What is Ketamine?
Ketamine is a drug originally intended to be administered to animals during veterinary procedures. However, it has become a popular street drug in the UK and Ireland. Taking ketamine produces feelings of dissociation, and of being outside one’s body.
The user can enter a dreamlike mental state, and experience a distorted reality, and sometimes feelings of euphoria. At higher doses, it can induce intense hallucinations, which may be either enjoyable or frightening, due to the drug’s unpredictability. During these hallucinations, the user becomes temporarily paralysed and unable to respond to external stimuli. It has a strong anaesthetic effect too, making the user unable to feel pain.
Health Risks of Taking Ketamine
Long-term ketamine use can lead to a host of dangerous health effects. Prolonged use can cause the user to experience abdominal pain, known as ‘K-cramps’. The most widely reported and serious health risk resulting from heavy and prolonged ketamine use is damage to the bladder and the urinary tract. This condition has been named the ‘ketamine bladder syndrome’ due to its prevalence among users.
Users may experience the frequent need to urinate and experience pain when they do so. The urine may be stained with blood, meaning that it contains tissue from the wall of the bladder. In the long-term, ketamine use can also cause incontinence and ulcers in the bladder. If the damage is serious enough, the user’s bladder may need to be removed. There is also increasing evidence that the liver is damaged as a result of ketamine abuse.
Regular ketamine users build up a tolerance to the drug, meaning they have to take increasingly large doses to experience the same effect, and incur ever increasing health risks. There is no safe way to take ketamine; every pattern of use is damaging to the health.
Ketamine Addiction Treatment
Patients seeking help with ketamine addiction will commence their treatment programme with a period of detox. This gives them the best possible start to treatment and prepares them mentally and physically for the journey to recovery.
Withdrawal from ketamine is more challenging in a psychological, rather than physical sense. The patient will experience few physical symptoms, but these can include loss of hearing and motor skills, and an increased breathing and heart rate.
The ketamine user will experience intense cravings for the drug, which is why it is most effective to detox from ketamine in a residential facility, with an attentive medical team on-hand.
The patient’s condition will be monitored throughout the ketamine detox, and they may be provided with medication to reduce discomfort. Removing the patient from their chaotic everyday lives, and the easy accessibility of ketamine, is one of the factors that makes our residential treatment so successful.
The residential nature of our rehab treatment means that patients can join in with the daily regime of therapy while they are detoxing from ketamine.
Residential Rehab Treatment for Ketamine Addiction
Our residential ketamine rehab programme aims to heal mental, physical and spiritual health with a combination of therapeutic and leisure activities. We tailor our programme to each patient depending on their history of drug use, their current personal circumstances and their goals within treatment. Our clinically proven model involves a combination of specialised addiction therapies, including:
Our core programme of therapies target the patient’s psychological well-being, and break the mental links to ketamine addiction. These are supported by our complementary therapies, which help to reconnect the patient with themselves, others around them, and nature. These include:
We also aim to improve the patient’s physical condition in order to give them the energy they need to beat addiction and to repair the damage wrought by drug and alcohol abuse. This is achieved by a combined programme of healthy, balanced meals and regular exercise in our gym, swimming pool, or extensive grounds.
Continuing Care – After Rehab
When the patient is ready to re-enter their daily lives, we equip them with with personalised two year continuing care plan. They will also be advised to attend peer support groups such as Narcotics Anonymous, to continue their progress. In addition, we offer a series of teletherapy sessions, as well as optional weekly, drop-in therapy sessions.
If you or someone you know suffer with ketamine addiction, please contact us for help. The team at Smarmore Castle is available 24/7 to answer enquiries about our treatment programme.
Our team is very experienced in treating people with drug and alcohol abuse problems, and our programme is among the highest quality in Ireland. We follow the clinically proven model of our partner establishment, Castle Craig. Research conducted on former patients of this rehab centre found that the vast majority reported diminished drug and alcohol use, or total abstinence when followed up.
Last updated and clinically assessed 4 February, 2021