How Addictive is Ketamine?

How Addictive is Ketamine?

Ketamine is a controlled substance and a dissociative anesthetic that is often used by veterinarians. Many people abuse the drug illegally as it has properties that make the user feel dreamlike and away from his or her body.

While ketamine has properties that make it desirable to recreational users, but it can be very dangerous as well as addictive.

Properties of Ketamine

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, "ketamine comes in a clear liquid and a white or off-white powder." Its street names are Special K, Jet, Kit Kat, and Vitamin K. It is usually snorted, but it can also be smoked or injected. Brown University states that ketamine has many "contradictory effect," such as:

  • Stimulant
  • Sedative
  • Incapacitating Effects
  • Floating or Dreamlike Feelings
  • Hallucinations
  • Delirium
  • Amnesia

Many people take ketamine for it's strong effects on the mind and body, but it can be dangerous even when used only once. In high doses, ketamine can often cause "impaired motor function," as well as reduce the user's heart rate and respiratory function. This sometimes even results in the individual's inability to move, a state called a "k-hole," which can become very frightening and dangerous depending on where the person is. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "users have likened the physical effects of ketamine to those of PCP, and the visual effects of LSD."


Evidence of Ketamine Addictiveness

Ketamine is very addictive in nature. As written by Brown University, "ketamine users can develop signs of tolerance and craving for the drug, which is evidence of addictive properties." The appeal of the drug is very strong to people who want to "feel dissociated from their environment," which makes users want the same effects again and again as they start crave the drug and its temporary high. The tolerance built up by repeat users will ensure that larger doses of the drug will be necessary to feel the same high, and many people will continue to take it as they are already addicted. Because of these properties, ketamine has a tendency to become habit-forming.


Comparing Ketamine to Cocaine

Cocaine, as many people know, is a highly addictive substance. As a recreational drug, ketamine has been compared to cocaine in its behavioral effects on the user and its addictive nature. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, "there have been reports of people binging on ketamine, a behavior that is similar to that seen in some cocaine or amphetamine-dependent individuals." The cravings and the building tolerance that ketamine abusers experience are also similar in characteristic to the properties of cocaine and cocaine abuse.


Ketamine is often abused for its "low-dose intoxication" (National Institute on Drug Abuse), but it can quickly become very addictive and dangerous to the user. Especially in its comparisons to cocaine, one can see just how addictive ketamine can be. If you are beginning to see signs of ketamine abuse in yourself or a loved one, treatment is essential in order to fight the addiction.

Post Discussion

  1. There are no comments for this post yet. Use the form below to be the first!

Leave a comment


To protect the integrity of our site all comments are reviewed prior to being shown, we apologize for the small delay, but this brings a better experience for our readers. SPAM & rude comments are not tolerated. Using the 'Connect with Facebook' option will get your comment up faster!

Contact A Substance Abuse Counselor

We help people take the first steps toward getting help for their drug and alcohol usage and having drug-free lifestyles. To contact an alcohol/drug abuse counselor, please call 1-800-591-6474(Info iconWho Answers?).

Socialize with us
Close Icon

Where do calls go?

Calls to numbers on a specific treatment center listing will be routed to that treatment center. Additional calls will also be forwarded and returned by a quality treatment center within the USA.

Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) for your visit will be answered by a licensed drug and alcohol rehab facility, a paid advertiser on

All calls are private and confidential.