It’s hard to overcome a drug addiction without help even if you want to stop using. This is just as true for a ketamine addiction as it is for addictions to other drugs. However, treatment is available so that you can manage your addiction and go on to live a healthy, sober life. Before looking for treatment, learn more about why it’s so important.

An Overview of Ketamine

young man in black tshirt worries he has ketamine addictionPeople refer to ketamine by several names such as K, Vitamin K, and Special K. It’s a very strong hallucinogenic anesthetic for medical procedures. Ketamine is so powerful that many people call it a date rape drug. It can make users feel as if they’re detached from their bodies.

Ketamine is available in a few forms, including a liquid, pills and white powder. Any of these forms is unpredictable. Users have trouble gauging when their dose is too much. Overdoses can happen with small amounts of ketamine, especially when users take other drugs with it.

How Ketamine Affects the Body

As a hallucinogenic tranquilizer, ketamine can give people out-of-body experiences and makes them very relaxed. This usually lasts for less than an hour.

Ketamine can also give people auditory and visual disturbances and reduce their sense of touch. Numbness is common and can lead to accidents and injuries. Although they’re still awake, some people have temporary paralysis as well. This can prevent them from moving or talking.

Signs of Ketamine Addiction

People who have ketamine addictions may show several signs of their addiction. The following signs generally become more severe when they use higher doses:

  • Agitation
  • Changes in color and sound perception
  • Delusions
  • Dementia
  • Departure from body or identity
  • Depression
  • Dilated pupils
  • High blood pressure that drops slowly
  • Nausea
  • Slow breathing
  • Trouble learning or thinking
  • Uncontrolled muscle movement
  • Unusual calmness

Many people who abuse ketamine take so much of the drug that they feel totally separated from their bodies. This can leave them unable to respond to lights, touch and voices. They remain in this state for up to one hour before the high starts to fade.

With chronic abuse, users become psychologically dependent. This usually leaves them unable to think clearly and retain information. They might even have periods of amnesia. It’s common for the drug to cause depression as well.

Ketamine addiction also makes users crave the drug so strongly that they may commit crimes to satisfy the cravings. Although they might feel guilty for committing crimes, they continue abusing the drug because of the strength of the addiction.

Furthermore, people who abuse ketamine often fail to maintain responsibilities at home, school, and work. They also tend to neglect family members and friends, destroying their relationships.

Health Risks of Long-Term Ketamine Use

Along with the above signs of ketamine addiction, there are many health risks associated with long-term use. It affects nearly every part of the body.

Primarily, ketamine can cause abdominal pain. It also damages the bladder and urinary tract. This leads to ketamine bladder syndrome which can cause bladder ulcers, blood in the urine and loss of bladder control.

The likelihood of individuals harming themselves increases because ketamine is an anesthetic. Since they can’t feel that they’re injured, they don’t address the problem. In turn, their injuries tend to be worse. Those who experience temporary paralysis may even be unable to clear their airways. This can lead to choking and other respiratory issues, which can result in death.

Withdrawal Symptoms of Ketamine Abuse

Individuals who try to stop using ketamine after developing addictions often experience withdrawal symptoms. These are similar to having the flu and can include chills, stiff muscles, sweating, and tiredness. However, other symptoms include anxiety, cravings, depression, dilated pupils and nightmares. Users who want to recover can get help managing these symptoms in proper medical detox.

Treatment for Addiction at 1st Step Behavioral Health

After detox, individuals with addictions need to continue treatment to truly recover. In Pompano Beach, Florida, 1st Step Behavioral Health assigns a primary care therapist to each of our clients. We also offer inpatient and outpatient programs. The intensive outpatient treatment program includes:

  • Evidence-based therapies
  • Regular individual and group counseling sessions
  • Structure and support

End the control that ketamine or other drugs have over you or a loved one. Overcome the addiction with the help of 1st Step Behavioral Health. Call 866-319-6123 now to begin the path to recovery.

About the Author: Brittany Polansky

Brittany PolanskyBrittany has been working in behavioral health since 2012 and is a Primary Clinician at our facility. She is an LCSW and holds a master’s degree in social work. She has great experience with chemical dependency and co-occurring mental health diagnoses as well as various therapeutic techniques. Brittany is passionate about treating all clients with dignity and respect, and providing a safe environment where clients can begin their healing journey in recovery.