Unfortunately, ketamine does seem to be a drug capable of causing addiction. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “There have been reports of people binging on ketamine, a behavior that is similar to that seen in some cocaine- or amphetamine-dependent individuals.” In addition, “ketamine users can develop signs of tolerance and cravings for the drug,” which only further proves the likelihood that a frequent abuser of the drug has of becoming addicted to it.
Though there is no specific treatment program in existence for ketamine abuse like those associated with heroin, cocaine, or alcoholism, people can go to professional treatment centers and receive help for their addiction to the drug. However, many people wonder how long they will still be addicted to it after treatment has ended.
Addiction Treatment Does Not Cure; It Encourages Recovery
The NIDA states, “Treatment enables people to counteract addiction’s powerful disruptive effects on the brain and behavior and to regain control of their lives.” This means it helps teach addicts how to behave more safely and in their own best interest, how to cope better with stress and other issues that often lead to drug abuse, and how to avoid using drugs like ketamine even when they begin craving them. That said, treatment itself is not a cure but more of a program that facilitates the acts of making better choices and avoiding drug abuse.
Addiction has very high relapse rates, similar to other chronic diseases like asthma and diabetes, and treatment does not claim to keep people from relapsing for the rest of their lives. Instead, it gives them the tools they need to better avoid relapse and to live safer, more productive lives.
How Long Does Ketamine Addiction Last?
Due to the minimal research on the subject of ketamine addiction and the fact that all people––as well as all substance use disorders––are different, it is extremely difficult to pinpoint how long someone’s ketamine addiction may last. You may feel that your desire for the drug is still with you long after treatment has ended but that the issues you experience from it become fewer and farther between with time. However, it is likely that you will be addicted to ketamine for a long time once the drug makes the changes to your brain that cause tolerance, dependence, withdrawal symptoms, and drug-seeking behavior.
Some people feel they never stop being addicted to a drug once this issue takes hold, but it really depends on the individual and their experience. If you go through ketamine addiction treatment, you may still consider yourself addicted to the drug, but you will likely no longer be abusing it, nor experiencing the severe side effects it was causing on your life. This is the most important way in which treatment can help you and ensure that you stay away from further ketamine abuse during your life in recovery.