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Ketamine Addiction & Abuse

ketamine abuseKetamine is an anesthetic drug that is used primarily in the treatment of animals. It is also a popular drug in the dance or “rave” culture, and some individuals use the drug for its dissociative properties that they link to heightened spiritual awareness, according to the Center for Substance Abuse Research. The effects of the drug are much like one might expect from drugs that are used to sedate or anesthetize for surgery. Individuals have reported feelings of being outside of their body, floating, dizzy and euphoric. Ketamine has also been used as an aid to commit the crime of rape because the victim often will have no memory of the event.

The Method of Ketamine Abuse Can Affect Addiction

Information published by the National Institute on Drug Abuse indicates that the method through which an individual abuses drugs can impact the levels of addiction he or she might experience. It can also determine the speed with which addiction begins to develop. Ketamine, according to the National Drug Intelligence Center, can be ingested in a variety of ways. Historically, ketamine has been available in either a powder or a liquid. The power form of the drug can be pressed into tablets which are taken orally, or dissolved in liquids, such as alcoholic beverages. The liquid form can be injected into muscle tissue. When drugs are injected, the rate of abuse can increase because the effects of the drugs may not last as long. As the individual repeats attempt to maintain or “chase the high,” they expose themselves to higher rates of tolerance.

Addiction is a disease of the brain that occurs when a person has become dependent upon a substance, such as ketamine.

There are many symptoms of addiction, and most of them are behavior related. When an individual feels that ketamine abuse is more important that meeting their responsibilities at work, school or home, for example, they may be suffering from addiction. If they spend a great deal of their time thinking about ketamine, trying to obtain it, abuse it, and then recover from the effects of the drug, they likely have a serious problem with addiction.

Another behavior that may occur is the lack of regard for the safety of oneself or others.

Does the person who is abusing drugs drive a car when they shouldn’t? Do they frequent neighborhoods that are dangerous? Do they engage in unprotected sex promiscuously without regard to their own health and risks of such behaviors? Ketamine abuse can detrimentally affect the common sense of an individual who would, under normal circumstances, make better decisions.

Treatment Options for Ketamine Abuse

According to the experts at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the information on effective treatment for drugs such as ketamine is limited. In the event of an overdose on ketamine, the immediate treatment options include monitoring the body’s system and addressing symptoms as they occur as they relate to heartbeat and breathing. Addiction to another CNS depressant – alcohol – responds well to cognitive behavioral therapies, and this type of therapy can be used to help those who are suffering from ketamine abuse and addiction as well.

Cognitive behavioral therapies are designed to help individuals help themselves.

Rather than telling an individual that their behavior is “wrong,” cognitive behavioral therapy allows for the fact that the unhealthy behaviors are learned over time and based upon the individual’s beliefs and thought processes. For example, if a person believes that their ketamine abuse is necessary in order for them to have friends and belong to a socially important group, they may choose to abuse ketamine regularly. If they can unlearn this belief structure and determine on their own that this group is not socially important or that their friends are capable of respecting that they will no longer abuse ketamine, they can effectively change their behavior. Perhaps an individual is engaging in ketamine abuse because they feel they have no real possibilities for a productive future, so they have nothing to lose. By showing this individual that, after treatment and seeing a new outlook on their life, they can continue their education and learn the skills necessary to support their family, they can make better, healthier decisions about their drug use.

Some of the benefits of cognitive behavior therapy are:

  • It’s a brief approach to talk therapy. CBT generally lasts for approximately 16 sessions, rather than years of traditional talk therapy.
  • The focus of recovery is on the patient as the counselor teaches the client how to self-counsel and manage his or her behaviors.
  • CBT teaches the individual how to change how they feel because the person wants to change, not because they are told they should change.
  • CBT is about learning, not talking. Individuals are immersed in the learning and healing process as they complete homework on a regular basis throughout the process, thus focusing their attention even when they are not actively in session.
  • CBT helps individuals learn to operate on what they know for a fact to be true, and not what they may be assuming is true, so their decisions are informed and healthy in the future.

Residential Inpatient Treatment for Ketamine Abuse Can Help Control Cravings

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, individuals who undergo treatment in a short-term residential setting are some of the most likely people to complete their treatment plans. Individuals who participated in outpatient programs, on the other hand, were among those least likely to complete treatment. While the information provided does not indicate specific reasons for this disparity, it seems logical that the availability of drugs of abuse when one is continuing to live at home, surrounded by the same temptations and opportunities to engage in ketamine abuse, may have something to do with it. When choosing a treatment option for any kind of drug abuse, the decision should be a personal one, made with full knowledge of what is best for the recovering individual. Residential treatment does provide a number of benefits, however, including limiting the availability of drugs, a peaceful and calm atmosphere that is designed to encourage healing, and the lack of distractions from one’s daily life, such as work, family obligations, and the need to “be there” for others. Individuals who choose to receive treatment on an inpatient basis have access to many of the evidence-based treatments available in outpatient therapy settings, with other options as well.

Treatments for ketamine abuse and addiction in a residential environment might include:

  • Family therapy to address how the family can help their loved one maintain abstinence from ketamine abuse and to address the needs of others within the family unit who may have been negatively affected by their loved one’s ketamine abuse
  • Group counseling that involves the recovering addict and others who have similar, but unique, perspectives on the healing process and can share their experiences for the betterment of the group
  • Holistic therapies, such as massage or yoga, to help the recovering individual manage stress during and after treatment
  • Counseling for co-occurring mental health issues, if needed, to help prevent addiction and the co-occurring condition from feeding off each other and increasing the risk of relapse

Getting help is the most important aspect of treatment. If you or someone you love is ready to take that step, it is important to act quickly. Please contact us here at Futures of Palm Beach so your journey to healing can begin right now.

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