Lantana Recovery
A modern, community-based approach to addiction treatment for Men and Women in Charleston, SC

Ketamine Withdrawal | Psychological & Physiological Symptoms

Jump to Section

Ketamine is an increasingly popular recreational drug that can produce intense, dissociative effects in users. Unfortunately, many people who start using ketamine are unaware of the potentially severe dangers associated with it, including physical addiction, ketamine overdose, and potentially life-threatening withdrawal symptoms. 

In this post, we’ll take a deep dive into the psychological and physiological symptoms of ketamine withdrawal so that you can be better informed about what happens when someone stops taking the drug. 

What is Ketamine used for?

Ketamine is an increasingly common drug used by medical professionals to treat severe depression and suicidal ideation. By increasing the number of neurotransmitters in the brain, ketamine helps to improve symptoms – even when other treatments were proven ineffective. 

This has made it a potentially life-saving medication, as well as one with few side effects and short recovery times. Additionally, its ability to reduce pain and induce anesthesia makes it an ideal medication for sedation during certain medical procedures. 

As more people experience positive outcomes from using ketamine, research continues into its potential uses in the treatment of additional mental health issues and chronic pain.

What is Ketamine withdrawal?

Ketamine withdrawal refers to the symptoms that can occur when someone who has been regularly using ketamine stops taking the drug or significantly reduces their dosage. These symptoms can include anxiety, depression, insomnia, and cravings for the drug. However, it is worth noting that not everyone who uses ketamine will experience withdrawal, and the severity of withdrawal symptoms can vary greatly from person to person. 

Is it common to have Ketamine withdrawal? 

Yes, it is quite common to have Ketamine withdrawal as the euphoric high caused by the drug is habit-forming.

Symptoms of Ketamine Withdrawal:

Understanding the signs and symptoms of withdrawal can help you prepare for what lies ahead. Let’s take a look at some of the common psychological and physiological symptoms associated with ketamine withdrawal. 

Psychological symptoms

When coming off a ketamine addiction, psychological symptoms will likely be the first thing you experience during withdrawal. These can range from mild to severe, depending on how long you have been using and how much was used during each session. 

Some of these include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Insomnia
  • Mood swings
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Cravings for the drug

These effects can have a significant impact on your ability to function in everyday life, so it is important to seek professional help if you are experiencing any of these symptoms. 

Physiological symptoms

In addition to psychological symptoms, physical withdrawal symptoms are also common when coming off a ketamine addiction. These can include dizziness and balance problems due to the disruption of inner ear fluids caused by prolonged use of the drug, fatigue, headaches, nausea, sweating, tremors, and muscle aches and pains. 

Other more serious physiological effects may include seizures, heart palpitations, or increased blood pressure which could lead to heart palpitations or chest pain if left unchecked by medical professionals. 

Additionally, there may be long-term organ damage due to prolonged use of the drug which should be monitored closely if you decide to quit using it completely. 

How to manage Ketamine withdrawal? 

Managing ketamine withdrawal can be a long and difficult process. It is important to remember that it won’t happen overnight and that it will take time, patience, and determination. 

There are a few things individuals can do to help make the process go smoother including consulting a medical professional, creating a support system, utilizing relaxation techniques, and other lifestyle modifications such as exercise and nutrition. 

Creating a timeline is also beneficial so you can see your progress over time. Additionally, setting specific milestones may provide motivation and hope on your road to recovery. It is essential to remember that everyone’s experience with ketamine withdrawal is different but with proper guidance and a comprehensive plan, positive results can be achieved.

How long can Ketamine withdrawal symptoms last? 

Ketamine withdrawal symptoms can last for a prolonged period of time, depending on the individual and their particular usage patterns. For those who have been using Ketamine frequently, the duration of withdrawal symptoms can range from a few weeks to several months.

Ketamine Withdrawal Timeline

Ketamine withdrawal sets in after 24-72 hours of the last dosage. Here is a complete breakdown of the Ketamine withdrawal timeline.

Week 1

During the first week of ketamine withdrawal, individuals may experience some mild to moderate symptoms such as depression and anxiety, difficulty sleeping, irritability, fatigue, and cravings for the drug. 

Additionally, it is not uncommon for those withdrawing from ketamine to feel moody or experience emotional fluctuations. They may feel overwhelmed by their emotions or find it difficult to concentrate on simple tasks. People often report nausea and rapid breathing during the earliest stage of Ketamine withdrawal.

Week 2

As we move into the second week of ketamine withdrawal, symptoms may become more pronounced including increased feelings of depression and anxiety as well as heightened cravings for the drug. 

Other symptoms in this stage can include slowed thinking, hallucination, delusions, impaired vision, and hearing loss.  However, that is when the worst is over, as the symptoms slowly start wearing off as the drug has completely been flushed out of your system.

Week 3

The third week of ketamine withdrawal can bring about more intense symptoms that were present in week two but much stronger in severity such as heightened levels of depression and paranoia.

During this time most physical and psychological symptoms have subsided except the permanent nerve cell damage or disruptions in the brain chemistry due to prolonged use. That is why some users experience withdrawal symptoms for months.

Ketamine Detoxification 

Ketamine detoxification is the process of ridding one’s body and mind of all traces of the drug ketamine. When getting off Ketamine, it is important to understand what is safe to ingest and what should be avoided in order to successfully complete the process. It is essential to remember that an individual’s health should always be the top priority during any type of detoxification process.  

What is safe to ingest during Ketamine detox?

During a Ketamine detox, it is safe to ingest foods full of nutrition and energy as it is crucial to take care of one’s body during this exhausting time. Eating nutritious meals and reducing sugar intake can help provide essential nutrients necessary for the body while also helping keep energy levels up throughout the day. 

Incorporating healthy snacks such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, or different types of protein bars can also help nourish the body during this time of withdrawal. Additionally, engaging in light physical activity such as walking or biking can be beneficial for increasing endorphin levels to help ease symptoms associated with Ketamine withdrawal. 

Additionally, drinking lots of water and staying hydrated throughout the day can help flush out any toxins from the body. Lastly, consuming herbal supplements or vitamins/minerals that are known to support liver functioning may also be helpful during this process. 

What you should avoid during Ketamine detox?

While engaging in a Ketamine detoxification program it is recommended to avoid certain substances that could impede progress or lead to relapse. This includes avoiding alcoholic beverages as well as recreational drugs including marijuana and other illicit drugs such as heroin or cocaine. 

It is also important to stay away from environments where there may be triggers present that could lead one into relapse such as bars or clubs where alcohol might be served. Additionally, avoiding stressful situations can help reduce anxiety levels which could potentially have an adverse effect on withdrawal symptoms experienced while undergoing a ketamine detoxification regimen.

Bottom Line: Managing Ketamine Withdrawal

Ketamine is an incredibly powerful drug that can lead to serious physical and mental health issues if not used responsibly. Understanding the potential psychological and physiological effects you may experience during withdrawal is essential for anyone considering quitting their ketamine addiction

If you need help quitting or managing your cravings then please do not hesitate to reach out for professional advice and support from qualified healthcare professionals. That’s the only way you can ensure your safety and well-being during a Ketamine withdrawal.


Warren Phillips

Warren is a Licensed Master Social Worker, who specializes in substance abuse and mental health treatment. Clinically, Warren has developed a therapeutic skillset that utilizes a strengths-based perspective, Twelve Step philosophies, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Motivational Interviewing.

Related Articles
Addiction Treatment
Contact Form
We’re here to help you or your loved one on their path to sobriety

Chat with us.

Reach out now and join our supportive community

Charleston South Carolina

Charleston South Carolina

Located on the historic peninsula of Charleston, South Carolina, Lantana Recovery takes a modern approach to Substance Use Disorder treatment, offering intensive clinical care while also immersing our clients in local Charleston culture.