What Is Ketamine?

Ketamine is a drug that has long been used as an anesthetic in veterinary and pediatric medicine. Ke....

Side Effects

Ketamine is a dissociative drug mainly used as an anesthetic in humans and as a tranquilizer in anim....


Ketamine addiction can be treated. Treatment of the addiction is a process and involves several step....


Ketamine withdrawal is a physical as well as a mental process. Ketamine addiction is a problem that ....

Ketamine Addiction

The drug Ketamine is traditionally used in pediatric as well as in veterinary medicine. The drug available on the streets is most probably stolen from a hospital or veterinary clinic. The street variety known as “Special K” is responsible for most addictions. Most health professionals categorize Ketamine addiction as psychological rather than physical.


The effects of the drug are felt in the body anywhere between 10-45 minutes after it has been taken, depending on whether it was taken orally, via injection or via inhalation (snorting). Oral administration has the longest lead time before the effects are felt whilst an injection (IM) has the shortest lead time.

The physical effects of Ketamine use and addiction include: a feeling of numbness in the toes and fingers; nausea and vomiting; hallucinations; memory loss (amnesia); learning difficulties; poor motor coordination; difficulties in moving (especially pronounced during the peak stage of a K trip); slurred speech; damage to the kidneys and bladder and a reduced sense of touch.

The psychological and emotional effects of Ketamine use include: paranoia; a feeling of being detached or dissociated from one’s body; mood swings characterized by bouts of anger and irritability and egocentric behavior (feelings of being more important than others around you).

Ketamine Addiction

Unlike the more common street drugs such as cocaine and marijuana, Ketamine is not physically addictive. The pleasant effects associated with Ketamine use can however lead to it becoming extremely habit-forming and psychologically addictive. Consequently it is classified by the government as a schedule 3 drug with restricted access. This means it is only available via a prescription from a medical specialist and is not available over the counter.

Different individuals respond differently to the drug and effects vary depending on the dosage administered, the mental and emotional state of the user and the mode of administration.

The effects are distinctively different depending on the mental state of the user. Individuals in a positive frame of mind report feeling a pleasant floatiness and dissociation from the body and gaining remarkable insights into their inner self. A depressed individual on the other hand is more likely to experience frightening hallucinations or nightmares.

Physical tolerances also vary from individual to individual, but in general tolerance increases with sustained use. In fact, it has been observed that those who use the drug at higher doses for a period of several months can reach a stage where the drug no longer has any effect on them.

As with other types of addiction, the social consequences of Ketamine addiction have much wider implications than the physical effects.

Due to the users’ susceptibility to mood swings characterized by bouts of anger and irritability, personal relationships become strained and this can result in marital disharmony and lead eventually to marriage breakdown. In addition, the increased financial pressure resulting from the use of the drug can mean the addict may resort to theft to obtain the money to buy the drug.

For individuals who abuse the drug, cognitive functions of the brain are impaired leading to learning difficulties. Social interactions also become strained as a result of emotional instabilities.