Ketamine, sometimes shortened to ‘ket’ or ‘k’, is a strong hallucinogenic and sedative drug originally used to treat pain during and following operations on humans and animals in hospitals and veterinary clinics. Usually ketamine is sold as a liquid to be injected or as a white crystalized powder which can be either inhaled through the nose or taken in tablet form.
What is Ketamine Addiction?
To be addicted to ketamine is to continually use the drug to the point of becoming physically and psychologically dependent on it. It is a critical condition that can have serious implications on every aspect of a person’s life.
Due to ketamine’s anesthetizing qualities it can evoke feelings of calm, relaxation and happiness. Repeated use can begin to build a tolerance in the user, requiring greater quantities of ketamine, more often to feel the same ‘high’ as when you began taking the drug. For this reason, among others, chronic ketamine use can develop into a harmful physical and psychological reliance which can result in a ketamine addiction.
Furthermore, ketamine can be mixed with drugs like opiates or benzodiazepines that are highly addictive and difficult for a user to detect, especially when sold in nightclubs or festivals. This increases the risk of addiction and harmful consequences when taking the drug.
Cornerstone recognizes that when ketamine addiction progresses without intervention, it can be the catalyst for a wealth of significant issues that can damage careers, relationships between friends, family and partners, health and wellbeing, and even the capacity to carry out day to day tasks. Ketamine addiction has the potential to severely impact a person’s outlook on life and themselves, which can lead to developing additional addictions to other drugs, alcohol or addictive behaviors that can induce a range of harmful conditions alongside ketamine addiction.
Ketamine addiction can feel hopeless and isolating; but there is help available, it can be treated and overcome. However, the only way this is possible is to take the first step in seeking help from professionals that specialize in addiction, and to engage with treatment and support systems. At Cornerstone you will find a team of highly qualified, motivated and dedicated practitioners that provide ketamine addiction treatment tailored to support each individual seeking help from our reputable treatment center.
At Cornerstone, we understand that the start of recovery is a daunting prospect, often hindered by the fear of the unknown, and not knowing what will happen after admitting the extent of the problems faced. For this reason, we provide a free ketamine addiction assessment with one of our practitioners to ensure a safe space to discuss any concerns, fears and hopes that will pave the way for the journey to recovery. Furthermore, we provide a secondary assessment with a consultant psychiatrist to identify any medical or psychiatric needs to inform the treatment you receive.
If required, Cornerstone can provide a drug detox procedure, assisted by a medical professional. Emotional support from therapists, psychologists and medical professions will be available around the clock, any time you need.
To prevent the possibility of a person using ketamine due to the strong cravings often experienced during the initial withdrawal period it is necessary to be in a drug-free environment. Cornerstone can provide monitored medication if the withdrawal symptoms are particularly severe.
The practitioners you will find at Cornerstone have extensive experience in a vast range of clinical treatments for ketamine addiction, ensuring flexibility, accessibility and safety. Our specialists provide a non-judgemental space to support you through your treatment and discuss any challenges and motivations a person might have affecting their recovery. We believe that there should be transparency between patient and practitioner, placing you at the center of your treatment plan with the ability to make decisions about the treatment you receive.
We understand that ketamine addiction affects each person differently, and so Cornerstone endeavors to deliver a treatment plan that considers all needs required to address and heal the underlying causes for addiction to achieve lasting recovery from addiction to a positive future.
The diverse range of therapeutic methods Cornerstone is able to provide, are all designed to increase an addicted person’s confidence and self-esteem, identifying the reasons they felt they needed to take ketamine in the first place, exploring how you can develop new coping strategies, to lead the rest of your life free from ketamine addiction.
Ketamine Addiction Treatment at Cornerstone
Cornerstone’s ketamine addiction treatment program typically consists of an intensive 28-day program which takes place at our treatment center where you will stay, following assessments from both our drug addiction specialists, and psychiatrist. However, we do not set rigid time limits, the duration of your stay will depend entirely on the severity and nature of your addiction and on what commitments and responsibilities you may have.
Ketamine addiction treatment at Cornerstone is built upon the 12-step addiction treatment model; based on abstinence from the Alcoholics Anonymous organization (AA). This treatment ideology is based on empirical evidence and is customized to each person’s needs and circumstances. The philosophy behind the 12-step program is to focus motivation for recovery beside a set of guiding values and beliefs, challenging addictive and toxic behaviors and thought processes that fuel addiction, underpinned by spiritual influences that teaches both humility and self-worth.
Cornerstone’s ketamine treatment program typically consists of:
- A complimentary, optional drug addiction assessment to allow confidential and non-judgemental discussion of any concerns and to learn what treatments are available, and best suited for your needs, based on the information you share
- An optional 7 to 10 day detox with medical assistance, consisting of evaluation, stabilization and education; following detox anti-craving medications can be administered
- 1 on 1 and structured group therapy programs
- Couples and family therapy
- Information to seek legal support
- Licensed recovery homes for post-treatment
If, for whatever reason you would prefer not to take part in a residential treatment program, we also provide high quality treatment programs for day treatment, or outpatient treatment, depending on your unique needs.
Cornerstone’s ketamine treatment options can be used either as a first admission point into treatment, or as you begin to reduce the quantity and intensity of treatment for those who have gone through an intensive residential program; this will largely depend on the severity and nature of your addiction and the style of support you feel is necessary.
What are the Most Common Signs and Symptoms of Ketamine Addiction?
Indications that someone is suffering from a ketamine addiction will depend on the volume and frequency of drug use, along with a range of other factors including environment and personality. However, there are some typical signals that you or a loved one is misusing ketamine, which may include:
- Forming a tolerance to ketamine, requiring the user to take more ketamine and more often, to feel the anticipated high.
- Feeling strongly compelled to take ketamine.
- Using ketamine throughout the day, alone or in order to do daily tasks, rather than on special occasions or nights out.
- Suffering from a variety of uncomfortable or distressing withdrawal symptoms when trying to cut down, stop or unable to obtain ketamine.
- Combining ketamine with other illegal or addictive drugs or experimenting with ways to make the high more intense or long lasting.
- Being aware of the negative impact, but maintaining and persisting drug use, despite knowing the detrimental effect it is having on relationships, work and financial matters.
- Feeling anxious, paranoid, depressed or suicidal after using ketamine.
What Causes a Ketamine Addiction to Develop?
At Cornerstone we understand that addictions develop due to a psychological process called “Positive Reinforcement”; which means a person is driven to continue patterns of behavior due to a positive outcome as a result; if what we do feels good, we will continue to do it.
Taking ketamine offers positive reinforcement in the form of the “high” induced from taking the drug. Ketamine can make a person feel relaxed, euphoric or enjoy an altered sense of reality. If ketamine enables you to achieve the altered state you were seeking, it is probable you will continue to take it if you don’t feel able to achieve that state naturally, and eventually you may come to rely on ketamine for that feeling. This pattern of behavior is what differentiates an addiction from occasional or one-time ketamine use.
In addition to positive reinforcement, research studies signify a number of other factors which can make a person more prone to addiction, such as:
- If you have a member of your immediate family that struggles with addiction, research has shown that this increases the risk of developing a ketamine addiction due to hereditary factors that are aligned with addiction.
- Influential surroundings, such as including living with someone with a ketamine addiction, being subjected to witnessing ketamine misuse, or observing addictive behaviors from a young age can teach a person that this is normal behavior, and not recognize dangerous risks associated with using ketamine
- If you suffer from a mental health condition or dual diagnosis you may be more susceptible to ketamine as a result of self-medicating to alleviate symptoms or to control emotional regulation which over long-term use can exacerbate the condition leading to increased drug use
- Experiencing traumatic or highly stressful life events such as bereavement, divorce or relationship breakdown, unemployment or financial problems, or experiencing a violent or sexual assault can all cause a person to feel the need to use drugs to reduce the symptoms of their trauma or deal with the stress of the situation, which can lead to dependency and addiction
Self-help Tips for Dealing with the Initial Stages of Ketamine Addiction
It can be difficult to know where to begin when seeking recovery; below are some useful suggestions to support the early stages of drug addiction:
- Be open and honest with people you love about the amount of ketamine you take, and how often.
- Accept that your drug use has become problematic and you are no longer in control of how much or how often you take ketamine.
- Make initial changes in your life to avoid negative influences and people that have historically enabled or triggered ketamine use.
- Begin to prepare to make significant changes in order to engage in treatment and maintain recovery from ketamine addiction.
- Accept that the process of change is challenging and requires motivation and dedication.
For more help seeking recovery from ketamine addiction, you can reach out to our team at Cornerstone 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.