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Ketamine Addiction Treatment in Illinois

Ketamine addiction is a serious problem in the US, especially among teenagers and young adults.

Ketamine addiction is a serious problem in the US, especially among teenagers and young adults.

In 2000, individuals between 12 and 25 made up 74% of ketamine abusers across the country. In 2015, at least 3 million people aged 12 or older reported using ketamine at some point in their lives.

Additionally, the amount of illicit ketamine seized in the US increased by 1,100% in 2022 compared to 2017.

The concern associated with ketamine use only grew more pressing by the end of 2023 as the drug was linked to “Friends” star Matthew Perry’s death who was reportedly using it to alleviate symptoms of depression.

Ketamine addiction can be challenging to overcome, but it’s possible with the right approach. Opting for professional intervention will ensure treatment is supervised, safe, and effective.

If you or your loved one suffer from ketamine addiction, this article is here to help kickstart your recovery process.

Understanding what ketamine is and how it affects the human body is the first step. From there, our guide explains how ketamine addiction develops, its signs/symptoms, and the available treatment options.

What Is Ketamine?

Ketamine is an anesthetic, non-narcotic drug that’s been approved by the FDA for use in surgeries in humans and animals.

In addition to its sedating action, ketamine is also a hallucinogenic with dissociative effects, which is why some people abuse it.

Also known on the street as special K, cat valium, K, and vitamin K, ketamine is usually abused as powder or liquid that’s mixed with beverages. It’s also snorted, smoked in combination with tobacco or marijuana, injected, or mixed with other drugs and pressed into oral tablets.

Why Is Ketamine Abused?

Ketamine has hallucinogenic and dissociative effects that start quickly after consuming the drug.

It causes a feeling of detachment from reality, which makes the user disconnected from any pain, stress, or negative emotions/thoughts they may be going through.

The “disappearance” of unpleasant sensations coupled with immense relaxation makes ketamine a popular recreational substance.

Is Ketamine Addictive?

The dissociative and hallucinogenic effects of ketamine can be tempting for many people who struggle with depression, anxiety, trauma, stress, mental conditions, and/or physical pain.

With its high potential for misuse, repeated abuse of ketamine can cause psychological and physical dependence that results in tolerance.

As larger doses become necessary to produce the desired effects and avoid withdrawal symptoms, ketamine abuse develops into addiction.

Effects of Ketamine

Although they vary from one individual to another, the effects of using ketamine commonly include:

At Low Doses

  • Sedation
  • Analgesia

At High Doses

  • Hallucinations
  • Dreamlike states
  • Dissociative effects

Ketamine Withdrawal

The symptoms of ketamine withdrawal are typically psychological but may also manifest physically. They include;

  • Agitation
  • Hostility
  • Rage
  • Confusion and dizziness
  • Delusion and hallucination
  • Psychosis,
  • Loss of motor skills
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea
  • Decreased respiratory rate
  • Lower heart rate
  • Insomnia
  • Tremors
  • Hearing loss
  • Impaired cognitive functions

Ketamine Overdose

It’s possible to overdose on ketamine, and the effects can be devastating such as:

  • Unconsciousness
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Chest pain
  • Coma
  • Seizures
  • Severe Respiratory depression that can lead to death

What Does Ketamine Addiction Look Like?

The symptoms of ketamine misuse and its effects on one’s health can be categorized as follows:

Short-term Use

  • Reduced attention
  • Difficulties in learning
  • Memory problems
  • Dreamlike states
  • Hallucinations
  • Confusion
  • Sedation
  • Slurred speech
  • Muscle stiffness and numbness
  • Nausea
  • Inability to move
  • Unconsciousness
  • Slow breathing
  • Increased blood pressure

Long-term Use

  • Kidney disorders
  • Bladder pain and ulcers
  • Chronic stomach pain
  • Longer-term memory impairment
  • Flashbacks
  • Depression

Signs of Ketamine Addiction

Here are some signs that an individual may be struggling with ketamine addiction:

  • Skin redness
  • Slurred speech
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Antsy behavior
  • Fast eye movements
  • Insomnia
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Memory issues
  • Loss of coordination
  • Lying and secretive behavior
  • Hiding empty bottles of the drug
  • Inability to stop using the drug or lying about quitting
  • Suddenly performing poorly at school or work
  • Becoming closed off and neglecting social life

Ketamine Addiction Treatment Options

Overcoming ketamine addiction is possible through a variety of programs and therapies. The following are the most common and effective treatment options to consider:

Medical Detox

Assessment by a doctor is needed to determine the level of ketamine addiction from one case to another and formulate a suitable treatment plan.

For patients with a medium to severe ketamine addiction, treatment begins with medical detoxification. This process aims to rid the body of the drug and its toxic compounds.

Detox involves gradually decreasing the amount of the drug that the patient takes until they stop using it completely.

The lower doses will most likely trigger withdrawal symptoms, which is where medications (such as Modafinil and Disulfiram) come in to help alleviate them.

Administering these drugs, however, requires medical supervision to prevent unwanted complications.

Inpatient/Residential Treatment

In this type of program, patients live in specialized facilities –such as hospitals or recovery centers– and receive 24-hour care.

This intensive level of support is typically needed in cases of severe ketamine addiction. Residential treatment generally takes at least 2 or 3 months.


Partial hospitalization programs are best described as halfway between residential and outpatient treatment. It’s meant for moderate to less severe cases of ketamine addiction.

PHPs feature a similar treatment structure and intensity, but the patient doesn’t stay overnight at the facility. Instead, they typically spend 4 to 6 hours a day at the facility and come in for a minimum of 5 days per week.

Intensive Outpatient and Outpatient Programs

Less intense than a PHP but more structured than a regular outpatient program, IOPs (intensive outpatient programs) combine consistent support with supervised flexibility.

Similar to PHPs, patients come down to the treatment center to receive/attend therapy sessions and leave once the day’s agenda is complete. IOP patients visit the facility less frequently than 4 to 6 hours 5 days a week.

IOP also offers patients enough time to practice their coping skills with decreased supervision. It makes for a good transition to an outpatient program.

Outpatient treatments provide patients with the highest level of flexibility among other programs. They get to live at home and go about their normal lives –socially and professionally– while participating in low-frequency therapy sessions.

This sort of treatment program is an effective option for mild to moderate cases of ketamine addiction.

Therapy and Counseling

This is a crucial component of a ketamine addiction treatment plan as it addresses the continuity of recovery. Therapy helps patients maintain long-term sobriety and avoid relapse.

The following are examples of the most commonly used techniques of this treatment approach:

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

This type of behavioral therapy is centered around making connections between emotions/thoughts and actions.

Patients are taught to recognize negative feelings and thought patterns that lead to destructive behaviors such as substance abuse.

This helps them better understand the causes of their addiction and facilitates the mission of replacing adverse patterns with positive ones.

Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)

This type of behavioral therapy is classified under CBT and is designed to help patients identify the triggers of their cravings and drug use habits.

Such information allows people struggling with addiction to better control their impulses, regulate their emotions, and build coping mechanisms to prevent relapse.

Motivational Interviewing

A huge part of achieving and maintaining recovery is to have a strong motive that keeps you on the right track.

MI is the type of behavioral therapy that deals with such an aspect of psychology, focusing on boosting the patient’s motivation to execute and uphold changes they make in their habits and routines.

Individual Therapy

In individual therapy sessions, patients work one-on-one with doctors who help them look deep into themselves to uncover the root of their addiction problem.

Also referred to as individual counseling, talk therapy, or psychotherapy, patients are encouraged to discuss their feelings, issues, traumas, and thoughts in a safe, private space.

Group Therapy

This is a widely implemented type of psychotherapy that involves a group of patients with a similar addiction problem. Each individual is encouraged to share their experience, feelings, and thoughts while engaging in discussions with peers.

This interpersonal interaction promotes a sense of community and the building of supportive connections with relatable people.

Holistic therapy

This branch of behavioral therapy involves a range of treatments that are meant to reduce the patient’s stress levels and boost their overall physical and mental well-being.

Examples of holistic therapy include physical exercise, meditation, pet therapy, and massage therapy.

Conclusion: Finding Your Way Out

Ketamine addiction is a tricky problem to navigate, but resolving it is highly possible as long as you seek proper help.

If you or someone you care about is struggling with ketamine addiction, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us immediately. At Illinois Recovery Center, we’ll make sure you start a treatment plan that best suits your condition so you can get your life back under control.


Published on: 2024-05-07
Updated on: 2024-05-07