Ketamine dependence is uncommon, but frequent use does commonly lead to tolerance. That means people who use ketamine have to take higher doses or use the drug in risky ways to feel the same effects. People with a high tolerance to ketamine often binge,
taking excessive amounts of the drug over a short period. Ketamine, like all Schedule III controlled substances, has a relatively low potential for addiction. That said, the risk of developing an addiction to ketamine exists, mainly due to the development of tolerance and physical dependence. It’s no surprise when you look at the risks of ketamine use that it may cause people to be concerned about its use in non-surgical treatments.

As well as consuming ketamine on a regular basis, the following are also signs that you, or someone that you know, may be struggling with an addiction to ketamine. Ketamine is most commonly used by vets as an animal tranquilizer or by aestheticians for sedating adults or children prior to surgery. It works as a fast-acting anesthetic which is useful for doctors and veterinarians when conducting minor surgeries. It also lasts a short duration of approximately 30 to 60 minutes and so it doesn’t take hours to wear off like some other sedatives. We do not receive any compensation or commission for referrals to other treatment facilities. It is commonly referred to as special K, ket, cat valium, kit kat, and vitamin K, among others.

Do psychedelic and dissociative drugs have side effects?

Administered intranasally, it has a “well-studied, proven safety and efficacy profile” across 31 global clinical trials in more than 2200 patients, said Harding. Ketamine use can be fatal in people who are alcoholics or acutely intoxicated with alcohol. There are animal reports of an increased risk of toxicity when ketamine is combined Ketamine Addiction with caffeine. Theoretically, this may be a concern in people who have consumed energy drinks, often done at nightclubs where ketamine may be abused. Ketamine is a noncompetitive N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist, and it blocks HCN1 receptors. However, at higher doses it may also bind to the opioid mu and sigma receptors.

These effects may improve ability to learn new behaviors (18) and may be beneficial in the treatment of SUDs. Our overall objective is to provide a review of the recent literature on the efficacy of ketamine in the treatment of SUDs. Psychedelic-assisted therapy—or ketamine-assisted therapy, if that substance is used—is when the use of psychedelic or dissociative drugs is integrated with other treatments, mainly talk therapy. Though more research is needed, scientists theorize that these substances promote brain changes that have the potential to promote healthy thought patterns, potentially supporting the effectiveness of talk therapy. Collectively, these studies suggest that ketamine may improve the ability to establish and maintain abstinence in SUDs.


Positive reinforcement encourages a pattern of behaviour to form by offering a reward for that behaviour. This continuous cycle of abuse can result in the development of a dangerous ketamine addiction as opposed to ‘one-off’ behaviour. Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic that can produce hallucinogenic effects, which is why it’s often abused. An addiction center can treat substance use disorders as well as any mental health issues that are underlying drug abuse. Dr. Allie Sharma, a Cornell-trained board-certified Adult Psychiatrist, is the chief medical officer and co-founder of Being Health, a new mental health practice that takes an integrated approach to mental health care. The practice’s first location recently opened in New York City’s Financial District, with plans to open more locations.

There are many factors that may contribute to ketamine tolerance including how much ketamine is used, frequency of use, and other drugs ingested. If a person becomes psychologically addicted to ketamine, they may eventually develop a tolerance, particularly after prolonged misuse. Falling into a k-hole usually only lasts a short period of time, but some people continue to feel disconnected from the world afterward and may exhibit ongoing signs of psychosis. A k-hole occurs when ketamine is taken in higher doses followed by intense feelings of dissociation and feeling disconnected from the body.

Behavioural and social symptoms of ketamine addiction:

Treatment for ketamine addiction often involves some type of psychotherapy, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), motivational enhancement therapy, family therapy, or group therapy. While the drug is largely eliminated from the body within 14 to 18 hours after the last dose, it can also have longer-term effects. People who have used this drug report harsh flashbacks even weeks after the drug has been cleared from the body.

  • In some neurological ICU settings, Ketamine has been used in cases of prolonged status epilepticus; there is some evidence that NMDA-blocking effect of Ketamine protects neurons from glutamatergic damage during prolonged seizures.
  • Ketamine is an injectable, short-acting dissociative anesthetic that can have hallucinogenic effects at certain doses.
  • First of all, your yoga therapist will conduct a thorough assessment before you start.
  • Studies have also shown that ketamine may be useful for withdrawal management.
  • In part, this phenomenon is due to the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) 2019 approval of ketamine’s cousin, esketamine (Spravato), the first antidepressant in a new drug class for treatment-resistant depression (TRD).