Ketamine, one of a handful of dissociative-type hallucinogens, produces anesthetic-like effects, placing it in a select group commonly known as “date rape” drugs. Ketamine also produces short-term effects that incite users to ingest the drug more frequently and in increasingly greater dosage amounts.
According to the University of Maryland, ketamine works by disconnecting information pathways between the brain and body, leaving the brain to enter an expanded state of awareness. During this time, users experience:
- A sense of floating
- Elevated pain threshold
- Changes in time perception
- Loss of motor coordination
Ketamine addiction develops out of the drug’s short-acting effects and the psychological dependence that forms with ongoing use. With ongoing use comes an increasing tolerance to the drug’s effects, which further contributes to a growing addiction.
Like most any other form of addiction, getting over a ketamine addiction takes time and effort, but it can be done. While some people may be able to accomplish this on an outpatient basis, others may well require professional treatment help.
Tips for Getting Over a Ketamine Addiction
Over the course of a ketamine addiction, the drug’s effects gradually incapacitate the brain’s ability to regulate bodily functions. By the time addiction sets in, the brain has come to rely on the drug to regulate bodily functions.
For those at the early stage of addiction, slowly tapering drug dosage amounts over time may make for a good overall start. While tapering can be difficult, this approach greatly reduces the severity of withdrawal effects experienced.
As stopping drug use, one way or another, is a necessary first step to overcoming addiction, people struggling with long-term or chronic ketamine addiction may want to consider entering a detox treatment program. With severe addiction, users not only develop a physical dependence on the drug, but also a psychological dependence, according to Brown University Health Education. Under these conditions, the urge to use the drug becomes too overwhelming to overcome on one’s own.
Whether mild or severe, the psychological dependence that comes with ketamine addiction alters a person’s belief systems, needs and motivations. Psychotherapy helps addicts undo these effects and develop healthy coping behaviors for managing daily life without the need for the drug’s effects.
4. Medication Treatment
Long-term ketamine use produces considerable brain chemical imbalance, a condition that can easily breed psychological disorders. People struggling with symptoms of depression or bouts of anxiety will likely require medication to manage these conditions. Otherwise, ketamine addiction will persist in response to the mental and emotional distress these conditions bring.
5. Support Groups
The guidance and encouragement of support groups can prove invaluable when trying to overcome ketamine addiction. Twelve Step support groups in particular incorporate a personal development program that helps those in recovery overcome the addiction mindset.
Like any other addictive drug, ketamine has a cumulative effect on brain function, so the sooner a person takes steps to get over a ketamine addiction the better. It’s especially important to get the level of help or treatment that best addresses your specific treatment needs, otherwise the abuse and addiction cycle will continue.