Ketamine Addiction and Recovery
What is Ketamine?
Ketamine hydrochloride comes under the umbrella of drugs classified as ‘dissociative anaesthetics’. This group of dugs makes the user feel detached from themselves, their environment and distorts their perception of sight and sound.
There are comparisons made between the bizarre states of mind caused by ketamine and the experiences of people suffering from schizophrenia. Ketamine acts on the central nervous system and alters neurotransmission processes in the brain.
This drug is most commonly used in in veterinary medicine as an anaesthetic or painkiller. On rare occasions ketamine is also used by doctors for humans but usually avoided because of its hallucinatory effects.
Ketamine can be found in liquid and powder forms. Often the powder has been mixed with other things including drain cleaner and talcum powder. This drug is usually snorted but can also be taken orally or injected.
Street Names for Ketamine
There are many street names for ketamine depending on the area, ethnicity and age of the users.
- Cat Valium
- Cat Tranquilizer
- Special K
- Super K
- Vitamin K
- Kit Kat
What are the effects of Ketamine addiction?
Regular users of ketamine can develop cravings and tolerance which are both characteristics of addiction. Using this drug can also impair the ability of the user to make healthy decisions and simply stopping is not as easy as it sounds.
Co-occurring disorders such as severe depression, anxiety, or eating disorders can worsen the effect of the drug and its addictive qualities, making it harder for the user to stop without professional addiction treatment.
- Damage to the bladder and the urinary tract.
- Risk of blood borne diseases if the drug is injected
- Cardiovascular problems
- Damage to the central nervous system
- Brain damage
- Damage to the septum if snorted
- Changes in the brain chemistry – short term
- Changes in the structure and function of the brain – long term
- Neglecting personal hygiene
- Disturbed sleep
- Unhealthy eating habits/malnutrition
- Lying to yourself/denial
- Apathy /Exhaustion
- Memory loss
- Mood Swings
- Potential increase in risky behaviour
- Financial problems
- Sexual problems
- Lack of interest in activities once enjoyed
- Lack of interest in work/school
- Lack of interest and ability in maintain relationships/friendships
- Damaged relationships with family members
- Lying to others
- Damaged self-esteem and self-worth
- Damaged relationship with self
- Lack of interest in life
- Inability to function without the drug
- Continued use despite negative consequences
The signs and symptoms of ketamine addiction get progressively worse over time and there will be no resolution until effective addiction treatment and aftercare are sought.
Withdrawal from Ketamine
Ketamine does not induce physical dependency in the same way that alcohol or heroin do. However, users may have some acute physical symptoms such as nausea, dizziness and diarrhea.
Most of the symptoms are psychological and during detox clients can suffer from schizophrenic behavior, depression, and anxiety. Typically, the detox process can last between 24 hours and 2 weeks.
The Two Stages of Withdrawal – Acute and Post-Acute
There are often two stages of withdrawal process for ketamine addiction. The first stage has immediate acute symptoms and these can be both physical and physiological. During stage two, former users experience post-acute withdrawal symptoms or PAWS.
These refer to a number of psychological symptoms which can last for weeks or months after the user has stopped taking the drug. This is one of many reasons why residential treatment is the most effective way to treat ketamine addiction.
Post-acute withdrawal symptoms can include:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Lack of motivation
- Inability to feel pleasure
- Anger or emotional outbursts
Ketamine Withdrawal at Hader Clinic
Ketamine withdrawal is very specific and symptoms may vary in severity and duration depending on the client. Usually these are both psychologically uncomfortable and potentially life threatening.
Accurate assessment by our capable medical team determines if our clients require a medicated period of detoxification. This will depend on the individual’s circumstances and symptoms are always closely monitored by our skilled clinical and medical staff and treated accordingly.
Our team are highly experienced in providing safe and effective ketamine detox programs. They aim to keep clients as comfortable and supported as possible so they can participate in the program.
Evidence Based Ketamine Addiction Treatment at Hader Clinic
The Hader Clinic program is internationally acclaimed and our staff are experienced in treating people addicted to ketamine. We recommend that clients, especially those with a long withdrawal period stay in residential treatment for the full 90 days. However, we also run the program for 28 days and 60 days.
At every stage of the process, clients are monitored, evaluated and their successes acknowledged. This really helps our staff to respond to what is going on for the clients and helps to instil an ever growing sense of self-esteem and a new found confidence.
The Primary Program is fully supervised 24 hours a day by a team of professional staff who want nothing more than to assist clients in their treatment goals. All of our case managers are in recovery creating a nurturing environment where real transformation is not only possible but tangible. They are great examples to clients entering our program who have given up hope that things can ever change.