Ketamine Treatment and Rehab

Ketamine is a Class-B drug used by vets and doctors as an anaesthetic and by psychiatrists to help people with depression. It is commonly abused recreationally – usually by snorting it in powder form – for its hallucinatory and dissociative effects. It has also been used as a ‘date rape’ drug, where it dissolves undetected into drink.

Many people think it’s impossible to develop an addiction to ketamine, because it’s not as powerful as alcohol, heroin, crystal meth, cocaine or some other illicit drugs. Sadly, regular users might develop substance dependency with long-term repercussions for their health.

Understanding Treatments for an Addiction to Ketamine

Ketamine addiction can be quite easy to spot. Larger doses manifest in symptoms such as dizziness, muscle twitches, impaired vision, delirium, poor cognitive function, accelerated heart rate, vomiting and nausea. Some addicts often take high doses to enter the ‘K-hole’: an intense out-of-body experience. The danger of this is that it can induce an overdose, considering the high amount one has to take to reach such a ‘high’.

Questions have been raised concerning ketamine and its ability to cause addiction like other illicit drugs, but research has shown it does happen to people who’ve been exposed to ketamine for a long time. The effects are damaging and require treatment for full recovery.

The most effective treatment for ketamine abuse is the combination of therapy and counselling. A psychiatrist helps the patient understand the real reason why they take ketamine and what they hope to solve or mask with substance abuse.

Types of Treatment for Ketamine Abuse and Addiction

It’s easy to build up a tolerance and become dependent on ketamine. If you’re looking for treatment, there are several options available:

  • Family therapy
  • Medication management
  • Individual therapy
  • Cognitive BehaviouralTherapy (CBT)
  • Anger management
  • Relapse prevention instruction
  • Biofeedback and neurofeedback
  • Inpatient treatment
  • Outpatient treatment

Counselling is available for groups, families and individuals. Ketamine addiction doesn’t affect only the user, but encompasses friends and families who were affected by their actions. Most treatment facilities have options for group therapies, where you listen to otherrecovering ketamine addictsshare their experiences with the drug, the struggles they’ve faced in their journey and milestones achieved. It’s great inspiration for those who are just starting their own journey.

There will also be individual therapy sessions, where your therapist will help you work through emotional and psychological issues that may have a role in your ketamine addiction.

Treatment helps you learn how to cope with triggers and cravings. You’ll learn how to take better care of your body through a customised system of workout and diet. Most importantly, you’ll get treatment for ketamine addiction and re-enter society better equipped to achieve your life goals.

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Ketamine Addiction Rehab

You need rehab treatment if you have: become addicted to ketamine;indulged in regular binging; overdosed; developed a high tolerance for the drug (to the extent that you need to ingest large amounts to feel the desired ‘high’); exhibited drug addiction tendencies, such as putting others in dangers to buy more drugs; become careless with your safety and committed criminal offences.

In a rehab facility, you’ll be surrounded by medical professionals who have experience helping people with ketamine addiction get back on their feet. It’s also the safest place to detox from ketamine and the first step on the recovery journey.

Inpatient Treatment

Both inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment are effective options for ketamine addiction. The important factor to consider is a ketamine rehab facility that caters to your unique withdrawal symptoms and circumstances. If you’ve tried to detox on your own, overdosed in the past or are at risk ofextended withdrawal symptoms, you should consider inpatient treatment.
During inpatient treatment, a doctor evaluates you to determine your treatment needs. You’ll go through detox under the supervision of trained medical professionals. There are psychiatrists and therapists on hand to guide you through rehab. This increases your chances of staying sober after rehab.

Some of the benefits of inpatient treatment include:

  • Safe environment to cleanse your body from chemicals and addictive substances
  • Medical care during the detox process
  • Medication to reduce craving and painful symptoms of ketamine withdrawal
  • Customised recovery plan and detox treatment
  • Learn to identify triggers and stressors in your life which increases the craving for ketamine
  • Find a support system of recovering addicts
  • Get linked with a sober coach, counsellor and therapist who’ll aid you in sobriety
  • Specialised therapies such as CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy) and EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing)

Outpatient Treatment

An amazing benefit of outpatient addiction treatment is that you’re close to loved ones. Outpatient treatment is only recommended for light users who’ve developed a mild dependence on ketamine. Recovery is a difficult journey, but it’s possible to get clean and become fully rehabilitated, without registering at an inpatient treatment facility.

The following factors determine if you’re suitable for outpatient treatment:

  • People who have a great support system. It’s dangerous to go through withdrawal without help from others. Your friends and family are in the best position to help you quit ketamine abuse.
  • Mild addiction without combined signs of alcoholism or drug dependency.
  • No signs of psychiatric severity or absence of any pre-existing mental health or medical condition.
  • A safe home environment that is drug-free.

It’s harder to quit ketamine as an outpatient. If you fit the criteria, however, you can attend rehab as an outpatient.

Individualised Treatment Plan

People respond differently to drug use. They also exhibit different symptoms during withdrawal, which means that it’s hard to predict how long withdrawal symptoms might last in an individual. The combination of your length of drug use, sex, health condition, mental issues, past experiences and personal history are some factors that influence how patients might respond to ketamine treatment and rehab.

An individual treatment plan considers your unique treatment needs and develops a treatment that works based on your health and personality. There is no ‘one fit for all’ addiction, even with substance abuse of the same drug. An individual plan offers the following benefits:

  • Different therapy options
  • Tailored treatment plan that addresses not just the disease of addiction, but all aspects of your mental, physical and emotional needs
  • Appropriate use of medication to help reduce withdrawal symptoms
  • Medically supervised detox

If you’re found to have a history of mental issues in addition to ketamine addiction, dual diagnosis treatment is included in your individual treatment plan.

The Treatment Stages

Step 1: Intake
The first step of treatment is to understand your unique needs. A medical doctor asks questions about your history of substance abuse. They’ll also enquire if you have medical conditions like diabetes or a history of mental health problems, such as depression. You must be completely honest, as it’s the answers you provide that form the basis of your individual treatment plan.

Step 2: Detox

This is the stage where your body rids itself of ketamine. You’ll have access to emotional support and medical care throughout the process. Withdrawal from ketamine lasts three to four days, but might extend beyond that in individuals with lengthened drug use.
Symptoms manifest 24 hours after your last usage and length of detox depends on the amount you’ve consumed, duration of ketamine use and tolerance level you’ve built up. If you’ve taken ketamine with other substances, it’ll take longer to cleanse your body of the toxins.

Step 3: Rehab

If you registered at a detox-only facility and wish to continue as an in-patient, the next step is to find a rehab facility where you’ll continue treatment. Most rehab treatment lasts 30 days, but can be extended to 60 or 90 days, depending on your individual needs and progress.
The treatment involves medication and psychotherapy to treat symptoms, help you understand the role of negative thoughts and feelings and learn positive ways to cope and maintain sobriety post-rehab.

Step 4: Aftercare

This is the final stage of treatment for ketamine addiction. This process continues throughout your life. Your therapist will develop strategies that help you stay sober after rehab. You’ll learn to avoid enabling friends, stay away from harmful environments, relearn positive thoughts and behaviour and build a support network through support groups, group and individual counselling.

Ketamine Detox Treatment

If you’ve used ketamine for a longtime, you’re at risk for severe health problems, such as damage to urinary and bladder tract or ketamine bladder syndrome. Other problems from ketamine abuse include abdominal pain, liver damage and other health issues most addicts suffer.
To prevent your health from deteriorating to such lows, ketamine detox is recommended. In detox, your body rids itself of toxins and chemicals it has learned to depend upon.

Withdrawal symptoms for ketamine haven’t been well explored like other substances such as alcohol, cocaine and heroin. However, data from some studies shows that users should expect to experience the following symptoms:

  • Loss of coordination
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Hearing problem
  • Rapid heartbeat

Ketamine withdrawal symptoms are not physically painful to handle like other addictions, so it’s possible to go ‘cold turkey’ for detox, instead of tapering off gradually. This is especially the case for long-term users suffering from a damaged urinary tract. To err on the side of caution, consult a doctor before deciding whether to go cold turkey or taper off.

For safe detox, medically supervised detox is advised, where a team of medical professionals design and administer a detox and rehabilitation treatment plan for you. Symptoms are more severe if you’ve consumed larger doses for long periods, are a frequent user and have combined other harmful drug use with ketamine – also known as ‘polydrug use’.

For example, if you were taking ketamine with crystal meth or alcohol, you’ll experience symptoms of other drugs. The combination of these symptoms is life-threatening when not managed by health professionals in a safe detox facility.

On-Site Detox Programme

For many users, ketamine addiction is a struggle. You might relapse just when you think you’ve established a balance. Some quit on their own without treatment, but for those looking beyond detox for long-term sobriety, on-site detox programmes offer the best facilities and care.
At an on-site facility, there are no distractions, as your full attention is geared toward recovery from ketamine addiction. While on-site detox programmes are more expensive, they’re safer and the risk of relapse is lower. You’ll have access to trained doctors, nurses, therapists and care personnel, well equipped to see you through the detox programme.

Therapeutic Programmes for Ketamine Addiction

Therapeutic Programmes for Ketamine Addiction The best environment to truly experience therapeutic programmes for ketamine addiction is at an inpatient facility. There are various therapy options that have helped people with ketamine addiction. A few include:

Behavioural Therapies

The focus on behavioural therapy is on achieving goals related to your life. It works by examining undesirable and unhealthy behaviours while recognising locations that enable continued presence.The mind and body of an addict has learned to function in a certain way. Behaviour therapy teaches you to unlearn negative behaviours and learn positive behaviour.

A behavioural therapist uses the following techniques to help a patient:

  • Planning and psycho-education: you’ll receive education on the contingencies and behaviour enabling your addiction with a goal to develop a plan for change.
  • Role-playing: recovering ketamine addicts improve their knowledge of social interactions that can help them avoid ketamine – for example, role-playing to learn ketamine refusal skills.
  • Self-monitoring: here, you detail your actions in a journal and share it with your therapist.
  • Assertive communication: patients learn to improve communication with a goal to move from passive to assertive communication. You’ll learn to express yourself without disrespecting others.
  • Exposure: this is the ultimate skill to learn for recovering addicts. You’ll learn to expose yourself to drugs without using. This helps to kill the automatic response to use ketamine when it’swithin reach.

Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)

CBT is a psychotherapy model used in treating addiction. It’s been effective in helping patients unlearn harmful behaviours. CBT combines behavioural and cognitive therapy, which means it focuses on how thoughts and beliefs influence actions and how to change negative ones.

The premise of CBT is that negative thoughts lead to unwanted actions, behaviours and vice versa. The interconnection between thought, feeling and behaviour is what CBT focuses on. Your therapist doubles as coach and teammate and looks for cognitive distortions feeding your actions. For example, those who tend to go ‘all in’ think life is meaningless when they can’t find perfection. They use drugs to mask feelings of hopelessness, negativity and depression.

For drug addiction treatment, CBT lasts 12 weeks and involves about 12 to 16 sessions, each lasting 45 to 90 minutes. The short term goal is to produce stabilisation and abstinence. Think of it as a question and answer session, where you’ll be learning more about your addiction with each answer you provide. With the help of CBT, recovery addicts learn to withstand peer pressure to use, relearn positive thoughts that reinforce sobriety, keep up with daily routines and track recovery goals.

Motivational Therapies

Also referred to as Motivational Interviewing (MI), this counselling approach motivates patients to change addictive behaviour. Motivational therapy has been used for over 15 years in rehab centres to help recovering addicts. One of the major reasons why people find it hard to quit ketamine is the lack of motivation, despite health, legal and financial risks.

Some individuals lack the motivation to quit ketamine, because they don’t want to give up the euphoric high associated with its use. They believe their drug use problem isn’t serious and fear withdrawal symptoms.

MI focuses on the individual’s needs and specific problems they might need help with. At the beginning, sessions are short, as the therapist tries to ease you into it. After time passes, the
length increases to 30 minutes, 45 minutes and even an hour. For you to get to this stage, you must have shown willingness to quit and stay sober. You’re also aware of the negative consequences of your actions on your loved ones. The MI therapist helps you overcome the fear of change and builds on your willingness to quit as motivation to help you change negative behaviour and thinking.

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Multidimensional Family Therapy

This is a treatment plan for teenagers and their families. Since ketamine is the drug of choice amongst many young people, MDFT works well to help them curb drug habits. It takes into consideration factors that enable drug use, such as family, peer, community, individual and educational influences. Once the influencing factors are identified, the therapist schedules individual meetings with teenagers and family members. Treatments that work for adults often don’t tend to produce the same result in teenagers. Treatment is guided by specialised clinicians trained in MDFT. Sessions are also scheduled with client and therapist, therapist and parent and therapist with the family.

The goal is to enhance decision-making in the teenager and curb the tendency for irrational, impulsive choices. The client also builds vocational skills for the future, improves problem-solving skills and learns communication and self-monitoring skills, where they’ll better articulate their feelings and thoughts. In parent sessions, the therapist highlights parenting styles impacting the teen’s behaviour. Parents improve knowledge base on the close-knit relationship between control and influence. Finally, parents learn fun, healthy ways to parent their child.

Recovery-Oriented Challenge Therapy

This type of addiction therapy helps people know their strength, discuss recovery issues and cultivate social support. The premise is founded on trust, self-care, boundaries and accountability.

Trauma Therapies

For clients who abuse ketamine to avoid dealing with a traumatic experience in their past. The abrupt cessation of ketamine increases the severity of withdrawal symptoms. Treatment options include EMDR, Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT), safety-seeking sessions and other therapy methods.

Holistic Therapy

Holistic treatment is an option for ketamine abuse and other addiction treatments. Many rehab centres in the UK provide options for a holistic approach. Holistic treatment integrates spiritual, physical and mental models to treat substance addiction and abuse. Research shows that the satisfaction of a person with a treatment model is a huge motivation to stay in treatment and finish rehab: two integral aspects of long-term recovery.

Methods used here include meditation, yoga, massage, acupressure and acupuncture to complement treatment with medical detox, individual counselling and behavioural therapies.  Holistic therapy aims to treat not only the problem of ketamine addiction, but the person as a whole.

Experiential Therapy

Experiential therapy is an engaging hands-on therapy option that helps recovering addicts deal with emotions and repressed feelings. Some people are uncomfortable opening up to therapists in a traditional setting. Through experiential therapy, you learn to face issues without turning to ketamine. It offers a comfortable environment, where people express themselves in activities like rock climbing, sculpting, rope courses, recreation therapy, music therapy, adventure therapy and wilderness therapy.

12-Step Groups

Some ketamine users who don’t require inpatient treatment head straight to a 12-step group. These groups are a wonderful part of the recovery journey. There isn’t a specific group for ketamine users, but Narcotics Anonymous (NA) groups accept ketamine recovering addicts. The group helps people reach milestones in their recovery journey by completing a 12-step programme and attending regular meetings. It’s a great place to meet other people who’ve experienced the same high and withdrawal effects as you.

You’ll network, find support buddies, sponsors and resources that help you stay sober and function without illicit drugs. Many addicts testify to the efficacy of 12-step groups. Signs of ketamine addiction are similar to other addiction syndromes, so Narcotics Anonymous benefits you as much as other recovering addicts. If you’re not comfortable with the strict guidelines have to follow in the 12-step programme, others such as SMART Recovery and LifeRing use research-backed techniques to empower members on the recovery journey.

Ketamine Addiction Treatment Can Help You Quit

There’s no doubt that ketamine is an addictive drug. Partygoers consume ketamine because it offers temporary happiness and escape from reality. However, it’s important to note that you can develop tolerance very quickly and you’ll soon be dependent and progress to addiction.

If you or your loved one are struggling with ketamine abuse or addiction, help is available. Don’t wait any longer: contact an addiction specialist today and start getting your life back on track.


Is Ketamine Addictive

Ketamine is psychologically addictive. People abuse it to feel happy. If you start using ketamine and continue, you’ll develop dependence and need higher amounts to feel the required high. Physical signs of ketamine addiction include incontinence, frequent state of drowsiness and redness of the skin.

Is Treatment Necessary?

Some people can go cold turkey and never look back. Others try to detox at home, but relapse into an overdose. Getting safe, medical treatment provides tools you’ll need to quit ketamine and stay sober. You can register as an outpatient or inpatient, depending on the severity of your addiction and unique needs.

Have people who hold you accountable, such as a sober coach or counsellor. Your therapist is always on hand to help you deal with difficult emotions of depression and anxiety that sometimes surface.

What Happens after Treatment?

After rehab, the goal is to stay sober and use coping skills you learnt in rehab to live a healthy, meaningful life. In the early stages after rehab, relapse prevention is important. Some tips include:

  • Maintain a schedule for sleep.
  • Exercise regularly and work with a nutritionist to build good eating habits.
  • Attend regular meetings and find a support group that helps you stay sober.
  • Surround yourself with people who have the same goals and get a sponsor who’ll be there for you on difficult days.
  • Avoid people in your past who enabled drug use.
  • Identify triggers.
  • Structure your day and avoid idleness.
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Call our admissions line 24 hours a day to get help.