Ketamine Addiction Signs & Symptoms

Understanding Ketamine Addiction

Learn About Ketamine Addiction

Ketamine is a substance that is typically used as an anesthetic in veterinary medicine, and can be found in liquid or powder form. However, because of its strong dissociative effects in humans, it has become a popular substance of abuse for individuals seeking a powerful high. This illicit drug can be injected, added to drinks, snorted, or smoked.

When a person ingests ketamine, he or she will enter a catatonic, dreamlike state, and may find it difficult to move. Sadly, these effects have caused ketamine to gain notoriety as a date rape drug, as it renders victims unable to communicate or defend themselves against assault.

If you have begun using ketamine, you are at risk for developing a substance abuse problem that can put your life in danger. And while the drug’s addictive properties can make sobriety difficult to achieve, know that you aren’t alone, and that treatment is available. A quality treatment program, like the one provided at Mirror Lake Recovery Center, can help you rid your mind and body of ketamine and other substances, and can equip you with the tools you need to achieve and maintain recovery.


Ketamine Addiction Statistics

Since 1999, ketamine has been classified as a Schedule II non-narcotic substance under the Federal Controlled Substances Act. This designation is reserved for drugs that have the potential for abuse but that also have merit for medicinal purposes. According to the Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN), young people ages 12-25 represented approximately 74 percent of the ketamine-related emergency room visits in the United States in the year 2000, and the Department of Justice (DOJ) found that almost 3 percent of high school seniors in the United States had used ketamine at least once in the past year.

But ketamine’s damages extend far beyond individual cases of substance abuse. The Center for Family Justice estimates that nearly two-thirds of rape victims between the ages of 18 and 29 report having a prior dating relationship with their attacker, and ketamine and similar substances are often involved in these assaults.

Causes and Risk Factors

Causes and Risk Factors for Ketamine Addiction

The following factors may help you to better understand your potential risk for ketamine addiction:

Genetic: Having a first-degree relative (i.e., a parent or sibling) who has a history of addiction may elevate your risk for developing a substance abuse problem. Certain heritable genetic traits (i.e., thrill-seeking behaviors, impulsivity) have also been shown to increase the likelihood that a person could come to struggle with a substance use disorder.

Environmental: If your peers abuse ketamine or other drugs, you’re more susceptible to experimenting with them yourself. Additionally, having easy access to ketamine or other illicit substances can also make you more vulnerable to abusing them.

Risk Factors:

  • Family history of mental illness
  • Having easy access to ketamine
  • Having a novelty-seeking personality
  • Lacking impulse control
  • Family history of substance abuse
  • Personal history of substance abuse
  • Personal history of mental illness

Signs and Symptoms

Signs and Symptoms of Ketamine Addiction

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, you may be struggling with an addiction to ketamine:

Behavioral symptoms:

  • Continuing to abuse ketamine despite negative side effects
  • Abusing ketamine in dangerous situations
  • Taking ketamine more frequently or in larger doses than prescribed
  • Social withdrawal
  • Trying but failing to stop using ketamine
  • Trying to steal ketamine
  • Trying to borrow or steal money in order to buy ketamine
  • Trying to obtain ketamine illegally

Physical symptoms:

  • Increased heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Numbness
  • Depression

Cognitive symptoms:

  • Poor decision-making
  • Amnesia
  • Hallucinations
  • Experiencing the “K-Hole,” an out-of-body experience
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Memory problems

Psychosocial symptoms:

  • Feeling agitated
  • Anger
  • Aggression
  • Mood swings


Effects of Ketamine Addiction

Abusing ketamine can cause considerable damage. However, seeking comprehensive treatment can help you to avoid negative effects such as the following:

  • Legal problems
  • Social isolation
  • Sexual problems
  • Job loss
  • Family discord
  • Chronic unemployment
  • Suicide attempts
  • Homelessness
  • Money problems
  • Development of mental health problems
  • Respiratory damage
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Strained relationships

Co-Occurring Disorders

Ketamine Addiction and Co-Occurring Disorders

Individuals who struggle with ketamine abuse may be more likely to also suffer from symptoms of the following mental health conditions:

  • Other substance use disorders
  • Depressive disorders
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Antisocial personality disorder

Withdrawal & Overdose

Know the Effects of Ketamine Withdrawal & Overdose

Effects of Ketamine Withdrawal: If your body has become accustomed to consistent ketamine use, you may experience the following effects if you abruptly limit or cease your use:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Diarrhea
  • Watery eyes
  • Dilated pupils
  • Strong cravings for ketamine
  • Inability to sleep
  • Twitches and tremors
  • Runny nose

Effects of Ketamine Overdose: A ketamine overdose occurs when you ingest more of the drug than your body is able to process. If you or someone else has been using ketamine and begins displaying any of the following symptoms, seek immediate medical attention:

  • Coma
  • Nausea
  • Memory loss
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Breathing problems
  • Stomach cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Slurred speech
  • Slowed heart rate