Ketamine Addiction Treatment

Published by John Gillen | Last updated: 19th December 2023 | All Sources


Clinically Reviewed by Dr. Olalekan Otulana (Advanced Practitioner)

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All information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.
Last Reviewed: 6th December 2023

Ketamine is a powerful aesthetic and short-acting analgesic (painkiller) used on humans and animals.It is often billed as a horse-tranquilizer to emphasise the danger of its use; however, it is used to treat smaller animals as well.It is usually a grainy white powder, although it can come in a liquid or tablet form.

Although Ketamine is not physically addictive, it is still extremely dangerous when taken recreationally.[1] There are various side effects which range from relaxation to hallucinations; hence it is sometimes referred to as a “party drug”.  Names linked with the drug are K, Ket, Special K, and Vitamin K.

In 2021, a large number of private clinics started to offer Ketamine to patients with depression. It started a debate within medical practices as to whether it is appropriate to treat depression with Ketamine as it is unavailable to NHS patients. For this to happen, it would need to be approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). [5]

The risk of Ketamine being used to treat mental health problems increases the risk of doctor shopping; tracking the administration of Ketamine would be considerably difficult. Patients would need long-term treatment for Ketamine to be effective; this poses a risk due to its long-term effects.


Immediate and Long-Term Risks

As well as the physical and psychological dangers, another risk of recreational Ketamine use is the prison sentences it carries. It is a class B drug with a prison sentence of up to five years for possession and up to 14 years for supplying and production.

Below we have listed further hazards of Ketamine addiction.


Ketamine dulls the senses and pain receptors, often making users or patients feel numb or even paralysed. If someone cuts themselves accidentally, they may not feel it and seek medical attention. Additionally, it can cause confusion and disorientation, which can become a catalyst for more unintentional injuries.


Ketamine can make people feel dizzy, meaning they are at a higher risk of fainting. This risk is increased when mixed with alcohol or other drugs.

Kidney Problems

Excessive Ketamine use can create kidney problems, triggering painful and involuntary urination and intense abdominal pains referred to as “K-Cramps”.

Mental Health Issues

Regular ketamine use can exacerbate existing mental health problems. It can lead to feelings of paranoia, heightened anxiety leading to panic attacks, and experiences known as “K-Holes” – where a user feels trapped and detached without the ability to voice their feelings.


Prescription Drug Rehab: A Timeline

As previously identified, Ketamine has great medical benefits but few when taken out of this setting.

As previously stated, Ketamine is psychologically addictive, and when a person is addicted emotionally, it can be even harder to overcome alone. For prescription drug addiction, we recommend inpatient rehab due to its intensity, the 24hr care available to patients, and the success rates of long-term recovery.

There is a three-step process to rehab; detoxification, therapy, and aftercare.

Step 1

Detox treatment can be the biggest hurdle for many addicts when considering whether they’re ready to lead a life free from drugs. The drug detox itself isn’t hard; it is the withdrawal symptoms that are feared.

The most common indication of withdrawals is agitation, confusion, psychosis, nausea, and severe depression, which increases the risk of suicide.

Medical and professional supervision is advised for a safer and more controlled detox. Depending on how each patient reacts during their detox, it may be mutually agreed that medication should be administered to help lessen the psychological withdrawal symptoms.

This part of rehabilitation can last between 7-10 days, but with the support of our team at Cassiobury, we can get through this most difficult period together.

Step 2

After the mind has been through the detoxification process, the next step within the three is therapy. At Cassiobury, we believe addiction is a full-body dilemma – there is often a reason why a person has abused substances. Our rehab facility has an assortment of therapies, from group therapy to Cognitive Behavioural Therapy. The therapies’ specifics will differ for each patient as no addiction is the same.

Group therapy is particularly beneficial for patients that stay at our private drug and alcohol rehab facility. We truly believe that creating strong relationships and bonds can help an addict achieve long-term sobriety. Much like Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings, having others who can strengthen you in times of need can help when an addict is emotionally struggling and prevent relapses.

These therapies help construct the foundation for an addict to develop once they return to their home setting. Stress management and 1-1 recovery planning can encourage our patients to think about challenges they may face when starting their drug-free life and how they can create more positive behaviours when potentially stressful situations arise.

Step 3

The length of time spent at rehab can vary from person to person. The recommended duration at rehab is 28-days. However, it is important to understand this can vary.The final step to rehab is the aftercare programme.

Once the psychological addiction is lessened and the foundation for an addiction-free life is laid, an addict will return home. This thought alone can cause heightened anxiety and stress.

As a rehabilitation centre, we are here to provide our patients with continuous and personalised support 12 months after leaving Cassiobury Court. The first 12 months can be extremely difficult, so we give our patients a thorough aftercare programme.

We can be your additional support system when times get tough. We can be an extra pair of eyes checking for signs and symptoms that you may be struggling.


How We Can Help

If you or someone you love is struggling with Ketamine addiction, we’re here to help.

Contact our friendly and professional team today to enquire about our services, how we treat ketamine addiction and the next steps. Furthermore, we offer services for those concerned about a loved one with a potential addiction.

Call 0800 001 4070 to learn about our services for patients and family intervention services. Alternatively, you can text HELP to 83222.


John Gillen

John Gillen - Author Last updated: 19th December 2023

John Gillen is a leading addiction treatment expert with over 15 years of experience providing evidence-based treatment methods for individuals throughout the UK. John also co-authors the book, The Secret Disease of Addiction, which delves into how the addictive mind works and what treatment techniques work best.

Dr. Olalekan Otulana (Advanced Practitioner)

Dr. Olalekan Otulana (Advanced Practitioner) - Medical Reviewer - Last Reviewed: 6th December 2023

Dr. Olalekan Otulana MBChB, DRCOG, MRCGP, DFSRH, FRSPH, MBA (Cantab)

 Dr Otulana is a highly experienced GP and Addiction Physician. He has a specialist interest in Substance Misuse Management and he has a wide range of experience in the assessment, management (including detoxification) and residential rehabilitation of clients with various drug and substance addiction problems.  His main aim is to comprehensively assess patients with addiction problems and determine their treatment needs for medical detoxification treatments and psychological interventions. He is also experienced in managing patients who require dual drug and alcohol detoxification treatments.

A strong healthcare services professional with a Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) degree from Cambridge University Judge Business School.