Fortunately, less than one percent of Americans use ketamine as a recreational drug even though it’s become more readily available. This means that almost three million people, ages 12 and up, use ketamine. Ketamine use can become dangerous and even life-threatening.
Teenagers and young adults make up the most significant proportion — almost 75 percent — of ketamine users who are seen in emergency rooms with an overdose. Ketamine is less addictive than some other street drugs, but many users still find themselves struggling with addiction and need treatment to recover.
This guide highlights the effects and treatment for ketamine drug addiction.
What Is Ketamine?
Ketamine is a Schedule III substance used in the medical field as an anesthetic. This helps patients by putting them in a dissociative state during surgery. Sometimes, a doctor might use minuscule amounts of ketamine as a pain reliever or for ketamine therapy.
It’s important to note that ketamine’s primary use is by veterinarians on large animals, such as horses. Some sexual predators have used ketamine to incapacitate their victims before abusing them.
However, it is illegal for a person to have or use ketamine outside of a medical setting, and a person runs the risk of criminal charges for using it. Ketamine drug use produces a dissociative state, which means that it creates hallucinations.
These hallucinations and altered reality make the drug abuse appealing to recreational drug users. As a Schedule III substance, ketamine isn’t as addictive as other commonly abused drugs, such as cocaine or heroin. However, it’s still addictive if used continuously for a sustained period.
Signs and Symptoms of Ketamine Addiction
Some people can use ketamine once or twice without forming a substance abuse addiction, while others develop an addiction that leaves them craving ketamine all of the time. Sometimes, a person has a loved one that they worry about struggles with ketamine addiction.
Here’s a look at a few of the signs and symptoms of ketamine withdrawal, usage, and ketamine overdose:
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When people display these symptoms and signs of substance addiction, they should seek addiction recovery for ketamine addiction to avoid or minimize some of the long-term effects of abusing this drug.
Long-Term Effects of Ketamine Abuse Disorder
At this time, ketamine abuse is still relatively new, and there hasn’t been extensive research done on the long-term effect. Researchers believe that one of the long-term effects of ketamine is addiction and the resulting side effects of regular use.
Some researchers have begun studying the neurological risks of long-term use and addiction to ketamine in people. They have found some physical and functional changes in the brain.
What to Expect From a Ketamine Treatment Program
The idea of a ketamine treatment program can feel daunting, but most people need to understand what to expect to feel more comfortable. Most addiction treatment options start with detox as an inpatient facility.
During this time, the patient stops taking ketamine, experiences withdrawal symptoms, and remains at the facility without contact with friends and family. This allows the patient to detox without the everyday pressures and stressors while being monitored by medical professionals.
Ketamine detox doesn’t come with some more serious withdrawal symptoms from other drugs, such as heroin. However, the person may struggle with severe cravings and mental health issues due to dependency.
Once the patient overcomes the worst of the withdrawal symptoms, they’ll begin intense therapy as an inpatient at the treatment facility. The therapy aims to examine the triggers and feelings that led to ketamine drug addiction and find new, healthy ways to cope with them.
As therapy progresses, the patient and the therapist will decide when the patient should be allowed to make calls and have visitors. Most patients remain at an inpatient facility for a minimum of 30 days and then transition to daily therapy for a few months when they return home.
Some patients choose to stay in inpatient treatment for longer than 30 days. All therapy is designed to help patients build the tools they need to live a regular life free from ketamine drug addiction.
Ketamine treatment centers may also offer outpatient treatment programs to help people continue their recovery goals. Outpatient programming is typically suggested after completing the more intensive inpatient treatment portion. Extended treatment options all work together to ensure a successful recovery for the person struggling.
AToN Center Treatment Options for Ketamine Addiction Treatment
AToN Center offers a wide array of treatment options to provide patients with the best choice for their unique situations and temperament. While one therapy might work for one patient, it doesn’t work for all of them.
Some of the treatments we offer for ketamine addiction include: