Ketamine Addiction and Ketamine Rehab

What is ketamine?


Ketamine has long been associated with being a “night club drug,” and also linked with the use of Ecstasy. It comes in the form of a white or off-white powder and can also be made in a pill or liquid form. It is a highly addictive drug.  It is also known as a “date rape drug” as it can render the user unconscious and give them memory loss from the time the drug was taken.

It is used legally by vets as a tranquiliser or anaesthetic. In particular it is used on horses when a strong tranquiliser is needed.  When used illegally, it is used to get “high,” as it acts on different chemicals in the brain to produce sound and sight distortion and a feeling of detachment from reality.

Because of the different forms it is produced in, it can be snorted, swallowed, injected, and even smoked with tobacco. Whichever form it is taken in, the effects will last up to about an hour, but for some people their coordination and senses could be affected for up to 24 hours after use. 

What are the effects of ketamine?

Legally prescribed, it has been proven, through clinical trials, to help with depression. However, used illegally there is no recommended safe dosage and, as with any drug, it will affect everyone in a different way.  This will depend on a combination of:

  1. The strength of the particular batch of Ketamine. As with Cocaine, it can be cut with all sorts of different ingredients
  2. The amount taken and how often it is taken
  3. The height and weight of the user and long they have been using it / the tolerance they have built up
  4. Any other drugs taken at the same time, and the combined effect of this

Any of the following effects may be experienced

  1. Confusion and unsteady with walking
  2. Increased heart rate and raised blood pressure
  3. Vomiting
  4. Feeling anxious
  5. Feeling of paranoia and becoming unreasonably violent to others
  6. Hallucinating with what we see and hear
  7. Out of body experience

Risks of using ketamine

It is possible to overdose on Ketamine but unlike overdosing on Heroin there is a minimal risk of death. The risk, though, is when Ketamine is used with other drugs such as alcohol and opiates which affect the functioning of the heart. Also, Ketamine used with ecstasy and cocaine can lead to a highly increased heart rate which could result in a heart attack or medically weaken the heart.

Ketamine detox

Generally, those seeking help for Ketamine addiction tend to be of a young age. If they have also recently been trying out other drugs, these need to be discussed with the clinic doctor on admission.

There is no medically prescribed ketamine detox, but being admitted to a residential rehab or addiction clinic while the drug leaves the body and to counter the obsession with using, is by far the safest option for anyone who decides that their addiction is totally destroying their life or who realises that if they don’t do something about it now it will lead them further down that destructive path.

Undoubtedly, some people will try and stop on their own thinking that will power is enough to succeed in stopping taking the drug. However they will probably find that they are not able to stop permanently which will make the situation worse and inevitably heighten their feelings of depression and possibly even lead to them having thoughts of suicide as the only way out.  

A ketamine detox is not life threatening but can be quite uncomfortable.  The withdrawal symptoms can last from 3 days to 2 weeks, depending on length and amount of use and if the drug has been used in conjunction with any other drugs. It is common for strong cravings to persist in the first few days as you go through psychological discomfort as the body detoxes. Apart from strong cravings for the drug, other symptoms of Ketamine withdrawal are:

  1. Hallucinations and cognitive/mental impairment
  2. Anger and rapid mood swings
  3. Deep depression
  4. Nausea
  5. Fluctuation in heart rate
  6. General confused state
  7. Agitation and an inability to control body movements

Whilst in a Clinic such as The Haynes Clinic, you will be under the care of the Clinic’s doctor.  This is particularly important for a Ketamine detox as it is a sedative and using it has created higher episodes of blood pressure fluctuation and a racing heart.  Therefore, when you suddenly stop using it your heart rate could change or you could suffer sudden fluctuations of heart rate. Whilst in residential rehab treatment it is very important that you are monitored for these symptoms.

Whilst a Ketamine detox can be challenging, it really helps that you are in a residential rehab environment with others who are also going through their respective detoxes from their drug of choice.  There is a feeling of support from others and an encouragement that cannot be achieved when trying to detox at home. In addition you are in a safe place where you are removed from temptation.

Ketamine rehab

Very critical, at this time and for the duration of your treatment, is group therapy and an understanding of the 12 Step programme of Recovery.  Therapy will start on the day or the day after you are admitted to residential rehab care. In order to change our old behaviour we need to change our thinking and this is processed through therapy and written work assignments. 

The normal and recommended residential period is 28 days.  Some people, due to financial constraints or even work commitments, say they can only commit to the minimum period of 14 days.  This can be a false economy as it is difficult to get permanently well after only 14 days (which could ultimately mean loss of employment).

Online aftercare is available for all who have been to the Haynes Clinic and for those completing the 28 day rehab programme at The Haynes Clinic there is a full day of Rehab Aftercare every week.  This ongoing support can also be critical to staying off Ketamine or other drugs as you are having continued ongoing support from therapists and clinical staff that you trust and are willing to share post treatment issues with.

The odds of remaining well after residential rehab treatment are greatly increased due to the professional and medical support that we are given.