How to spot a ketamine user
Ketamine, which is also commonly known as ‘ket’, is an incredibly potent hallucinogenic and anaesthetic drug, which was originally designed to be used in hospital and veterinary settings to provide pain relief during human and animal operations.
When it is used recreationally, ketamine results in a range of effects, including feelings of euphoria and relaxation. In addition, due to its strong painkilling properties, ketamine can also block the body’s ability to feel pain, creating a ‘numbing’ feeling. These effects can be extremely addictive and can lead to individuals abusing this drug on a regular and ongoing basis until they develop tolerance, dependency and a harmful addiction.
Ketamine abuse is associated with a range of symptoms, which can differ according to the volume and frequency with which ketamine is being consumed, as well as being unique to each individual.
At Manor Clinic, our highly skilled treatment team are able to deliver personalised ketamine addiction rehab, helping you to overcome your symptoms and take steps towards the healthy, fulfilling and drug-free life that you deserve.
What are the signs and symptoms of ketamine addiction?
As well as repeatedly consuming ketamine, the following are also signs that you, or someone that you know, may be struggling with an addiction to ketamine.
Psychological symptoms of ketamine addiction:
- Distorted perception of reality, space and time
- Floating/flying sensation
- Entering into a trance-like state
- Feeling detached from your body and surroundings, leading to an ‘out of body’ experience or causing you to believe that you have died
- Fear, paranoia and intense confusion
- Memory problems
- Auditory or visual hallucinations (hearing or seeing things that aren’t truly there)
- Inability to focus or concentrate
- Consuming ketamine to try and relieve stress; this can often be the trigger for many people who go on to become addicted to ket
- Exacerbation of any existing mental health challenges
Behavioural and social symptoms of ketamine addiction:
- Using ketamine on a regular basis in your day-to-day life and feeling as though you are unable to function without it
- Devoting an excessive amount of time to obtaining, using and recovering from the effects of ketamine consumption
- Feeling as though you want to stop taking ketamine but finding that you are unable to
- Inability to stop thinking about when, where and how you will get your next fix of ketamine
- Feeling as though ketamine has taken over your life
- Taking ketamine has become more important than hobbies or activities that you once enjoyed
- Continuing to take ketamine, even after experiencing negative consequences as a result of your ketamine abuse
- Mixing ketamine with other addictive drugs or alcohol
- Seeking out new ways to consume ketamine, in order to experience a more intense ‘high’
- Being defensive, dishonest and secretive about your ketamine use
- Withdrawing from loved ones, leading to social isolation
- Finding that you only tend to socialise with people who take ketamine or other drugs
- People have noticed dramatic changes in your appearance or behaviour as a result of your ketamine use
- Neglecting your responsibilities due to being high on ket
- Poor performance and/or attendance at work
- Stealing money or selling valuables in order to pay for ketamine
- Possession of paraphernalia related to injecting ketamine e.g. needles, syringes
- Engaging in risky and reckless behaviours when under the influence of ketamine
Physical symptoms of ketamine addiction:
- Gradually building a tolerance to ketamine, meaning that you need to take higher doses of this drug and more frequently, in order to experience the desired ‘high’
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms if you stop taking or significantly reduce your ketamine use
- Scabs and bruises on the skin as a result of injecting ketamine
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Inability to feel pain
- Increased heart rate
- Breathing problems
- Co-ordination problems
What are the long-term effects of ketamine addiction?
Over time, it’s possible that ketamine abuse can result in a series of devastating long-term health complications, including:
- Severe abdominal cramps known as ‘K cramps’
- Severe bladder and urinary tract problems, sometimes resulting in your bladder needing to be surgically removed
- Liver damage
- Respiratory problems
- Increased risk for heart attacks
- Damage to the skin and veins from injecting ketamine, resulting in abscesses and other problems
- Permanent brain damage
- Enduring and irreversible mental health problems such as schizophrenia and drug-induced psychosis
This page was reviewed by Sarina Wheatman (FDAP) in October 2019 and is scheduled to be reviewed again in October 2021.