This page was clinically reviewed by Sam Hickey in July 2021.
Ketamine, also widely known as ‘ket’, is a powerful anaesthetic and hallucinogenic drug that was designed to be used in hospital or veterinary settings, as a means of managing pain during human and animal operations. Ketamine typically comes in liquid form which can be injected, or as a white, grainy powder which can be snorted or swallowed as a tablet.
What is ketamine addiction?
Ketamine addiction is a serious condition that is characterised by an individual repeatedly consuming ketamine in a recreational manner, until they develop both a physical and psychological dependence on the drug.
Ketamine is highly addictive, mainly because of its strong painkilling properties, and this anaesthetic effect can often cause people to experience feelings of pleasure and tranquillity. With regular use, individuals begin to develop a tolerance to ketamine meaning that they need to take more and more of the drug and in higher doses, in order to experience the desired effects. This causes people to develop physical and psychological dependence on ketamine, leading to a harmful ketamine addiction.
In addition, ketamine that is sold at clubs and parties may be mixed with other addictive drugs, such as opiates and benzodiazepines, thus exacerbating the ketamine addiction and the danger associated with taking this drug.
Treating a Ketamine addiction
At Priory, we understand that without specialist treatment for your ketamine addiction, this condition has the potential to become increasingly worse over time and can have a profoundly negative impact on all areas of your life, including your work, hobbies, social life, and relationships.
Untreated ketamine addiction may also lead to the development of alcohol addiction and other drug addictions and behavioural addictions, causing a whole host of additional problems.
However, it’s important to recognise that ketamine addiction is treatable, and it’s possible for you make a full recovery. Our expert addiction psychiatrists, psychologists, therapists and other professionals at Priory are committed to delivering comprehensive ketamine addiction treatment within our nationwide network of hospitals and wellbeing centres.
Free addiction assessment at your nearest Priory hospital
At Priory, our addictions experts recognise that acknowledging and seeking help for your ketamine addiction can be a difficult step to take. That’s why all of our specialist addiction treatment hospitals offer a free initial addiction assessment with an experienced addictions therapist, enabling you to discuss your ketamine addiction confidentially, and in a discreet and non-judgemental environment.
We are also able to offer a comprehensive medically assisted withdrawal drug detoxification process for your ketamine addiction, if this is required. The purpose of this is to remove all traces of ketamine from your body, whilst controlling withdrawal symptoms. Detox involves:
- 24-hour support from experienced specialists who will ensure that your safety is a top priority
- A substance-free environment to prevent the possibility of relapse
- Controlled medication can be prescribed if required, to help to alleviate any discomfort that you may experience as part of the withdrawal process
Our treatment experts at Priory have extensive experience in treating individuals who are addicted to ketamine, and we are able to deliver a wide range of therapeutic techniques, empowering you to tackle your ketamine addiction symptoms, address the underlying triggers for your addictive behaviours, and take steps towards a positive and addiction-free future.
Each individual who seeks ketamine addiction support with us will benefit from an individually tailored treatment experience, which has been purpose-designed to meet your personal needs and requirements. This means that you will be placed at the centre of your treatment and rehabilitation journey and will be involved in decisions that are made about your care, in order to produce the most positive post-treatment outcomes.
To most crucial first step towards regaining control of your life is to seek support; contact Priory today to start your journey towards a full and sustainable recovery.
Ketamine addiction rehab at Priory
Ketamine addiction rehab takes place as part of Priory’s comprehensive Addiction Treatment Programme. This consists of a 28-day residential stay at one of our specialist hospital sites, where you will be able to undergo a medically assisted withdrawal detoxification process if this is required, before commencing with an intensive programme of group and individual therapy. Twenty eight days is the recommended treatment time for addictions, but the length of the addiction treatment that you receive at Priory can be flexible according to your condition, requirements and commitments.
All of the addiction treatment that we offer at Priory is based on the renowned 12-Step addiction treatment philosophy. This model was first pioneered by the organisation Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and is an abstinence-based approach that focuses on your motivation to change your addictive behaviours, whilst also drawing upon elements of spirituality in the treatment journey.
Our ketamine addiction treatment consists of:
- A free, no obligation addiction assessment, allowing you to discuss your unique ketamine addiction in confidence, receive guidance on our exceptional treatment options, and start your journey towards rehabilitation and recovery - book your appointment today
- 7 - 10 day medically assisted withdrawal detoxification for your ketamine addiction, if this is required
- Individual 1:1 therapy and structured group therapy programmes
- Family and couples therapy programmes
- Access to both on and off-site 12-Step support groups, specifically tailored to your unique addiction
- Free group aftercare for 12 months following treatment (aftercare is provided for life following treatment at Priory Hospital Roehampton and The Manor Clinic)
- Free family support for 12 months following treatment (family support is provided for life following treatment at Priory Hospital Roehampton and The Manor Clinic)
As well as offering comprehensive inpatient addiction treatment at Priory, we are also able to deliver both outpatient and day care treatment for ketamine addiction, depending on the nature of your addiction and the intensity of the support that you require.
These treatment options can be used as an entry-point to addiction treatment and therapy, or can be used as a step-down in treatment intensity for individuals who have undertaken an intensive residential programme for their ketamine addiction. For more detailed information on Priory’s high quality ketamine addiction treatment, as well as the type and format of the addiction therapy that we can offer, please visit our approach to addiction treatment page.
What are the most common signs and symptoms of ketamine addiction?
Ketamine addiction is associated with a whole host of symptoms that vary from person to person, as well as according to the amount of the drug that you are consuming and the frequency of your ketamine use. More detailed information on the symptoms of ketamine addiction can be found on our ketamine addiction symptoms page. However, the following are the most common signs and symptoms which could indicate that you or someone that you know is struggling with an addiction to ketamine:
- Finding that you have built a tolerance to the ketamine, meaning that you need to consume increasing amounts of ketamine and in increasingly higher doses, in order to experience the desired high
- Experiencing a range of unpleasant withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking ketamine
- Intense cravings for ketamine
- Using ketamine on a regular basis in your day-to-day life, not just when at a club or a party
- Mixing ketamine with other addictive drugs or seeking out new ways to consume this, in order to experience a better and longer high
- Experiencing negative consequences as a result of your ketamine abuse e.g. relationship breakdowns, poor performance at work, and money problems, but still continuing to take ketamine
- Experiencing anxiety, paranoia, depression or suicidal thoughts as a result of taking ketamine
What causes a ketamine addiction to develop?
Addictions develop as a result of a psychological process known as ‘positive reinforcement’. Positive reinforcement encourages a pattern of behaviour to form by offering a reward for that behaviour. In the context of ketamine addiction, this drug typically causes individuals to experience ‘positive’ outcomes such as pleasure, euphoria, and a sense of tranquillity, which increase the likelihood that they will seek out these feelings again once ketamine has left the body. This continuous cycle of abuse can result in the development of a dangerous ketamine addiction as opposed to ‘one-off’ behaviour.
As well as the impact of positive reinforcement, research suggests that drug addictions may also develop due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
- Genetics – if you have a close relative who struggles with substance misuse, this may mean that you’re at greater risk for developing a similar problem. Also, early exposure to drug or alcohol abuse in the home might put you at increased risk too
- Environment – environmental factors such as being surrounded by peers who engage in addictive behaviours may increase the chances of you becoming addicted to substances such as ketamine. Also, experiencing stressful life events such as bereavement, or a traumatic event, have also been linked to the development of addictions
In addition to the above, some research suggests that you may have an increased susceptibility to developing an addiction to ketamine if you are already struggling with an underlying mental health problem such as depression, anxiety or stress. This is because individuals may try to self-medicate with ketamine as an attempt to control their symptoms, which can have a detrimental impact on their health and wellbeing over time.
Self-help tips for dealing with the initial stages of ketamine addiction
If you think that you have developed a problem with ketamine addiction, it is essential that you seek professional help. Below are some additional tips that you can use to help you to cope with the initial stages of ketamine addiction:
- Admit that you have a problem with ketamine misuse
- Be honest with your friends and family about your problem with ketamine - support from family and friends is very important in the rehabilitation and recovery process
- Try to avoid temptations and negative influences
- Accept that the process of achieving abstinence from ketamine will be challenging, and prepare yourself to make some significant changes in your life
Crisis care at Priory
Priory’s customer service team is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to ensure that those in crisis gain access to the best possible support, as quickly as possible. The specialist teams at our residential facilities can help to stabilise those in need of immediate assistance, including providing access to medically assisted withdrawal detoxification for alcohol and drug addictions, where required.
Contact Priory today
To find out how Priory can help you to overcome your ketamine addiction and return to a positive way of life, call our dedicated team today on 0800 144 8969 or email us arrange your free addictions assessment.
Book a FREE Confidential Assessment at your Nearest Priory Hospital Today.
For more information about the addiction services that Priory offer, download our brochure.Get our brochure