What Are the Withdrawals Associated with Ketamine?

Ketamine was approved for medical use in the United States in the 1970s, and it has been successfully used as an anesthetic and tranquilizer for people and in veterinary medicine. As a dissociative anesthetic, the substance stops memory formation and induces unconsciousness, which is important for surgery or other intense medical procedures. However, since ketamine was listed as Schedule III by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), it has fallen out of favor as a surgical anesthetic.

Ketamine induces a sense of euphoria and relaxation, and it can cause hallucinations, so it has become a substance of misuse at clubs, raves, and concerts. Initially, ketamine was diverted from hospitals and veterinary clinics in the 1970s and 1980s, but more recently, the substance has been imported from clandestine laboratories and sold either in powdered or tablet form, or falsely sold as ecstasy or cocaine.

Ketamine Side Effects

The most common effects associated with ketamine misuse include:

  • Amnesia or memory problems
  • Trouble thinking or speaking
  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired physical coordination or functioning
  • Delirium
  • Disorientation
  • Dissociation
  • Derealization
  • Hallucinations
  • Tachycardia, or rapid heartbeat
  • Muscle rigidity
  • Aggressive or violent behavior toward oneself or others
  • Seizures

Without medical supervision, it is easy to take too much ketamine. Many of the common symptoms associated with ketamine misuse are also overdose symptoms, so call 911 if these are present. Ketamine overdose can happen rapidly, so someone experiencing this condition needs emergency medical attention right away.

Why Is It Hard to Stop Misusing Ketamine?

Many hallucinogenic drugs are not considered addictive, but ketamine also changes mood-altering neurotransmitters. This can impact the brain’s reward system and quickly lead to addiction. Ketamine binds to receptors in the brain that prevent the uptake of serotonin, dopamine, and glutamate, which are all associated with elevated mood, euphoria, and intoxication. It uncouples neuronal communication between the thalamus and cerebral cortex, so ketamine can change memory, motor function, sensory perception, and emotions. At the same time, the drug also stimulates the limbic system, so motivation and emotional regulation are changed, too.

Hallucinations begin within minutes after ketamine has been ingested, and the changes in neurotransmitter levels can lead to a comedown similar to what is experienced with ecstasy or MDMA; intense depression, exhaustion, and physical discomfort are all associated with the day following too much ketamine. This discomfort has triggered ketamine binges in people who seek the same euphoria they experienced the first time they took the drug.

Ketamine Withdrawal Symptoms

Ketamine withdrawal symptoms are like those of many other drugs; they are predominantly psychological, including mood swings and intense cravings. The mental and emotional discomfort associated with quitting a substance can lead to relapse if one does not have medical supervision during the process, so it is important to get help from addiction specialists before detoxing from ketamine or any other addictive drug.

The most common ketamine withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Depression
  • Flashbacks similar to those caused by other hallucinogenic drugs, like LSD

Withdrawal Timeline from Ketamine

The process of ketamine detox can be specific to each individual. There are no medication-assisted treatments (MATs) for ketamine addiction like there are for opioid or alcohol addiction, and withdrawal symptoms are likely to cause physical and psychological discomfort. Unfortunately, it is difficult to determine how long the period of withdrawal can last, as this can depend on many factors, such as how much ketamine was being misused and for how long, if other addictive substances were being misused simultaneously, and if the individual has any existing physical or mental health conditions.

Seeking professional assistance when attempting to stop ketamine misuse can be beneficial, as specialists can work to ensure an individual’s overall safety and comfort so the withdrawal process can go as smoothly and as quickly as possible.

Ketamine Misuse & Addiction Help

At our inpatient rehab in Las Vegas, we understand that attempting to overcome an addiction to ketamine on your own can be nearly impossible, which is why we are here to help you as you work towards a life of recovery. By calling us right now at , you can be connected with one of our kind, compassionate rehab admissions navigators who can provide you with more information regarding the types of rehab we offer and the different ways to treat addiction. We can also answer any of your questions, including those regarding insurance plans that cover treatment and handling the cost of rehab.

Do not wait any longer. Contact us right now to get started on a new tomorrow.

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