Ketamine Addiction

What is Ketamine?

Ketamine is a dissociative anaesthetic and tranquiliser. It is used for pain management in medical procedures, but is abused on the club and party scene. When taken in large quantities, it has hallucinogenic properties and induces an out of body or near-death experience that is known as a “k-hole”. Ketamine’s chemical formula is C13H16ClNO.

How it’s sold

In the UK ketamine is classified as a Class B controlled drug and has been used in medical procedures for the last 20 years. Medically it is used in its liquid form and injected. On the street, recreational ketamine is usually sold as a white powder in “wraps” that can be snorted or swallowed. Snorting lines makes it difficult to quantify which, when combined with its amnesiac effects, can make overdosing easy.

Addictive potential

Is Ketamine Addictive?

Ketamine’s addictive potential is considered to be psychological rather than physically addictive.

It has a short half-life, which contributes to its addictive potential. A lot of people abuse ketamine recreationally or to self-medicate but misuse of it can lead to an addiction that causes you to dissociate from your daily life and the people around you.

You may have an addiction to ketamine if you have

  • Tried to stop using it unsuccessfully
  • Continued to use it even though it is having an adverse effect on your life
  • Experienced withdrawal symptoms when you try to stop using it
  • Found yourself needing an increasing amount to achieve the same effects as previously

Our addiction specialists will help you to understand and heal from your addiction when you are ready to get help. We understand how consuming an addiction to ketamine can be and we are ready to help you develop a new life path that is substance-free.

Ketamine Addiction Symptoms

When you are addicted to ketamine you spend more time in a detached state as it is a powerful dissociative. Some of the signs of an addiction include

  • Using an increasing amount of it and needing more to achieve a high
  • Spending a lot of money, maybe more than you have, to buy more
  • Neglecting your education or work obligations
  • Neglecting your relationships with family or friends

Ketamine abuse results in a loss of motor coordination. It can cause slurred speech and confusion. It also causes problems with concentration, apathy, tiredness, sleeping problems and bladder pain. Even though you might be aware of the debilitating effects it has on you, a life without it might seem very far from where you are now. We can help you to overcome the challenges and put an end to the discomfort it is causing.

Side Effects and Dangers of Ketamine

Ketamine affects almost every part of your body. Respiratory failure is usually the cause of death from overdoses. Because it blocks pain, it is easy to injure yourself and not notice the injury.

Some adverse side effects include

  • Increased blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • Depression
  • Kidney problems
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Paranoia
  • Amnesia, which can lead to an increased risk of overdose
  • Choking / aspiration due to decreased respiratory rate and temporary paralysis
  • Long term bladder and urinary tract damage, also known as ketamine bladder syndrome
  • Blood in urine and bladder ulcers

As a party drug it is commonly mixed with other substances, but combining it with other substances increases your risk of adverse side effects:

  • Mixing it with amphetamines elevates blood pressure
  • Mixing it with alcohol, heroin or other central nervous system depressants is dangerous for respiratory function and heart rate.

Ketamine comedowns are dangerous and may induce delirium and confusion. Our experienced medical team will ensure you are safe and comfortable when you decide to treat your ketamine addiction.

What Is the Difference between Ketamine Addiction and Ketamine Abuse?

It is possible to abuse it recreationally without having an addiction, however ketamine abuse can turn into addiction quickly. When you become addicted, you struggle to continue with your day-to-day life if you don’t have ketamine in your system.

If you have been abusing it recreationally you might think you can control your use. You might be

  • Using someone else’s prescription
  • Using it recreationally without a medical reason or prescription to achieve a high
  • Changing the route of administration

The signs that your habit has progressed to an addiction include

  • An inability to stop using it even though you are aware of the negative effects
  • Experiencing unpleasant withdrawal symptoms if you try to stop
  • Using an increasing amount or using it more frequently.

If your ketamine use has spiralled out of control we can help you or your loved one through the darkest moments so that you can start enjoying your life again.

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Ketamine Effects

Ingesting ketamine results in a high or state of euphoria that lasts for about one hour. Its effects may be felt 15 to 20 minutes after swallowing, five to 10 minutes after snorting it and approximately 30 seconds after injecting it. People report full-body relaxation and many say they feel and see themselves floating outside of their bodies. The experience usually depends on the user’s state of mind, and a negative state of mind can induce bad hallucinations. When it is combined with other substances, its effects are less predictable.

Physiological effects

We can help you put an end to dangerous the physiological effects of ketamine :

  • High blood pressure
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Abdominal cramps
  • Loss of motor coordination
  • Amnesia
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Involuntary eye movements
  • Double vision
  • Slowed breathing
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Slurred speech
  • Excessive saliva production
  • Liver dysfunction

Some people also experience lightheadedness, tremors, chest pain and seizures.

When abused over the long term, it can cause damage to your kidneys, bladder, liver, brain, lungs and heart.

Psychological effects

We provide psycho-emotional support to help you to cope with

  • Agitation
  • Hallucinations
  • Loss of awareness of environment
  • Confusion
  • Delirium
  • Dissociation
  • Distorted perceptions of time and space
  • Mood swings

Effects on relationships

Ketamine has negative effects on your personal relationships because it is a dissociative drug. Detachment occurs at all levels and your personal and professional relationships will undergo strain. Over time as you use more, the hobbies, activities and people you enjoyed spending time with will be deprioritised as the addiction becomes a controlling force that takes over your life.

If you are in possession of ketamine, you may be given a five year prison term and/or a fine. The production and supply of a Class B drug may result in a 14-year prison term and/or a fine.

How Does Ketamine Addiction Affect My Family?

All the people in an addicted household are affected by a ketamine addiction. There may be financial and legal repercussions if you are involved in criminal activities or have been spending vast sums of money to fuel your habit.

Your addiction has probably caused you to isolate yourself from your family and the people you care about, perhaps preferring to spend more time with other people who share the same habit. You may have neglected your responsibilities or said and done things you regret. While these consequences are very serious, getting help can help you to heal broken bonds and repair communication lines with the people who care about you the most. We offer a strong support system for families so that everyone can heal from their hurt.

The Dangers of Ketamine Overdose

A ketamine overdose, or toxic buildup, is potentially life-threatening and a medical emergency. Some of the symptoms of an overdose include nausea and vomiting, seizures and confusion.

Risk of overdose is highest when it is snorted or injected as these routes of administration allow it the fastest entry to the bloodstream. Choking and aspiration can occur during overdose.

Combining it with other substances or alcohol increases your risk of overdose. Withdrawing will reduce your tolerance, and relapse presents a risk for overdose.

Getting Help

Rehab for ketamine addiction begins with our residential rehab programme to support you with the healing process. Our programme is well documented and has been running successfully at our beachside location in Bournemouth for 25 years.

Our supportive and non-judgemental medical team are here to support you, as you learn to connect with your inner self and develop new strategies to heal from ketamine addiction. We can help you find freedom and overcome the cycle of addiction.

We realise that the prospect of rehab may seem intimidating but our experienced team of addiction specialists will ensure your experience is safe and comfortable.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is Ketamine tolerance?

As you use more of a substance you develop tolerance, which means that you need to use greater amounts of it to achieve the same high as when you started taking it. Tolerance is a physical dependency, and when you try to stop using it, you experience withdrawal symptoms.

Do I need to seek residential rehab?

While ketamine withdrawal is rarely life-threatening it can induce severe symptoms that are best managed in a medical facility. Your risk of relapse is high if you are not medically supervised. Psychological side effects may lead to depression, which puts you at risk of suicidal ideation and self harm. Inpatient rehab gives you the best chance of long term recovery but if you cannot afford a private programme, you can still still be treated under the NHS network.

How is Ketamine harmful?

It affects almost every part of your body, and is destructive to your internal organs. With long term use, lasting damage may be done to your organs. Respiratory failure is a risk of overdose, as well as an increase in blood pressure, body temperature and heart rate.

How to help if someone is overdosing?

An overdose is a medical emergency and potentially life-threatening so you must call for urgent help. If possible, move the person onto his/her side to avoid choking /aspiration. Let the emergency responder know about any substances that were taken, and the doses if they are known.


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