Ketamine Withdrawal

by on April 23, 2012

While Ketamine is often used in hospitals as an anesthetic, it is also widely abused. Since it has hallucinogenic properties and gives users a euphoric sensation, it is a popular club drug known as “Special K”. Using Ketamine for other than its intended purposes can cause addiction, and withdrawal from this addiction requires specialized care.

Ketamine Withdrawal Symptoms

Extended Ketamine use impairs an individual’s sensory and fine motor skills. As a result, those who have taken this drug extensively may have difficulty performing ordinary tasks. After taking Ketamine for some time, users may be more willing to engage in risky behavior.  Those who are addicted to it often behave in unusual ways and seem to be detached from reality. Other withdrawal symptoms may include impaired breathing, double vision, and hearing loss.

Ketamine withdrawal should ideally be done in a drug treatment center. This is because users undergo dramatic behavior changes when they withdraw from this drug. As a result, there can be an increased risk of suicide among patients who are addicted to Ketamine. When patients are admitted to a drug treatment facility, they are isolated from their source of the drug and can be encouraged whenever they feel like relapsing. Any physical effects of withdrawal are also addressed during the patient’s stay.

Length of Treatment

The length of Ketamine withdrawal treatment varies with each individual. Some factors that play a role in how long the treatment takes includes the level of addiction, a patient’s overall health, and whether he or she is also addicted to other drugs. Most patients see relief from their addiction during the first two weeks of treatment, but may need to remain inside a facility for six to eight weeks. Those who respond well to early treatment may be released after three to four weeks and then given the option to continue therapy on an outpatient basis.

Elements for Increased Success

In addition to detoxification and mental counseling, several other factors play a role in a patient’s success. Physical exercise is helpful in assisting addicts as they withdraw from Ketamine. This is especially true of outdoor activity, so many treatment centers incorporate this into their wellness plans. A patient may also be given a combination of individual, group, and family therapy to help with the withdrawal process. Those who are having emotional issues may be referred to anger management courses as well.


Having a strong support system in place is very important for a Ketamine addict. As such, many patients may continue therapy on an outpatient basis for some time after leaving a treatment center. A change in behavior and lifestyle is crucial, as continuing to attend clubs where this drug is widely available can provide overwhelming temptation for former users. It can also be important for people to advise their primary care physician of their history of Ketamine abuse so the doctor can avoid using it for other legitimate purposes.

Ketamine withdrawal is a serious issue that should not be taken lightly. People who are suffering from Ketamine addiction or have a family member who is hooked on this drug should take immediate action. Treating this disorder at home is not recommended, as there can be serious consequences including an increased risk of a relapse in treatment.