What comes to mind when you hear the word addiction? Maybe you picture someone struggling with alcohol abuse. Perhaps you think of someone overwhelmed by drugs like cocaine or heroin. Alcohol and illegal drugs undoubtedly play a big role in addiction. However, these aren’t the only substances that are widely misused and abused.
Drugs that have therapeutic properties, such as ketamine, can also be misused to the point where it causes addiction. When a substance alters the way the mind or body feels, the brain may start relying on the drug to feel normal. This creates a vicious cycle known as addiction.
Addiction is a progressive mental health disorder. This means it only gets worse over time without proper treatment. Ketamine abuse treatment in Denver, Colorado, is available now. Denver Recovery Center has a comprehensive program that has helped many people who felt hopeless in the clutches of addiction. Let us help you understand how to stop abusing this substance. If you are worried about a loved one, this guide will help you understand ketamine addiction signs, the potential dangers, and the available treatments.
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What is Ketamine?
Ketamine is a prescription dissociative anesthesia that emerged in the 1960s. It was one of the main drugs that helped provide relief to fallen soldiers in the Vietnam War. This Schedule III controlled substance distorts a patient’s perception which can help relieve pain, reduce anxiety, and induce dream-like states. Schedule III drugs are designed for medical use but carry the risk of physical or psychological dependence.
Some people think this substance is an opiate like codeine, fentanyl, or hydrocodone. Although it has some similar characteristics of opioids, it doesn’t fall into this class of drugs. As a frame of reference, it has a chemical structure relative to phencyclidine, also known as PCP.
Due to the dream-like feelings it produces, ketamine became a popular recreational drug as early as the 1970s. Although it is less well-known that some of the other substances today, it is widely abused in the United States. It is commonly known by various ketamine street names such as vitamin K, special K, super acid, kit kat, cat tranquilizer, ket drug, and the date rape drug.
Ketamine Drug Effects
The dissociative effects of this drug can cause a person to feel deeply relaxed and even have distorted perceptions of sights, sounds, colors, or the environment. In addition, one may experience a detached feeling from his or her body. Doctors generally use this substance to put a patient to sleep and prevent pain during medical procedures and tests. It works by disrupting a neurotransmitter in the brain known as glutamate. This chemical plays a role in memory, emotions, and pain recognition.
Different forms are available on the streets including liquids that can be consumed orally or injected. It can also be found as a powder that is swallowed, snorted, or added to cigarettes or marijuana joints. Much of the ketamine sold on the streets is stolen from veterinary offices or smuggled into the country.
Because this substance has no detectable odor or taste, it is easily used without other people realizing what is happening. In addition, the drug has a history of being added to the drinks of unsuspecting victims to put them in vulnerable and dangerous positions. This is how it gained notoriety as a date rape drug.
In smaller doses, ketamine can produce a quick high lasting up to a couple of hours. During this high a person may experience:
- Calmness and relaxation
- Pain relief
- Depressed mental state
- Slurred speech
- Detached feeling from the body
- Brief periods of visual and auditory hallucinations
- Reduced reaction to painful stimuli
- Repetitive, uncontrolled eye movements
At larger doses, a person may experience vivid dreams or terrifying hallucinations. This is sometimes known as going down a K-hole.
Can You Overdose on Ketamine?
A ketamine overdose can be very dangerous and even fatal, especially when used with other drugs like alcohol. Large amounts can impact a person’s respiration, making it difficult to breathe. Overdose symptoms can also include:
- Extreme confusion
- Vomiting or nausea
- Elevated blood pressure
- Chest pain
- Irregular heart rate
- Erratic or violent behaviors due to hallucinations
- Loss of consciousness
This drug also affects nerve receptors, so a person can be seriously injured without even realizing it when they are high.
Ketamine overdose treatment requires emergency medical services. There is no specific medication that can counteract this drug’s effects, but medical professionals can provide treatment that may be lifesaving, so it is important to get help at the first sign of overdose.
What Are the Signs of Ketamine Addiction?
This drug is considered a Schedule III controlled substance. This means that an individual can develop a tolerance and dependence on the drug.
When someone tries to get off the drug on their own, he or she may experience withdrawal symptoms. Depending on how long and how much someone has been using, the withdrawal symptoms can be very difficult to endure. If you suspect a loved one is dealing with addiction and trying to quit on their own, the withdrawal symptoms may be similar to a bad case of the flu. However, there are typically some signs that are not common to the flu.
Ketamine withdrawal symptoms include:
- Muscle stiffness
- Dilated pupils or involuntary eye movements
- Nausea and vomiting
- Periods of exhaustion
- Intense cravings
- Mood changes
People who are addicted to the substance may experience some of the long-term effects of the drug. Those who have used the drug for a long time could have difficulties learning, remembering information, and concentrating. They may have disrupted sleep patterns, mood swings, and muscle twitches. It can also affect the cardiovascular, renal, gastrointestinal, and central nervous systems.
Many forms of addiction also have certain behavioral red flags you may notice in yourself or a loved one. These include:
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- Losing interest in hobbies, leisure pursuits, and social activities
- Disappearing for periods of time
- Absence from school or work
- Mood swings and irritability
- Financial difficulties
- Finding drug paraphernalia in a person’s living space. This could include empty medical bottles, pill packets, or hypodermic needles.
- Referencing drugs by street names
- Engaging in risky or dangerous behaviors while getting high or obtaining the drug
- Denying or making excuses for substance use
If addiction is taking a toll on your own or a loved one’s life, the best thing you can do is seek treatment. You don’t have to wait until you hit rock bottom to start getting help. In fact, early intervention can save you from major health, financial, and legal issues down the road.
How to Recover from Ketamine Addiction
Addiction is a complex mental health disease that often requires time, effort, and guidance to overcome. For many in the grips of addiction, quitting is not as easy as it sounds. They have tried to quit. Unfortunately, everyday stressors, withdrawal symptoms, and unresolved issues make recovering from drugs very difficult.
Successful ketamine abuse treatment requires a complete overhaul in the way you think, behave, and react to emotions and challenges. It is a time of self-reflection and discovery where you begin to see how drugs are causing more harm than good in your life. It can be a difficult process. And, of course, there may be some bumps along the road. However, seeking treatment means you have a support network dedicated to helping you even during the most trying moments.
Recovery may begin with a medically supervised detox period. If you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms, the support you get during those tense few days of getting clean can mean the difference between relapsing and staying strong and focused.
After the drug is out of your system, the real work begins. During ketamine addiction treatment, you can discover the root causes of your drug abuse. This is a highly individualized process of self-discovery where you identify the triggers that keep you wanting more of the drug. It could stem from trauma, family problems, unrealistic or irrational expectations, or a need to escape from problems or responsibilities.
You should not be ashamed of your journey to recovery. Everyone goes through problems. This is an opportunity to care for yourself in an entirely different way. As you identify the root causes of your drug use, you can start learning coping strategies to help you to gain new perspectives and ways of dealing with life. In time, the positive habits you start in treatment become the solid footing you need on your path to recovery.
There is not a single approach that works best for everyone. In fact, a variety of therapies are generally used to help someone dealing with addiction.
Therapies Used for Ketamine Addiction Treatment
When you start a program such as inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, or partial hospitalization, you have a team of professionals who will listen to your story, discuss your strengths and struggles, and create a plan to help you succeed. This includes therapies that resonate with you and build on your strengths to confront your challenges.
The cornerstone of ketamine rehab is psychotherapy. Sometimes referred to as talk therapy, this is where you develop a therapeutic relationship with a counselor to identify personal issues and find ways to manage, cope, and even overcome them. Common therapies used for addiction treatment are cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT).
During sessions, a therapist may give you specific assignments or exercises to guide your recovery process. In addition, group therapy often plays a crucial role in therapy. The input, wisdom, and support of others going through similar issues can help you realize you are not alone in your struggles.
Some high-quality ketamine rehab centers also adopt a holistic approach to treatment. This means they treat you as a whole person, not just someone dealing with addiction. How does this help? Instead of simply focusing on your addiction, holistic therapy helps you make major changes in your perspectives and lifestyle, reducing the chance of falling back into old patterns. Using treatments like meditation, yoga, tai chi, physical fitness, nutrition, and experiential therapies, you can begin to engage in a whole new way of living and dealing with life’s stressors.
The key to successful holistic therapy is finding programs that resonate with you. If your anxiety triggers you to use drugs, learning how to meditate or do deep breathing exercises may help reduce cravings. If you love the rush of adrenaline and trying new things, outdoor therapy programs can give you exhilarating experiences that allow you to realize there is plenty of pleasure and excitement to be found in life without resorting to drugs.
Get Help at a Ketamine Rebab in Colorado
If you live near the Denver area, you have access to a treatment center that is dedicated to helping you through every step of your recovery. Denver Recovery Center believes that anyone entering the program can thrive with supportive and individualized therapy. In addition to evidence-based treatments, many holistic therapies are available to help you make the changes you need to embrace sobriety. We provide a full continuum of care to ensure you have the support necessary even after you leave our program.
The scenic backdrop of our Broomfield campus serves as a source of inspiration and serenity for those who are serious about recovery. Colorado locals and individuals from all over the country come to our beautiful campus for this very reason.
The views are breathtaking, but the experiences we provide in nature may be the turning point for your recovery. Therapeutic trips such as hiking can aid in the process of self-discovery. Even simply being in nature, away from all the distractions of the modern world, can shift your perspective and show you what is really important in life.
Why not take a virtual tour of our facility to see the many amenities available during your stay?
A Better Future Starts by Calling Today.
Are you ready to start true change in your life? Do you finally want to enjoy life without the crutch of drugs or alcohol? Now is your time.
At Denver Recovery Center, we understand change can be hard. This is why we want to make sure you are comfortable and engaged throughout your stay. Our team will give you the continued, non-judgemental support you need to get clean and remain sober.
It just takes one call to start the process of changing your life. Why wait? Calling (844) 602-3175 will put you in contact with an admissions professional who will listen to your story and empower you with the choices to once again take charge of your life.
Call us today. Your future is waiting.