Is Ketamine Addictive?
Ketamine is a popular recreational drug that is typically used by people at clubs, bars, and all-night dance parties. Unfortunately, many people who abuse this substance don’t know the answer to some important questions about it, such as: What are the risks of ketamine abuse? Can ketamine cause long-term harm? Can you overdose on ketamine? Is ketamine addictive?
What is Ketamine?
Before we answer the question, “Is ketamine addictive?” let’s take a moment to discuss what this substance is, what it is used for, and how it affects people who take it.
Ketamine is a powerful substance that shares certain structural similarities with phencyclidine (PCP). It is categorized as a dissociative anesthetic.
- “Dissociative” refers to the fact that ketamine can elicit a sense of being detached from reality.
- “Anesthetic” means that ketamine can temporarily block a person’s awareness of pain.
Ketamine has been used as a sedative or general anesthetic prior to surgical procedures since the early 1970s. Recently, mental health professionals have begun to use ketamine to treat people who have particularly severe forms of depression and certain other psychological concerns.
The dissociative effects of ketamine make it an enticing substance for people who are seeking a certain type of recreational high. Because ketamine can also induce brief amnesia (causing people to be unable to remember what happened while they were under the influence of the drug), rapists and other predators have also used it to incapacitate their victims.
Dangers of Ketamine Abuse
When ketamine is used in a controlled environment under the supervision of a qualified healthcare professional, it can be a safe and beneficial medication. But when a person abuses ketamine for any reason, they put themselves at risk for myriad forms of immediate and long-term harm.
The following are examples of the many potential dangers of ketamine abuse:
- Changes to the structure and function of the brain
- Damage to the heart, liver, and kidneys
- Impaired memory
- Physical injuries due to impaired perception and judgment
- Muscle stiffness and/or weakness
- Being unable to fend off an attack or assault
- Being arresting, fined, and/or incarcerated
- Development or exacerbation of co-occurring mental illness
- Exposure to HIV/AIDS, hepatitis, and other sexually transmitted infections
- Conflicts with friends and family members
- Diminished performance at work or in school
- Accidental death
Is Ketamine Addictive?
If you’ve been reading closely, you may have noticed that we already answered the question “Is ketamine addictive?” in the list at the end of the previous section.
Whether you caught that brief reference or not, here’s the answer again, plainly stated for all to see: Yes, ketamine is addictive.
When a person becomes addicted to ketamine, they may exhibit the following types of signs and symptoms:
- Appearing to need ketamine in order to have fun
- Mixing ketamine with other drugs to enhance its effects
- Using larger amounts of ketamine to achieve the sensation they are seeking
- Becoming agitated or irritated when they can’t acquire and use ketamine
- Having unexplained financial problems
- Trying to borrow or steal money to buy more ketamine
- Withdrawing from family and friends
- Being secretive or deceptive about how they spend their time and who they associate with
- No longer participating in activities that used to be very important to them
- Appearing to be confused or disoriented
- Experiencing auditory and/or visual hallucinations
- Being unable to focus, concentrate, or even follow a conversation
Ketamine abuse is a behavior. Ketamine addiction is a mental health disorder. When a person becomes addicted to ketamine, they can begin to lose the ability to control their thoughts and actions. They may act in ways that seem to have no connection to their typical personality or behavior patterns. This may include engaging in dangerous or reckless pursuits.
Can Ketamine Addiction be Treated?
Knowing the answer to the question, “Is ketamine addictive?” can prompt another important query: Can ketamine addiction be treated? Thankfully, the answer to this question is yes.
When a person receives proper professional care for ketamine addiction, they can end their use of this dangerous drug and learn to manage the urges that might threaten to undermine their continued recovery.
To determine the most effective course of treatment for ketamine addiction for a specific patient, professionals will assess a variety of personal factors, such as:
- How long has the person been struggling with ketamine addiction?
- What was the amount and frequency of the patient’s ketamine abuse?
- Has the patient been abusing, or have they become addicted to, any other substances?
- Is the patient also living with a co-occurring mental health disorder?
- How have the patient’s needs interfered with their ability to function?
Depending on these factors, a person’s treatment for ketamine addiction may be provided at one or more of the following levels:
Within each of these levels, people may receive a variety of therapies and support services to prepare them for successful recovery from ketamine addiction. Possible elements of care for addiction to ketamine include:
- Individual, group, and family therapy sessions
- Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT)
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
- Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy
- Holistic therapy
Begin Treatment for Ketamine Addiction at Sanctuary Treatment Center
Sanctuary Treatment Center is a premier source of life-affirming care for adults who have become addicted to ketamine. Our addiction treatment center in Los Angeles, California, is a safe and welcoming place where patients receive customized services from experienced professionals.
With multiple levels of care, an array of treatment options, and an unwavering commitment to superior patient service, Sanctuary Treatment Center can be an ideal place to begin your recovery journey. To learn more or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our Contact Us page or call us today.