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Ketamine Withdrawal and Detox

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Professional care for ketamine addiction can take many forms and involve a wide array of therapies and support services. For people who have been unable to get through ketamine withdrawal on their own, a detox program may be the ideal start to treatment. 

If you or a loved one are struggling, Nashville Treatment Solutions can help. Our addiction treatment in Nashville help become the catalyst to a new life in sobriety. Call us now at 615-234-9071 or verify your insurance now. 

What Is Ketamine?

Ketamine is a powerful drug that is classified as a dissociative anesthetic. Its effects include elevated mood, sedation, pain relief, and short-term memory loss. 

The drug was first synthesized in 1962, and trials involving humans began in 1964. It initially earned approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 1970, after which the U.S. military began to use it as a battlefield anesthetic for soldiers who were wounded in Vietnam. 

Ketamine is safe and effective when used by qualified healthcare providers for legitimate purposes, but it can be profoundly dangerous when misused or abused. The potential negative outcomes of improper ketamine use include addiction, overdose, and death.

Why Do People Use Ketamine?

People who use ketamine are typically doing so for one of three reasons:

  • Medical: Ketamine continues to be employed as a preoperative anesthetic today. However, its use is often restricted to specific populations, such as patients with asthma or other respiratory conditions, pregnant women who are about to undergo a cesarean section, and children with certain heart defects. It is also used to alleviate pain, especially among burn victims.

  • Mental health: In 2019, the FDA approved a ketamine variant called esketamine to treat patients with major depressive disorder whose symptoms haven’t responded to other medications. Ongoing research indicates that ketamine may also be a beneficial element of care for people who have a variety of other mental health concerns, including anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and substance use disorders (addictions).

  • Recreation: Ketamine’s dissociative effects have made the drug attractive to people who are seeking a certain type of recreational high. It is often included in the informal category of “club drugs,” along with substances such as MDMA (ecstasy), Rohypnol, and GHB. Sadly, some sexual predators have used ketamine to incapacitate their victims and cloud their memories of the attack.

Any use of ketamine has the potential to cause addiction, but the risk is highest among those who misuse it either as a means of self-medication or solely for recreational purposes. Once a person becomes addicted to the drug, the distress of ketamine withdrawal can make it quite difficult for them to stop using it.

Ketamine Withdrawal Symptoms

The good news about ketamine withdrawal is that the experience is usually not life-threatening. The bad news is that it can be extremely uncomfortable.

While a person is in the process of withdrawing from ketamine, they may develop both physical and psychological symptoms.

Physical Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Tremors and shakiness
  • Deep exhaustion
  • Impaired coordination
  • Hearing and vision problems
  • Racing heart rate
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Heavy sweating
  • Muscle stiffness

Psychological Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Intense cravings for ketamine
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Anxiety and agitation
  • Mood swings
  • Hallucinations
  • Delusions
  • Cognitive impairments

Once a person stops using ketamine, it can take up to three days before they start to experience symptoms. Once the symptoms set in, they usually peak after a few days. However, some symptoms of ketamine withdrawal can persist for a month or longer.

As we noted at the beginning of this section, ketamine withdrawal poses minimal risk for serious health damage. But the discomfort that a person experiences – and the knowledge that they can end their distress simply by using the drug again – can derail a person’s efforts to stop using ketamine.

For people who become trapped by their inability to get through withdrawal, detoxification may be the ideal first step on the path toward successful recovery.

Benefits of Ketamine Detox

Detoxification, or detox, is a short-term program that is designed to help people get through the most difficult stages of withdrawal safely and with minimal suffering. Here are a few examples of the many potential benefits of completing ketamine withdrawal in a reputable detox program:

  • You will be in a safe, closely supervised environment where you won’t have access to ketamine or other addictive substances.
  • You will be under the care and supervision of professionals who may offer both medical and therapeutic support.
  • Your treatment team will be familiar with all aspects of ketamine withdrawal, so they will be prepared to address any contingencies that occur.
  • The success of completing withdrawal can demonstrate that you are capable of accomplishing more than you may have once believed.

Once you have completed detox, you can transition directly into a residential or outpatient program. This can minimize your risk of immediate relapse and help you establish a strong foothold in early recovery.

What Happens After Detox?

Getting through ketamine withdrawal can be an important step toward a drug-free future. But you need to be sure it’s not the only step you take.

Following detox, you may be best served by entering a residential rehab or one of the following outpatient programs:

During the post-detox phases of your treatment, you can focus on vital issues such as:

  • Resisting drug cravings and managing other long-term withdrawal symptoms
  • Identifying your triggers, which are the events or circumstances that could push you back into active addiction
  • Developing strategies for avoiding triggers or responding to them in a healthier manner
  • Learning how to manage stress, resolve conflicts, and communicate more effectively
  • Rebuilding relationships that were negatively affected by your ketamine use
  • Becoming an informed self-advocate
  • Sharing support with others who are working toward a similar goal

There is no single path that you must follow to remain in recovery. What’s most important is finding a provider who will take the time to get to know you as unique individual, then develop a customized treatment plan just for you. 

Find Treatment for Ketamine Addiction in Nashville

Nashville Treatment Solutions is a respected provider of personalized outpatient care for adults who have become addicted to ketamine and other substances. We also offer dual diagnosis programming for patients whose struggles with addiction are accompanied by certain co-occurring mental health concerns.

At our addiction treatment center in Nashville, Tennessee, you will join a supportive healing community that is built on the pillars of compassion, empathy, and understanding. Working with a team of skilled and experienced professionals, you can make sustained progress toward a more hopeful future, free from the constraints of compulsive ketamine abuse.

To learn more about how we can help you, or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our Admissions page or call us today.