As of the more popular dissociative-type hallucinogens, ketamine abuse practices have become commonplace among young people within nightclubs, party scenes and “raves.” Ketamine’s dissociative effects produce the types of vivid hallucinations and out-of-body experiences that can enhance the party experience. Unlike other drugs within the hallucinogen class, ketamine also carries a high potential for addiction when used on a regular basis.
Ketamine addiction takes over a person’s life, much like any other form of addiction. Once a person reaches a point where he or she can’t stop using the drug, the need for ketamine addiction treatment becomes increasingly apparent to friends and loved ones. Ultimately, ketamine addiction treatment provides those in recovery with the tools needed to build and maintain a drug-free lifestyle.
According to New York University at Steinhardt, ketamine’s effects stem from the drug’s interactions with glutamate and dopamine-producing cells in the brain. Both glutamate and dopamine act as chemical messengers, transmitting information between the brain’s major centers.
Ketamine increases glutamate output, thereby slowing electrical activity in the brain. Dopamine outputs increase as well, which works to interfere with pain/pleasure sensations and skew learning and memory operations within the brain’s reward center. With frequent drug use, ketamine eventually warps brain reward system activities at which point the addiction cycle begins.
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Ketamine Addiction Treatment Objectives
For the most part, ketamine addiction treatment focuses on helping a person replace compulsive drug-using behaviors with healthy ways of coping with daily life, according to Brown University Health. While ketamine doesn’t usually produce the types of withdrawal symptoms that come with opiate or stimulant-based addictions, helping a person abstain from further drug use still remains the overall focus in detox treatment.
In effect, ketamine withdrawal effects most impact a person’s emotional well-being bringing on the following symptoms:
Without out some form of professional detox treatment help, these symptoms can quickly overwhelm a person’s ability to maintain abstinence for any length of time.
The overall focus of ketamine addiction treatment works to “retrain” the brain’s reward system in terms of replacing addiction-based thinking and behavior with a drug-free mindset. Behavioral treatment interventions enable a person to work through the underlying emotional issues that drive compulsive drug use while providing tools and strategies for managing addiction in daily life.
Behavioral interventions commonly used in ketamine addiction treatment include:
- Stress management training
- Relapse prevention strategies
- Group therapies
- Support group work
- Individual psychotherapy
Behavioral treatment interventions can be administered within any type of treatment setting, which vary according to intensity level. For instance, someone dealing with a mild addiction problem may only require outpatient-based behavioral treatment, while people struggling with chronic, long-term addiction problems will likely require residential treatment care.
Many people choose hallucinogen drugs over opiates and stimulants to avoid the high addiction potential that comes with these other drug types. Those who opt for ketamine will still experience the same struggles and challenges in recovery as opiate and stimulant addicts do. For these reasons, it’s imperative to seek out needed treatment help before a developing ketamine addiction becomes completely unmanageable.
If you or someone you know struggles with ketamine addiction and need help finding treatment that meets your needs, please feel free to call our toll-free helpline at 800-601-3889 (Who Answers?) to speak with one of our addictions specialists.