Ketamine belongs to a class of drugs known as dissociative anesthetics. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, this drug’s anesthetic effect has become popular within the “club scene,” attracting teens and young adults who frequent bars, parties and nightclubs. Ketamine also exists as one of a handful of “date rape” drugs due to its ability to incapacitate users, leaving them vulnerable to sexual assault.
Ketamine effects distort a person’s perception of sight and sound causing feelings of detachment from self and the surrounding environment. Ketamine addiction treatment helps addicts restore a healthy perception of self and others.
Ketamine works by triggering the release of glutamate, a brain neurotransmitter chemical. It does this through its interactions with glutamate-producing cell receptor sites in the brain.
As a neurotransmitter substance, glutamate regulates cognition, learning and memory processes. This chemical also mediates excitatory signal transmissions between nerve cells throughout the central nervous system.
Ketamine’s ability to increase ketamine levels in the brain accounts for the “high” effects users experience. In low doses, these effects include:
- Attention deficits
- Learning impairment
- Problems remembering things
In high dosage amounts, effects include:
- Comatose-like state
Unlike other hallucinogen drugs, users can become dependent on ketamine’s effects, according to the University of Maryland. Ketamine produces a short-term “high” effect, which creates psychological dependency at a fast rate. Ketamine addiction treatment helps addicts overcome emotion-based withdrawal effects and break the mind’s psychological dependence on the drug.
5 Things to Look for in Ketamine Addiction Treatment
1. Level of Treatment
Addiction’s effects manifest in different ways for different people. Whereas one person may struggle with a mild to moderate addiction, another may be dealing with a severe addiction problem.
Likewise, ketamine addiction treatment varies in level or intensity of treatment. More than anything else, it’s imperative to find a ketamine addiction treatment program that’s equipped to address your specific treatment needs.
Levels of ketamine addiction treatment take the following forms:
- Detox treatment – treats the physical dependency aspect of addiction
- Inpatient care – intensive treatment approach for addressing the most severe of addiction problems
- Residential care – a live-in treatment setting designed to help addicts develop drug-free lifestyles
- Outpatient care – loosely structured treatment approach for people further along in the recovery process
As a general rule, the more severe the addiction the more intensive and structured the ketamine addiction treatment program should be.
2. Detox Withdrawal Treatment
Once a person stops using ketamine, the brain and body go through withdrawal. Withdrawal stems from the body’s physical dependence on the drug. Withdrawal effects play an active role in perpetuating drug-using behaviors, which accounts for why it’s so hard for people to stop using.
Within the ketamine addiction treatment process, detox care becomes a necessary first step towards breaking the drug’s hold over a person’s life. Detox-specific programs and most inpatient programs offer this form of treatment.
While it is possible to detox on your own, the supports and medical care provided by ketamine addiction treatment programs offer the best chance of making it through this difficult stage.
3. Therapy-Based Treatment
Most of the ketamine addiction treatment process entails helping addicts work through their psychological dependence on the drug. In effect, psychological dependence drives a person to believe that he or she can’t cope with daily life without the drug’s effects.
A psychological dependence also breeds its own behaviors and routines to create a lifestyle that centers around getting and using the drug. An effective ketamine addiction treatment program will employ a range of therapy-based treatments as part of their overall treatment approach.
Types of therapy-based treatment offered include:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy
- Group therapy
- Interpersonal therapy
Each type of therapy is designed to help addicts work through different aspects of dependency and over time, replace addiction-based thinking and behaviors with a drug-free mindset.
4. Treatment for Co-Occurring Conditions
Ketamine’s effect on glutamate chemical levels gradually offsets the brain’s natural chemical balance over time. Brain chemical imbalances in any form become a breeding ground for psychological disorders to take root.
In the case of long-term drug use, addicts often develop co-occurring psychological conditions, such as depression and/or anxiety disorders. Treating the addiction only leaves a person open to relapse since the symptoms of psychological disorder will continue to aggravate a person’s desire to resume drug use.
For these reasons, it’s important to find a ketamine addiction treatment program that has experience in dealing with co-occurring disorders. Experienced ketamine addiction treatment programs will use an integrated treatment approach in terms of treating addiction and mental illness together as opposed to treating these conditions separately.
4. The 12 Step Support Model
The psychological effects of ketamine on a person’s mind essentially warp his or her ability to interact with others in healthy ways. The 12 Step Support model provides recovering addicts with the direction and tools needed to develop healthy relationship building skills.
The 12 Step Support model also emphasizes the importance of social supports throughout the recovery process, according to the U. S. Department of Justice. As with any other goal or life pursuit, having a support system in place can make a tremendous difference in terms of helping a person stay engaged in the recovery process.
A good ketamine addiction treatment program will incorporate the 12 Step Support model within its overall treatment approach. Since developing a healthy mindset is the overall goal of ketamine addiction treatment, social supports can prove invaluable in helping a person work through destructive thinking and behavior patterns.
Unlike most other hallucinogen drug types, ketamine’s short-term effects can quickly drive users to engage in bingeing practices, which entail ingesting multiple doses of the drug at once. This practice speeds up the rate of addiction and also makes for a more severe addiction problem.
People who’ve engaged in bingeing behaviors will likely require intensive ketamine addiction treatment due to the degree of brain chemical imbalance this level of drug use causes. Ultimately, the sooner you seek out needed ketamine addiction treatment the better as breaking the addiction will only get harder the longer you wait.