By definition something becomes an addiction when you lose control over your usage of it. In this case, a ketamine addiction would mean that you are no longer able to say ‘no’ to the drug, whether it is offered to you by someone or you have the urge to take it.
According to the America Society of Addictive Medicine, addiction is a chronic disease of brain reward, motivation, memory, and related circuitry. The reward experienced from doing drugs like ketamine, the ‘high’, trains the brain to recognize that the drugs lead to a high, and eventually can wire the reward system to seek out the drug. Ketamine addiction is characterized by the inability to abstain from ketamine, and the increasing lack of attention to problems ketamine is causing in one’s life.
Signs of Ketamine Addiction
Though ketamine is not on the same level as drugs like cocaine, meth, and heroin in terms of addictive potential, it does come with its fair share of dangers. According to Brown University, people who use ketamine can become tolerant to the drug, needing to take more of it to feel the same effects as previously. It can also cause drug cravings. These factors and others prove that it is indeed potentially addictive.
If you or someone you love is worried about your ketamine use and concerned that you may need help for ketamine addiction there are some signs to look out for. Of course, any use of ketamine is considered unhealthy and undesirable as well, but an addiction can mean a much harder time stopping.
A person who is addicted to ketamine may:
- Spend the majority of their time high on ketamine
- Spend all of their money on ketamine
- Get high on ketamine despite consequences in work, school, social and romantic life
- Deny that they have a problem
- Lose interest in things they previously found pleasurable
- Stop paying attention to things like hygiene and diet
- Develop an increasing ketamine tolerance
- Experience an emotional response when unable to use ketamine, such as depression, irritability or insomnia
Ketamine addiction is dangerous, as ketamine can harm your psychological well-being for a long time. According to a study from University College London, frequent ketamine users, which all people addicted would be, are at risk for long-term impairments to psychological well-being including memory, attention, and thinking ability.
Help for Ketamine Addiction
Getting help for ketamine addiction is a great decision, one that will get you on the way to a healthier and happier life. Ketamine addiction treatment begins with a detox from ketamine, where individuals take time to rid their bodies of ketamine. The good thing here is that ketamine does not produce any physical withdrawal symptoms, unlike opiates or meth. In a treatment program individuals will have medical supervision and will be able to detox safely. Detox will come with cravings, however, which is why it is extremely helpful and recommended to detox in a treatment center.
Help for ketamine addiction usually consists of psychotherapy in one-on-one and group settings. Therapy helps individuals who are addicted to ketamine learn how to cope with cravings, and to prevent future drug use by recognizing triggers that would normally lead to drug use. Group therapy helps people deal with and overcome their addiction by sharing experiences with others who are going through something similar. Aftercare is often recommended, as well. This may be going to see a counselor regularly after leaving treatment, attending meetings or support groups, or another form of aftercare.