What is ketamine?

Conventionally, Ketamine is known to be used in veterinary medicine as an anaesthetic. Occasionally, in paediatric medicine it’s used for the same purpose. The drug can both relieve pain and create strong hallucinations. The Ketamine that people acquire off the street is generally likely to have been stolen from vets or clinics. Users of ‘ket’ commonly snort it in a powder form. Yet, it can be administered intravenously as a liquid.
When a user injects Ketamine they will feel the effects almost instantly. Yet, when it is snorted there will be a delay of roughly 5-10 minutes before the user will start feeling affected.

Different trips

Although Ketamine is not addictive physically, a person can become addicted psychologically as it can be a very habitual drug. Users of the drug reportedly comment their surprise at the first addictive psychedelic encounter. Taking these kinds of drugs when you are feeling happy and content means you are more likely to have a good trip. If you use ‘ket’ when you are feeling anxious or depressed, its effect can magnify those feelings. A bad trip is similar to a nightmare. You may see disturbing or even frightening things. The difference is that unlike a nightmare, you will need just to let the feeling pass until it is over, no matter how long it takes.

Tolerance of ketamine

Developing a tolerance for a drug is when the user needs to take more in order to achieve the desired effect. This means the user is taking larger amounts and putting greater strains on their bodies. It is very quick and easy to build up a tolerance to Ketamine. Those that inject the drug have the potential to build up a permanent tolerance. They will never be able to experience the hallucinations again. It is very difficult to overdose on Ketamine as one will pass out before the user can administer more to procure death.


As described earlier, it is not a physical but a psychological addiction that one develops to Ketamine. The user will start relating the effects of the drug use with pleasurable experiences. Limited access to the drug could mean emotional withdrawal symptoms are triggered within the user, such as depression and insomnia. Such psychological addictions can lead to the user binging. This is where the addict will continue to use the drug in order to experience the effects for as long as possible.

The question of withdrawal symptoms

There are no apparent physical withdrawal symptoms in chronic Ketamine users and addicts. There have been some subjective notations of tension, twitchiness and restlessness in abstinent long term users. This may be due more to the sedative Norketamine (a breakdown product of Ketamine) lingering in the blood stream.

A long-term rehabilitation centre treats ketamine addictions. If you know anyone who suffers from an addiction the best route to recovery is a 12-step programme.

If you or someone you love has a problem with Ketamine, or any other drugs or alcohol, call 01462 851 414 for confidential help and advice.