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Can You Get Addicted to Ketamine?

Mark Halsey
Chief Editor of - Cleanbreak Recovery

Mark Halsey is a licensed therapist, founder, and chief editor of Clean Break Recovery. With over a decade of addiction treatment experience, Mark deeply understands...Read more

Can you get addicted to ketamine? It’s a question that many people are asking today, as ketamine continues to become more available and popular as a recreational drug. In recent years, ketamine has been used to treat depression and other psychological disorders, but it’s also been linked to addiction and dangerous side effects. In this article, we’ll take a look at the science behind ketamine addiction, its potential risks, and what you can do to avoid becoming addicted.

Yes, you can get addicted to ketamine. Ketamine is an anesthetic drug that is abused for its hallucinogenic effects. It is a dissociative drug, meaning it can cause the user to feel disconnected from reality. Prolonged use of ketamine can lead to tolerance, cravings, and compulsive drug-seeking behavior, all of which are signs of addiction. People who regularly use ketamine may also experience withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety, depression, nausea, and insomnia when they try to quit.

Can You Get Addicted to Ketamine?

What is Ketamine?

Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic drug that has been used for medical and recreational purposes. It is a hallucinogenic drug that produces a trance-like state in users and can create a profound sense of detachment from reality. Ketamine is also used to treat depression and is sometimes used off-label as an antidepressant. It is a Schedule III controlled substance, meaning it has a high potential for abuse and dependence.

Ketamine is commonly abused as a party drug and is often mixed with other drugs, such as alcohol or cocaine. It can be snorted, injected, or swallowed. The effects of ketamine vary depending on the dosage, but they typically include feelings of detachment, dizziness, and blurred vision. At higher doses, users may experience intense hallucinations and a sense of dissociation from their body.

How Does Ketamine Work?

Ketamine works by blocking the receptors in the brain that regulate excitatory neurotransmitters, such as glutamate, which produces a feeling of dissociation from reality. It has a rapid onset of action and produces a trance-like state that can last for several hours. The drug also produces effects such as euphoria and disinhibition, which can lead to risky behavior.

Ketamine also affects the neurotransmitter dopamine, which is involved in reward and pleasure pathways. This can lead to reinforcing effects, making it difficult for users to stop taking the drug. It also increases the release of serotonin, which can create a sense of well-being.

What Are the Risks of Ketamine?

Ketamine can have serious physical and psychological effects when abused. Long-term use can cause health problems such as bladder inflammation, kidney damage, and cognitive impairment. It can also increase the risk of developing mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety.

Ketamine can also be dangerous when taken in combination with other drugs or alcohol. This can lead to an increased risk of overdose and can be potentially fatal. It is also associated with an increased risk of addiction, as the drug can produce reinforcing effects and can cause physical dependence.

Signs and Symptoms of Ketamine Addiction

Ketamine addiction is a serious condition that can have long-term consequences on a person’s health and wellbeing. Some of the signs and symptoms of ketamine addiction include:

Physical Symptoms

Physical symptoms of ketamine addiction can include nausea, vomiting, confusion, blurred vision, and impaired motor control. Long-term use of ketamine can also lead to serious physical health problems such as bladder inflammation, kidney damage, and cognitive impairment.

Psychological Symptoms

Psychological symptoms of ketamine addiction can include anxiety, depression, and changes in mood and behavior. Users may also experience intense cravings for the drug and become preoccupied with obtaining and using it.

Treatment for Ketamine Addiction

Ketamine addiction is a serious condition that requires professional treatment. Treatment for ketamine addiction typically includes a combination of psychotherapy, medication, and lifestyle changes.


Psychotherapy is a type of therapy that focuses on helping the user to identify and address the underlying causes of their addiction. This can include cognitive-behavioral therapy, which can help the user to develop healthier coping strategies and to learn how to manage their cravings.


Medication can also be used to help manage the symptoms of addiction. For example, antidepressants can be used to treat depression and anxiety, while anti-seizure medications can be used to reduce cravings and to help reduce the risk of relapse.

Preventing Ketamine Addiction

The best way to prevent ketamine addiction is to avoid using the drug. If you or someone you know is using ketamine, it is important to seek help as soon as possible. Treatment for ketamine addiction is available and can help to reduce the risk of long-term consequences.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Ketamine?

Ketamine is a medication used in both human and veterinary medicine as an anesthetic. It is a dissociative substance, meaning it can cause users to have out-of-body experiences or a feeling of detachment from reality. It is also used recreationally and can be abused, leading to the development of physical and psychological dependence.

What are the Signs of Ketamine Addiction?

The signs of ketamine addiction include a strong craving for the drug, taking higher doses than intended, spending a large amount of time and money obtaining ketamine, and continued use despite negative consequences. Other signs are isolation from family and friends, changes in sleep and appetite, difficulty concentrating, and neglecting responsibilities.

What are the Side Effects of Ketamine Abuse?

The side effects of ketamine abuse can include memory problems, impaired motor coordination, depression, anxiety, delusions, paranoia, and aggression. Chronic use can lead to kidney and bladder problems, cognitive impairments, and an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

Can You Overdose on Ketamine?

Yes, it is possible to overdose on ketamine. Overdosing on ketamine can lead to serious health complications, including respiratory depression, coma, and death. Symptoms of overdose include confusion, hallucinations, seizures, elevated heart rate and blood pressure, and slowed breathing.

What are the Treatment Options for Ketamine Addiction?

Treatment for ketamine addiction usually involves a combination of medication, psychotherapy, and support groups. Medications may include drugs to reduce cravings, such as naltrexone. Psychotherapy and support groups can help individuals understand their addiction and develop coping skills to help them manage their cravings and prevent relapse.

How Can I Prevent Ketamine Addiction?

The best way to prevent ketamine addiction is to avoid using the drug in any form. If you are using ketamine, it is important to be aware of the potential for addiction and to use the drug responsibly. If you feel like you are developing an addiction, it is important to seek help immediately.

Is ketamine addictive? Can I take ketamine as an antidepressant if I have addiction?

In conclusion, ketamine is a powerful drug that can be addictive and cause serious physical and psychological harm. While it can provide temporary relief from depression, chronic use can lead to serious addiction. If you or someone you know is using ketamine, seek professional help as soon as possible. With the right help and support, you can break free from addiction and get back on track to a healthier and more fulfilling life.

Mark Halsey is a licensed therapist, founder, and chief editor of Clean Break Recovery. With over a decade of addiction treatment experience, Mark deeply understands the complex needs of those struggling with addiction and utilizes a comprehensive and holistic approach to address them. He is well-versed in traditional and innovative therapies, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, and mindfulness-based interventions.

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