The primary treatment option for ketamine addiction is therapy, including various therapeutic approaches, such as cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational therapy. Other treatments that can help include complementary approaches, like art therapy, yoga, meditation, support groups, and acupuncture.
Ketamine is a sedative-hypnotic drug commonly used in veterinary clinics to sedate animals. Some people use this drug to experience sedation and hallucinations in a short-lasting high. Some develop an addiction to the drug.
While researchers have identified powerful prescription drugs to help people recover from addictions to drugs like heroin and alcohol, nothing similar has been done for ketamine. But conventional therapy combined with complementary treatments and support groups can help people rebuild their lives and stop abusing ketamine.
How Is Ketamine Addiction Treated?
Addiction treatment programs are designed around the needs of individuals. Your program begins with an assessment of your addiction, treatment history, mental health, and goals. Then, your team helps you choose from a menu of therapies that can help.
These components are often included in addiction treatment programs:
Researchers say ketamine can cause psychological (not physical) dependence. You may experience deep drug cravings, but they’re not typically associated with physical symptoms like nausea or muscle aches. You generally won’t need medications to help your body to heal.
But some people develop ketamine addiction due to underlying mental health problems, including depression. Medications could help to balance brain chemistry, allowing your sadness to fade so you can focus on healing.
Multiple types of addiction counseling exist, and they’re included in almost every treatment plan. Your sessions could be held privately, or your counselor could hold group meetings with many people in recovery.
Therapy approaches often used in ketamine addiction include the following:
- Art therapy: Counselors offer a prompt (such as, “Paint your current mood.”). You can use any style or medium in response, and your artistic mastery doesn’t matter.
You may find that these sessions help you to process uncomfortable memories or tap into deep emotions. You may discuss those insights in later sessions with your counselor.
- Cognitive behavioral therapy: CBT is one of the most used therapy types in addiction treatment programs. It’s also one of the most powerful.
In therapy, you learn to identify thoughts and feelings that emerge just before ketamine cravings start. Then, you learn to manage those thoughts or feelings, so you don’t start using drugs again. The lessons you learn here can stick with you for the rest of life.
- Family therapy: Your spouse, children, or parents can play a role in your ongoing sobriety, and you may have issues to discuss due to your past choices. Family therapy sessions are safe spaces for frank discussions and relationship building.
- Motivational therapy: You may struggle to understand what your future might look like without ketamine. Motivational therapy can help you envision this future clearly, and you might emerge even more committed to sobriety.
You may use multiple types of therapy throughout your treatment program, switching from one method to another as your recovery deepens and your skills build.
While working with a professional is critical, your peers can teach you a lot. Support group meetings allow you to connect with others who are also struggling with addiction, and together, you share tips and techniques to support long-term sobriety.
Multiple support group formats exist, including some with a religious basis and others that are secular. Some follow a formal structure in each meeting, while others are more relaxed.
You may be introduced to support groups via your treatment program, and the format you use first may fit you perfectly. But you may also feel inclined to experiment with other formats later. Don’t be afraid to search until you find one that’s right for your long-term recovery.
Complementary therapies can be great additions to your treatment program. While they should never replace conventional techniques, they can deepen your understanding of addiction and help you build new skills.
Common complementary therapies used in addiction treatment programs include the following:
- Meditation: Learn to focus on your breathing and stop endless thoughts about getting or using drugs. Meditation is private, so you can use this technique anywhere. And many people find it’s a good approach to deploy when addiction triggers emerge.
- Yoga or qigong. Use gentle movements and stretches to correct damage done by drug abuse. Pair your breath with your movements, as a moving form of meditation. After rehab, you can use community classes to deepen your practice.
- Acupuncture: Many people turn to drugs like ketamine because of pain. Acupuncture uses tiny needles to ease discomfort in muscles and tendons. And some people find acupuncture relieves drug cravings too, as they emerge from sessions feeling deeply relaxed.
- Massage: Gentle compression helps relax muscles knotted by stress. Some people feel very comforted during massage, which helps them to sleep deeply.
This isn’t an all-inclusive list of complementary treatment options. Many programs offer much more to their clients. But it gives you an idea of what your care team might recommend.
Do People With Ketamine Addiction Recover?
Addiction is a chronic condition, but treatment can help you to manage it properly. You won’t emerge from treatment cured because there is no cure for addiction, but you’ll have the tools you need to understand your mind and create an at-home care plan.
Your long-term ketamine addiction recovery plan might include the following elements:
- Regular support group meetings
- Daily meditation or yoga sessions
- Outpatient appointments with your counselor weekly or monthly
- Regular exercise
- A structured workday with ample time to sleep, exercise, and meditate
If you relapse to drug use, your ketamine treatment program didn’t fail. Instead, you’ve encountered a new challenge to your sobriety you can address with inpatient or outpatient touch-up care. You may need a few rounds of this follow-up care before you enter a time of permanent sobriety.
If you’re struggling with ketamine addiction, consider enrolling in a treatment program today. With proper guidance and support, you can achieve a lasting recovery.
- Ketamine. (April 2020). U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
- Types of Treatment. (April 2023). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
- Substance Use Disorder Treatment: Complementary Approaches. (March 2022). U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
- Find a Support Group or Local Program for Mental Health, Drugs, or Alcohol. (April 2023). Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
- Treatment and Recovery. (July 2020). National Institute on Drug Abuse.