What is Ketamine Withdrawal Like?

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Ketamine Withdrawal

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Known for its dissociative effects and sedative powers, ketamine is a drug that is often abused in the party scene but can cause an intense ketamine withdrawal.

Primarily known as a horse tranquilizer, in recent years ketamine is now being used to treat depression, suicidal tendencies, chronic pain, migraines, OCD, and even some PTSD symptoms.

Ketamine is a nasal spray that acts almost instantly.

The ketamine withdrawal symptoms are painful and extremely addictive with intense risks for long-term use.

Despite this, the numbers of ketamine users continue to climb.

What is Ketamine?

Ketamine belongs to a class of drugs known as dissociative anesthetics.

Typically these are used during surgery to induce and maintain general anesthesia.

It is also used before and after surgery.

If you are injected with or given ketamine intravenously, you might feel extremely detached from the situation you are in.

You can also feel as though you are floating.

Considered safe when used properly in a hospital setting, ketamine is often chosen because it does not reduce blood pressure or reduce breathing rates.

Other uses for ketamine include:

  • Cardiac catheterization
  • Skin grafts
  • Orthopedics
  • Diagnostic procedures on eyes, ears, nose, and throat
  • Dental extractions
  • Minor surgeries

What is Ketamine Withdrawal?

When excessive ketamine abuse occurs, it can lead to a dependence on the drug.

As your tolerance increases, you will need larger doses in order to feel the same effects.

This is essentially addiction, and when a person who is addicted stops using ketamine, withdrawal symptoms occur.

The reason that withdrawal symptoms occur because ketamine changes the opioid receptors in the brain.

Psychological withdrawal symptoms are extremely dangerous.

This is why medical detox should always occur in the case of ketamine addiction.

Effects of Ketamine Withdrawal

Ketamine withdrawal is extremely dangerous, but the most dangerous symptoms are intense depression leading to suicide risk. Most ketamine withdrawal symptoms are psychological rather than physical. Common ketamine withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Agitation
  • Confusion
  • Psychosis
  • Delusions
  • Hallucinations
  • Loss of motor skills
  • Rage
  • Nausea
  • Decrease in respiratory function
  • Slowed cardiac function
  • Insomnia
  • Tremors
  • Hearing loss
  • Fatigue

You may also become emotional and may need to be isolated. Having professional supervision, including medical detox, is recommended so you can go through withdrawal safely.

Ketamine Withdrawal Timeline

Withdrawal from ketamine can last starting from 72 hours to multiple weeks. Typically ketamine withdrawal is not a life-threatening event, but it can be very uncomfortable. You should expect symptoms to begin starting at 24 hours since your last dose of ketamine. The length of your withdrawal will be dependent on the number of drugs existing in your body, how long you have been using ketamine, and how much you typically use it.

Days 1-3

In the first few days, acute withdrawal symptoms will begin. You may feel these symptoms within the first 24 hours of your last dose of ketamine. Symptoms include shakes, fatigue, insomnia, rage, depression, hallucinations, delusions, tremors, double vision, nausea, rapid breathing, and hearing loss.

Days 4-14

Expect your withdrawal symptoms to last for two weeks. At the end of the two weeks, you should see your symptoms decrease.

Days 15+

Although most of your symptoms should have stopped by this time, there is still nerve cell damage in the brain that can be permanent. This means you may still have psychological issues due to your addiction.

Mental Illness During Ketamine Withdrawal

If you are suffering from a mental illness at the same time as a ketamine use disorder then you are suffering from co-existing disorders and dual diagnosis. When a dual diagnosis occurs you will need to go to a treatment facility that is able to treat both your substance use disorder along your mental illness.

If you do not treat your mental illness along with your ketamine addiction, then you run the risk of not maintaining your sobriety. If you do choose to address both your mental illness, along with your ketamine addiction, then you still have a long road ahead of you.

This is because there is almost always a guarantee that you will go through ketamine withdrawal when you stop using this drug. Regardless of a dual diagnosis, if you use ketamine along with other drugs, then you will suffer from an even worse withdrawal period.

Ketamine Withdrawal treatment Ketamine Withdrawal

Ketamine Abuse Along With Other Drugs

When abusing ketamine with other drugs it increases your danger. Over-the-counter drugs and prescribed medications combined with ketamine are equally as dangerous. They can be unpredictable and can increase the risk of overdose.

When combining with alcohol or opiates you may experience an overdose including vomiting, slowed breathing, coma, and death. While when combining ketamine with amphetamines, ecstasy, or cocaine, it can put extreme strain on the body. This can lead to elevated heart rates and in rare cases, heart attack or stroke.

Treatment For Ketamine Withdrawal

Ketamine addiction is incredibly difficult to overcome. If there are any co-occurring disorders or other drug dependencies that are occurring, then you will need a higher level of care. Inpatient rehabs, also known as residential treatment, often offer treatment programs for ketamine addiction. This start at 28 days in length, but can go up to several months.

Although inpatient programs are often the best choice when it comes to a ketamine addiction, outpatient programs are also a good option if you are not ready to leave all of your responsibilities behind.

Common forms of behavioral treatment often found in both inpatient and outpatient therapy include:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, known as CBT, works to combat thinking patterns that lead to the behaviors leading to addiction.
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, known as DBT, introduces mindful awareness and stress management.
  • Acceptance and Commitment Therapy, known as ACT, helps to use mindfulness and acceptance therapies along with commitment and behavior-change strategies.


Ketamine withdrawal detox is the first step when beginning your recovery treatment process. This process occurs when attempting to get all of the remaining drugs from your system. You should stop ketamine immediately if possible, but because of this, you will suffer from intense withdrawal symptoms. You will feel intense cravings and go through psychological discomforts, but if you are in a medical detox facility, you will be surrounded by treatment providers to help you through it.

Are You Ready to Get Help for Ketamine Withdrawal?

Getting professional treatment is the only way to ensure you will recover from ketamine addiction. Despite this, you must be fully committed to stopping the use of ketamine, and want to achieve sobriety.

Know that being addicted to ketamine is extremely scary. It is not only going to be a fearful situation for you, but also for your family, your friends, and your community. Help is here and you do not need to struggle with addiction alone. As long as you are ready to accept help, we can help you.

Contact Us Today

The first step towards recovery is to admit you are struggling.

We are here to help you and welcome you with open arms.

At Resurgence Behavioral Health offer free insurance verification for treatment, and many different options to help you find sobriety.

We are here to help you and welcome you with open arms.

Contact us today to learn about all of our different treatment options.

Addiction Treatment that
Just Works

Individualized treatment programs delivered in a comfortable, relaxed setting promote healing in your recovery journey.