Written by: Dale Conlon
Medically Reviewed by: Dr Mateen Durrani – MBBS, DPM, MSc, BCPsych
Last Updated: January 10th, 2023
Ketamine, otherwise known as ‘ket’, ‘kitkat’ and ‘Special K’, is a brain-altering drug that can have serious psychological effects when abused. Coming off ketamine addiction and reversing these effects can be difficult to overcome without a medical detox.
This guide will answer any questions you may have about the ketamine withdrawal process and include information on the ketamine rehabilitation facilities and programmes available to help you overcome your addiction.
What is ketamine detox?
Ketamine detox means abstaining from ketamine so the toxins can clear from your system and your cognitive functions can return to normal.
If you have used ketamine over a long period of time, withdrawal symptoms will begin to manifest if you suddenly cease use of the drug or your intake is drastically reduced.
What is ketamine withdrawal?
Ketamine withdrawal is the stage in which a set of physical and psychological symptoms begin to develop when you suddenly reduce or stop the use of a drug after abusing it for a long period of time.
Withdrawing from ketamine after abusing it for recreational purposes comes with a set of physical and psychological symptoms. These withdrawal symptoms will occur because ketamine has altered the brain’s chemistry. Psychological symptoms of withdrawal can be severe and dangerous, with suicidal thoughts developing from intense depression putting users at high risk.
Ketamine withdrawal symptoms
Ketamine withdrawal primarily comes with psychological symptoms. Symptoms will vary from user to user according to:
- How long the drug has been abused.
- The level of tolerance.
- The duration of abuse.
The most common symptoms of ketamine withdrawal include:
- Vivid nightmares
- Auditory and visual issues
- Shakiness (similar to when the body is dehydrated)
- Extreme mood swings
- Rapid Breathing
- Suicidal thoughts
- Strong cravings
As ketamine alters and skews the brain function, you may begin to feel like you can’t function normally when you try to stop using it, which may make you believe that you need to continue using it.
The safest way to go through withdrawal is to undergo a supervised medical detox in a private facility with 24/7 supervision.
What is a medical ketamine detox?
Medical detox is the process of removing addictive substances from the body with medication. The medication is designed to make the detox process safer and more manageable. Detoxification is the first stage of treating any addiction and generally lasts at least two weeks.
The length of detoxification usually depends on the level of ketamine in your system and the method of treatment used. Ketamine detoxification can be carried out in several different settings; however, medical detox is the best and recommended method as 24/7 care and supervision will be provided.
The rehab treatment will also involve counselling to help you recover from the psychological dependence and addiction to ketamine. During counselling sessions, issues relating to drug use and psychological cravings experienced will be addressed.
Detoxification is only a part of the recovery process. As well as removing the drug from the system, it allows the treatment to focus on the psychological aspect of ketamine addiction to the body, so you can focus on recovery.
Whilst ketamine comes with less or no physical withdrawal symptoms, there is still a danger of severe psychological symptoms occurring, such as hallucinations and depression. Our rehabilitation medical team are well-equipped to handle this situation and will see you safely out of withdrawal and detox.
Timeline of ketamine withdrawal process
The withdrawal process can be explained in the following format and is user-dependent: Users can experience the following symptoms:
Users can experience any number of symptoms, including tremors, shakes, insomnia, depression, aggression, delusions, nausea, double vision, rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, and hearing loss.
After the fourth day, symptoms will still be present and may persist for two weeks before they start to subside.
Whilst most symptoms may have gone by this time, changes in the brain function will cause certain psychological symptoms like mood swings, depression, and cravings to continue.
At Primrose Lodge, we offer a personalised treatment tailored towards your specific withdrawal symptoms, as well as a range of support to ensure you get through withdrawal with minimal discomfort.
What causes ketamine withdrawal?
The prolonged presence of ketamine in the body will lead to dependence, causing users to repeatedly consume the drug to achieve a state of normality.
Most of these symptoms will take the form of psychological issues that also occur in cocaine withdrawal and other addictive drugs.
To overcome these withdrawal symptoms going through a residential detox programme will see these symptoms are managed and contained safely within a medical environment. Abruptly stopping the use of any drug can result in dangerous complications as withdrawal symptoms may peak quickly.
Dangers of ketamine detox at home
Detoxing at home may come with home comforts. However, this can be dangerous when going through a non-supervised detox. The sudden discontinuation of ketamine can trigger severe withdrawal symptoms, which can end in fatal complications.
When you choose to go through detox in a professional medical treatment centre, you will be able to slowly reduce your use of ketamine in a controlled environment, which is the safest way to go through withdrawal.
In addition to this, depending on how long you have been addicted to ketamine, your withdrawal symptoms could be particularly severe or uncomfortable. This can be difficult to manage alone and a medical detox at Primrose Lodge means you will be in a comfortable and supportive environment.
Benefits of private ketamine detox
There are many benefits of having a private ketamine detox. It is recommended to go through an inpatient detox treatment in a private rehabilitation clinic.
As well as being the safest and relatively most comfortable method, private rehabilitation comes with the following benefits too:
- You will be undergoing detox in a safe and supportive environment.
- A comfortable environment means recuperating in a comfortable manner.
- You will learn skills for relapse prevention.
- You will receive a year of complimentary post-rehab support.
- The treatment provided will be under the supervision of a medical team, all day and night.
- The tailormade program includes looking into the underlying causes of your ketamine addiction.
- An experienced team of psychologists and doctors means a tailormade rehabilitation program for your specific needs, post detox.
Help is at hand
If you or your loved one are suffering from a Ketamine addiction, it is never too late to seek help. At Primrose Lodge we can offer advice and an initial assessment to work out the best tailor-made treatment programme for you.
Our treatment facilities come with experienced staff that have often gone through addiction themselves and will thus be able to offer a more personalised care plan, as well as excellent facilities, including an on-site chef and gym.
Our holistic approach to recovery means we have an array of life-changing treatments and therapies available to suit your needs and help you overcome your addiction.
Whether you have been addicted to ketamine for a short time or you are a long-term user, we are here to help with counselling as well as medical detox to ease any withdrawal symptoms you may experience.
Our experienced clinical team are dedicated to helping you overcome your addiction and live a happy, fulfilling life free from the influence of drugs.
To find out more about the benefits of private rehabilitation at Primrose Lodge as well as other facilities please get in touch with us today.