. Here, you can address ketamine addiction through a month of residential treatment at one of our pet-friendly facilities.
Supervised detoxification streamlines the intensity of ketamine withdrawal and reduces the chance of complications or relapse disrupting early recovery.
Although detox addresses the issue of physical dependence on ketamine, ongoing treatment is required to unpack the psychological aspect of addiction, a chronic and relapsing brain disorder. During residential rehab at Gratitude Lodge, you can access an individualized blend of the following treatments:
- Holistic therapies
- Family therapy
- MAT (medication-assisted treatment)
- Group therapy
- Individual counseling
- Aftercare and support
If you are addicted to ketamine and need help, call Gratitude Lodge today at 888-861-1658.