Ketamine is a white, powdery drug which is used on both humans and animals as an anaesthetic and can often require ketamine rehab to help quit. In a medical setting, ketamine is dissolved into a solution and injected directly into the patient’s muscles. Most recreational ketamine users snort the powdered version of the drug, but it can also be swallowed in tablet form. Ketamine rehab centres (or K as it is commonly known) focus on the psychological addiction to the drug, but pay special attention to the possible effects on respiratory functioning.
Although snorting is the most common method of taking ketamine, some users do inject it outside of a clinical setting. This increases the risk of infections like HIV and hepatitis and can also lead to other issues such as blood clots and abscesses. The effects of the drug are felt more quickly when it is injected because it reaches the bloodstream directly. When it is snorted, the chemical has to be absorbed into the blood through the nasal tissue.
Ketamine makes users feel as though their brain and body are two entirely separate entities, and can create a sense of detachment from their immediate environment. This detachment can be quite serious, and result in users feeling unable to move or walk. This is commonly referred to as going into the “k-hole.” This sensation is accompanied by dream-like hallucinations, where the user feels as though they are on a different level of consciousness. Physically, the drug acts on a certain type of glutamate receptor, affecting the individual’s ability to concentrate, recall events and learn.
The main risks of ketamine are associated with high doses. There is the potential for fatal respiratory problems, severe issues with motor functioning and high blood pressure. Mixing ketamine with other drugs such as alcohol, ecstasy or amphetamines compounds these risks. For example, alcohol can also depress respiratory function, so there is an increased risk of unconsciousness or fatal breathing problems when both are consumed.
With frequent ketamine use, people graduate to higher and higher doses. This is because the brain adapts to suit the drug in order to maintain proper functioning. It restructures itself so it doesn’t get overwhelmed by the substance in future, and begins to rely on it for “ordinary” functioning. Then the user needs to take more and more of the drug in order to achieve the same effects. If the substance is removed, the brain craves it to avoid having to restructure again. Drug rehab programs help people through this “restructuring” or withdrawal period.
The primary focus of drug rehab programs for ketamine users is the psychological dependence on the substance rather than its physical risk. Treatments such as cognitive behavioural therapy are used to help the individual understand the reasons they take drugs and help them avoid relapse. Their negative thought patterns are broken and their drug-centric coping mechanisms are replaced with healthier ones. Medical staff will also monitor ketamine users’ respiratory functions to ensure safe physical withdrawal from the drug.
If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, choosing the right drug rehab centre can seem like a difficult task. Different treatments and therapeutic models are employed by specific centres, and we provide free advice to help you choose the right drug rehab program. We can explain the different treatment models to you and help you determine which one is right for your needs. Most drug rehab programs will be suitable for ketamine addiction, so there are likely to be several options. Don’t struggle through this alone; pick up the phone and see how we can help you.