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Ketamine Addiction: Signs, Symptoms & Treatment

Written By: Erika Dalton, LCSW
Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Rahul Gupta, MD
Last Updated: February 27, 2023

Home » Drug Addiction » Ketamine Addiction: Signs, Symptoms & Treatment

Some people take ketamine under controlled circumstances supervised by a medical professional. Others obtain it through illegal channels and use it recreationally. While many people may not think about the downside of drug use, those who use it may find themselves wondering, “Is ketamine addictive?” Buckhead Behavioral Health offers focused treatment for addiction to a variety of drugs, including ketamine. Our detox and other outpatient rehab programs teach people to understand their triggers and put drug abuse in their past.

What is Ketamine?

Ketamine is an anesthetic drug given to people before surgery. Some veterinarians use it when performing procedures on animals. At this time, ketamine is used mainly as a surgical tool, although it is sometimes used to help people who have treatment-resistant depression. In the latter case, people take the drug in a nasal spray under the guidance of the prescribing clinician.

If you or a loved one are looking for Ketamine addiction treatment, call us now at (470) 460-6789 or fill out the form below and one of our admissions representatives will reach out to you.


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How Does Ketamine Affect People?

When under the influence of ketamine, people experience hallucinogenic effects, the inability to move, and amnesia related to what happened once the drug took effect. It causes unconsciousness if given at a high enough dosage. While its usage should only be for medical or psychological treatment, some people use ketamine as a recreational drug. They take it in order to feel high and may combine it with the usage of other substances. Regardless of why and how a person takes it, many have a question: Is ketamine addictive?

Can You Get Addicted to Ketamine?

Ketamine is classified as a Schedule III/IIIN drug, which means it has a potential for abuse. Is ketamine addictive on the same level as narcotics like heroin and fentanyl? No, it’s not, but chronic usage or abuse can cause a physical or psychological dependence. Someone who experiences a mental health disorder like anxiety or depression may use ketamine to help alleviate their symptoms. Others may use it simply as a way to feel euphoria or “check out” of life for short periods of time. Ketamine can become addictive, especially when the person who abuses it experiences memory loss and cannot recall any dangerous, ill-advised, or unhealthy acts they committed while under the influence. When this happens, they don’t have a real understanding of how the drug affects them, which makes it difficult to decide to seek help.

Signs and Symptoms of Ketamine Addiction

There are signs that ketamine has become addictive for a person. Many people experience the following symptoms of ketamine addiction:

  • Regular usage of the drug
  • Trying to stop using it but not being able to do so
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not using the drug for a period of time
  • Blackout periods when under the influence
  • Obtaining the drug illegally
  • Isolation
  • Using ketamine with other substances to increase or regulate the high
  • Hallucinations
  • Difficulty thinking 
  • Loss of coordination
  • Distorted perception of time
  • Unsure of what is real and what is not
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Paranoia

Can You Overdose on Ketamine?

Besides wondering, “Is ketamine addictive?”, another concern many people have is if they can overdose on this drug. Overdose and even death from taking too much ketamine are possible. Signs that someone is experiencing a ketamine overdose include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Feeling tired
  • Slurred speech
  • Impaired cognitive skills
  • Hallucinations
  • Extremely sedated
  • Unconsciousness
  • Difficulty feeling any pain
  • Respiratory depression
  • Seizures
  • Psychosis

Ketamine Withdrawal Symptoms

When someone stops abusing ketamine, they will undergo withdrawal symptoms. Which kind and how impactful they are depends on the amount of ketamine the individual typically consumes, how long they have had their addiction, and their current physical and mental health. Common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Nausea
  • Impaired motor skills
  • Cognitive difficulties
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Shakiness
  • Lethargy
  • Psychosis
  • Hallucinations
  • Feeling moody or agitated

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How Is Ketamine Addiction Treated?

Treatment for ketamine addiction begins with attending a detox program, which generally lasts about a week. After that, a person can transition to residential care, which requires them to live in a rehab facility while undergoing continued treatment. Other people find that outpatient programs, which do not require a person to move out of their homes, fit their needs. The bulk of work done in ketamine addiction treatment involves attending several types of therapy that help people understand their substance use disorders and overcome them. Over time, they develop healthy coping skills and lose the compulsion to get high. This helps the person to avoid triggers to relapse while in treatment and well into the future.

Someone attending a detox program or subsequent treatment program for addiction can be provided with medications that help ease their withdrawal symptoms. Support can be provided for both the medical and emotional symptoms in order to keep people from suffering needlessly.

Begin Ketamine Addiction Treatment in Atlanta

If you have found that ketamine is addictive for you, Buckhead Behavioral Health can help you find your way out of your addiction. Our skilled and experienced staff provides compassionate care for those who struggle with substance use disorders. We don’t believe in cookie-cutter approaches to healing. Instead, we find out exactly what each person needs in terms of medical and psychological support in order to heal from addiction. Our outpatient programs allow you to live at home and travel to our facility to participate in several addiction-related therapies. This allows you to still be around your family and friends while getting the valuable care you deserve during the day.

If you would like to know how we can help you stop abusing ketamine, contact us today. Our goal is to help you find a way out of addiction so you can live your best life.

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