Hallucinogen drugs have a reputation for being less addictive than opiates and stimulants, and rightfully so. Most types of hallucinogens carry little to no abuse or addiction potential, though certain dangers exist all the same. This is not the case with ketamine. Ketamine exists as one of the few hallucinogens that carry a high addiction potential.
In general, drug detox addresses the aftereffects of drug abuse since stopping drug use tends to bring on uncomfortable withdrawal effects. Ultimately, the overall purpose of detox treatment works to help a person maintain make it through the detox stage.
While ketamine doesn’t necessarily produce physical withdrawal, the addiction component poses just as big a threat to continued abstinence as physical withdrawal. Understanding how ketamine addiction works can shed some light on why ketamine detox treatment is essential to a successful recovery process.
Ketamine Effects on Neurotransmitter Processes
Ketamine is an anesthetic drug commonly used in veterinary medicine for surgical procedures. The drug’s anesthetic properties also give rise to hallucinatory experiences when used for recreational purposes. These effects result from ketamine’s interactions within the brain’s chemical system.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, ketamine interferes with two of the brain’s neurotransmitter pathways: glutamate and dopamine. Chemical neurotransmitters relay information throughout the brain’s centers as well as throughout the body’s central nervous system. Glutamate’s role works to regulate the brain’s electrical activity, whereas dopamine coordinates pain, pleasure, learning and memory processes.
In effect, ketamine’s interference slows glutamate production while increasing dopamine output. The overall effect essentially blocks all incoming sensory information from the body leaving the brain to create and exist within its own reality or consciousness. These developments account for the drug’s hallucinatory effects.
For help finding ketamine detox programs in your area, call 800-601-3889.
Unlike other types of addictive drugs, stopping ketamine doesn’t typically bring on physical withdrawal effects. Granted, a person may feel somewhat disoriented during the first few days of ketamine detox; however, the uncomfortable symptoms commonly experienced during drug withdrawal like fatigue, insomnia and nausea doesn’t happen with ketamine.
Ketamine withdrawal shows up within a person’s psychological state in terms of his or her thinking and emotions. In effect, ketamine abuse breeds psychological dependence, creating belief systems that prioritize the drug’s role in a person’s life, according to the University of Maryland.
At this point, users rely on ketamine to cope with daily life pressures on both a mental and emotional level. This degree of dependency can drive a person to resume drug use just as easily as physical withdrawal symptoms can.
The Need for Ketamine Detox Treatment
As with any form of addiction, ketamine addiction drives compulsive, drug-using behaviors. Herein lies the need for ketamine detox treatment. Ketamine’s effects on a person’s psychological well-being bring on distressing symptoms, including:
- Severe depression
- Anxiety episodes
- Inability to sleep
- Intense drug cravings
In the absence of ketamine detox treatment, the likelihood a person will give in to the urge to resume drug use runs extremely high.
If you or someone you know struggles with ketamine abuse and have questions about treatment options in your area, please feel free to call our toll-free helpline at 800-601-3889 to speak with one of our addictions specialists.