Ketamine is a strong sedative drug with hallucinogenic effects. Its purpose is to ease pain during and after operations in both hospitals and veterinary clinics. Commonly referred to as ‘ket’, ‘special k’ or ‘k’, ketamine is normally sold as a liquid – to be injected – or as a white crystalized powder, which can be inhaled through the nose or taken in tablet form.
Like other hallucinogenic drugs, the risks attached to ketamine use are often overlooked or underestimated. Any addiction has the capacity to ruin not only the addict’s life but also the lives of people closest to that person. Ketamine can severely affect how someone sees life and themselves. It is an addiction that can ruin relationships and careers, tear apart families and relationships, and directly impact health and wellbeing. Everyday tasks become arduous and the stress of ketamine can trigger a number of other addictions.
It is an addiction that can leave you feeling hopeless and isolated. But there is a way out; it can be treated and overcome. To initiate your recovery from any addiction, you must take the daunting but necessary first step.
At Cornerstone, we specialize in addiction and successful recovery programs, including treatment for ketamine overdose or misuse. Our team of highly qualified, motivated and professional practitioners are on hand to guide you through your recovery process. As with all addictions, your issue with ketamine is unique. To meet these specific requirements, we create tailored support plans and necessary treatment for every individual, and their addiction story.
What is Ketamine and What Does It Do to You?
Ketamine is taken as a hallucinogenic drug that evokes a feeling of dissociation – a dreamlike, psychedelic state where the person feels almost detached from their body. Its anesthetizing qualities often make users feel calm, relaxed, and happy. There is, however, a fine-line with ketamine. These apparent euphoric feelings can quickly turn into unpleasant circumstances. If too much is taken, then users risk suffering a ‘bad trip’, or as it is known with ketamine: a ‘k hole’. This is a state where users feel completely dissociated from their body and senses; uncoordinated, incapacitated, and unresponsive.
A ketamine addiction can have serious implications on all aspects of life – it should not be underestimated. Long term risks may include hallucinations and delirium; amnesia or impaired memory; impaired psychological capacity; severe mood swings and conditions like depression. The psychological effects are incredibly harmful and so too the physical implications. Prolonged ketamine use can cause serious damage to the bladder and urinary tract, commonly known as ‘ketamine bladder syndrome.’ Extreme cases may require surgery or complete removal of the bladder.
Our medical staff in Orange County is aware of evidence that links sustained ketamine use to abdominal pain and liver damage. Ketamine provides a brief sense of euphoria, but the long-term implications are incredibly dangerous, both physically and psychologically.
Is Ketamine Addictive?
The relaxing, hallucinogenic, and euphoric state that people enter when taking ketamine is why it is such a popular drug. It is also very addictive. Regular use of ketamine means people quickly develop a high tolerance for the drug. Subsequently, they need to take larger quantities of the drug to access the same ‘high.’ It is also frequently mixed and ‘cut’ with other drugs, like opiates and benzodiazepines. These substances alone are extremely addictive and are difficult to detect – especially when sold in nightclubs or at festivals. These addictive components only accelerate that person’s addiction to ketamine.
Is ketamine safe?
No — any drug taken without a prescription and not under the supervision of a licensed medical doctor who has your full health background is dangerous. Just because ketamine is a medical pharmaceutical doesn’t mean it is safe. It requires deep knowledge of pharmaceuticals and medical conditions.
What causes ketamine addiction?
Like most addictions we treat at Cornerstone, ketamine addiction is instilled through a psychological process called ‘positive reinforcement’: When a person’s continued pattern of behavior is motivated by the positive outcome. If something feels good, then we will continue to do it.
With ketamine, the positive outcome is the ‘high’ – the euphoric state of dissociation. If you are unable to access this state naturally, then you will likely continue to use ketamine in order to access it. How a person manages this pattern of behavior, is the deciding factor between addiction and occasional or one-time use of ketamine. In addition to positive reinforcement, research has identified a number of other factors which can make a person more prone to addiction, such as:
- Research has shown that there is sometimes a hereditary link with addiction. If someone in your immediate family struggles with ketamine, the likelihood of you adopting similar traits increases.
- If you are surrounded by negative influences, then these can sometimes be normalized. If you live – or from a young age – with someone who struggles with ketamine addiction, then you are more likely to see this as normal behavior.
- Dealing with mental health conditions, you are more susceptible to using ketamine as a means to self-medication. It may be used to alleviate stress or regulate your emotions.
- Any traumatic or stressful circumstances can force people to turn to ketamine. This may include break-ups, bereavement, unemployment or financial problems.
Can you overdose on ketamine?
Yes. Overdose risks include coma and deep unconsciousness. Other symptoms include difficulty breathing, chest pain, seizures, amnesia, violent outbursts, anxiety and death.
What are the most common signs and symptoms of ketamine addiction?
Like all addictions, the signs and symptoms someone might be displaying are all dependent on the volume and frequency of that person’s drug use. That person’s environment and personality will also be deciding factors. There are, however, some typical signals you should look out for if you are worried you or a loved one is misusing ketamine:
- Increased tolerance: having to take more ketamine each time, to reach the same anticipated high.
- A strong and irresistible urge to take ketamine.
- Using ketamine alone throughout the day, to assist in achieving daily-tasks – as opposed to ‘special occasions.’
- Experiencing a range of unpleasant or distressing ketamine withdrawal symptoms when trying to cut down ketamine use.
- Combining ketamine with other drugs as a means of experimentation; to make the high more-intense and or last-longer.
- Being negligent to the detrimental impact ketamine use is having on that person’s life and others – while persisting with using ketamine.
- Feeling anxious, depressed, paranoid, or, in some cases, suicidal.
- Excessive sweating, also known as “ketamine sweats”
Self-Help Tips for Dealing With the Initial Stages of Ketamine Addiction
Starting your recovery journey can be incredibly daunting and it’s often difficult to initiate the process. Please take a look at some of our suggestions, to combat the early stages of drug addiction:
- Be open and transparent with the people closest to you about how much ketamine you are taking and how often you are taking it.
- Accept that your drug use is now an addiction. By admitting you are no longer in control, you can begin addressing the issue much earlier.
- Remove negative influences from your life. This may include people who have encouraged or assisted your ketamine addiction in the past.
- Prepare to make long-term changes, that will allow treatment and recovery to fully take place.
- Be dedicated to these changes. Accept that beating your addiction is challenging, but remain diligent throughout.
Free Assessment for Ketamine and Addictions
The initial stages of any addiction are frightening and after admitting you are struggling it is easy to be fearful of what comes next. To soothe these early stages, we provide a free ketamine addiction assessment. One of our practitioners is on hand to discuss any of your concerns, fears or queries regarding your ketamine addiction. In addition to this, we offer a secondary assessment with a consultant psychiatrist to identify any pre-existing medical or psychiatric conditions. These findings would then inform your specific treatment plan.
Detoxing from Ketamine
At Cornerstone, we also provide a drug detox procedure, where you will be guided by a medical professional. Our team of therapists, psychologists and medical professionals offer emotional support at every hour of the day. To resist the urge of ketamine cravings, we encourage everyone suffering from addiction to detox in safe and secure environments – free from temptation and non-prescribed and medically supervised medications. If your symptoms are particularly severe, then we are able to provide approved medicine to assist your withdrawal.
Ketamine Addiction Treatment at Cornerstone
Our ketamine addiction treatment program typically lasts for around 28-days. Of course, each addiction is unique, so every person’s stay will vary depending on how they respond to our treatment procedures. Our facilities and programs are designed to suit the needs of every patients’ drug experience. At Cornerstone, we try and make your treatment as smooth and comfortable a process as we can, and our team is essential in ensuring this. They have vast experience in dealing with drug addictions, and are all dedicated to ensuring you remain safe at all stages of your recovery. We believe that our patients and practitioners should be transparent and honest with each other at all times, and this is something we pride ourselves on.
All of our treatment programs are designed around that particular patient. Every story is different and every treatment plan must be too. Our in-depth support allows patients to explore the root of their ketamine addiction, and plan for a positive future. All of our treatment programs are centered around therapeutic methods, designed to develop that person’s confidence and self-esteem.
Ketamine addiction, like most of our treatment plans, is built upon the 12-step addiction treatment model – an adaptation of abstinence from the Alcoholics Anonymous organization (AA). These treatment plans are all modified with the patient in mind. Our 12-step program guides patients through their recovery, alongside a set of spiritually influenced values and beliefs. These values are all focused on advocating self-worth and humility. Our ketamine treatment program typically consists of:
- A complimentary drug addiction assessment
- An optional 7 to 10-day detox with professional medical assistance providing stabilization, education and potential administration of medication
- One-to-one and structured group therapy programs
- Couples and family therapy
- Information to seek legal support
- Licensed recovery homes for post-treatment
If residential treatment is not something you would like to take part in, then we do offer high-quality alternatives in day treatment or outpatient treatment programs. Our ketamine treatment options can be used either as: a starting point for treatment; or, for those beginning to reduce the quantity and intensity of treatment, having already gone through an intensive residential program. Your specific treatment plan will be determined by the severity and nature of your addiction, and the support you feel is best suited to you.
At Cornerstone, we offer 24hour support and care, 7 days a week. You can get in touch and seek help for your ketamine addiction, at whatever particular stage of recovery you may be at. We are always here to help.