Ketamine Withdrawal Symptoms (14 Signs to Be Aware Of)

A close up shot of a syringe filled with Ketamine drug

Although ketamine does not cause physical dependence like other commonly abused drugs, it can still result in severe psychological disruptions if abused.

When someone becomes dependent on ketamine, they may experience unpleasant withdrawal symptoms upon discontinuing the drug. After months of extensive studying of ketamine addiction and its associated withdrawal symptoms, I have compiled this article to provide you with all the necessary information.

Quick Summary

  • While ketamine abuse does not typically cause physical dependence, psychological dependence and withdrawal symptoms can still occur. 
  • These symptoms can include physical issues like insomnia, respiratory problems, and psychological issues like depression, anxiety, and intense cravings. 
  • The duration and severity of ketamine symptoms can vary depending on individual factors and treatment methods. 

What Is Ketamine Withdrawal?

Ketamine drug on a black backgroundKetamine withdrawal is when a person experiences physical and psychological distress upon discontinuing the drug after building up a ketamine dependence or forming a ketamine addiction.

The University of Maryland Center for Substance Abuse Research (CESAR) states that limited evidence suggests ketamine can cause physical dependence [1].

However, individuals who use it frequently or chronically may develop a psychological dependency and experience cravings when they stop taking the drug.

Although there may not be physical withdrawal symptoms, frequent users tend to develop a higher tolerance to the drug. Regular use of ketamine can lead to decreased sensitivity to the drug, prompting individuals to increase the dosage for the desired effect. 

I discovered a study published in The Journal of Psychoactive Drugs that stated that people addicted to ketamine might experience withdrawal similar to those addicted to cocaine, with strong cravings and high tolerance, but may not have physical symptoms like other substances [2].

As a result of intense cravings, individuals may continue taking ketamine even when trying to quit.

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Ketamine Withdrawal Symptoms

A person experiencing insomnia as Ketamine withdrawal symptomWhen ketamine is used for a long time, users may develop a tolerance, meaning they need a higher dose to feel the same effects. Additionally, prolonged use of ketamine can lead to a strong psychological dependence on the drug.

Ketamine withdrawal symptoms usually start approximately 24 hours after the last dose when one discontinues using ketamine. Ketamine withdrawal may lead to physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. 

Let me explain what the common ketamine withdrawal symptoms are.

Physical Symptoms

While psychological withdrawal symptoms from ketamine are common, there are also physical symptoms to be aware of. Detoxing from ketamine can lead to changes in blood pressure, which can be dangerous [3].

6 Physical symptoms of ketamine withdrawal include:  

  • Insomnia and difficulty sleeping
  • Rapid breathing
  • Changes in blood pressure
  • Respiratory issues, including difficulty breathing
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Temporary hearing loss

Psychological Symptoms

A woman experiencing psychological symptoms from Ketamine withdrawalWhile some physical dependence may develop, the main component of ketamine addiction, especially in the long run, is psychological.

Ketamine impacts the neurotransmitters responsible for regulating mood, including serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine. 

Consequently, it can bring about short and long-term alterations in brain chemistry.

8 Psychological symptoms of ketamine withdrawal include:

  • Confusion
  • Cognitive impairment (difficulty thinking or focusing)
  • Agitation
  • Psychosis (hallucinations)
  • Irritability and anger
  • Memory issues and amnesia
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Intense cravings

Ketamine Withdrawal Timeline

A close up shot of a syringe and different drugs

The intensity of drug-related symptoms can be affected by the frequency, amount, and method of consumption. People who heavily use drugs will likely face stronger symptoms, which may cause long-lasting mental health issues like depression.

Days 1-3

An agitated man due to Ketamine withdrawalThe drug is rapidly metabolized after ketamine use, but its effects can last up to 24 hours. This is when ketamine withdrawal syndrome is identified, and the symptoms typically begin.

While the severity varies among individuals, physical symptoms such as sweating, increased heart rate, and anxiety are common.

Psychological symptoms may include agitation, hallucinations, anger, and psychotic episodes. Depression and intense cravings are among the most challenging symptoms during this period.

The urge to relapse may be greater due to impaired decision-making. Therefore, seeking support during withdrawal is crucial.

Days 4-14

Many early symptoms will persist, but physical symptoms will begin to fade towards the end of two weeks.

Day 15 onwards

After completing the detox period, some users may consider treatment unnecessary. However, changes in brain chemistry without ketamine may cause ongoing psychological symptoms such as depression, mood swings, and cravings.

How Long Does Ketamine Stay In Your System

A Ketamine drug on a black background

The amount of time ketamine stays in your system depends on the frequency and amount of use.

The half-life of ketamine is 45 minutes to 4 hours, meaning it takes that long for the body to eliminate 50% of it. Ketamine usually takes 1 to 3 days to leave the body completely. 

The amount of time it takes for ketamine to clear from your system depends on various factors, such as:

  • Age
  • Health
  • Body mass
  • Metabolism
  • Drug dosage


“Taking larger doses of ketamine for an extended period can result in a more severe substance use disorder, potentially causing a longer ketamine withdrawal timeline.”
Kent Hoffman, D.O., Addiction Specialist at

Ketamine Addiction Treatment

A doctor writing down the different Ketamine addiction treatments

If someone is struggling with ketamine abuse, seeking treatment for their addiction can assist in their recovery and help them achieve long-term abstinence from this dissociative drug.

There are several treatment options, and I will walk you through each option.

Home Detox

A woman in the kitchen holding a detox drinkSome people might find the idea of going to an inpatient rehab scary. They may believe they need to be in a comfortable setting with people they know to detox successfully.

Although it is possible to detox from ketamine at home, it is important to know that this can be risky and challenging. The early symptoms can be severe and unpredictable, which may necessitate medical intervention.

I recommend detox drinks to help tone down the intensity of the symptoms. They can be a great option for those trying to manage ketamine withdrawal symptoms during the detox process.

These specialized beverages are formulated with natural ingredients, vitamins, and minerals that help support the body’s detoxification process. 

Read More: How to Drug Detox at Home

Medically Supervised Detox

For a safe withdrawal from ketamine, opting for a medically supervised detox whenever possible is recommended. The initial 24 hours can be challenging as acute withdrawal symptoms can be severe and risky, necessitating medical oversight. 

These symptoms can lead to intense depression and strong cravings, compelling you to consume more ketamine.

Support Group

If you’re trying to quit ketamine, joining a support group can be very beneficial. You can talk to others who are also going through the process, and they can provide you with valuable guidance from detox to ongoing recovery.

Counseling or Therapy

If you detox without a treatment program that involves ongoing therapy, you’re more likely to experience a relapse, especially if the substance is mentally addictive. Therapy will then help you to discover the cause of the addiction and may assist in avoiding potential relapses.


Is Medical Supervision Necessary For Ketamine Detox?

Yes, medical supervision is necessary for ketamine detox as it can cause severe withdrawal symptoms that require professional management. Medical supervision ensures the safety and comfort of the patient while undergoing detox and can help prevent complications.

What Causes Ketamine Withdrawal?

The body’s dependence on the drug causes ketamine withdrawal. Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic that can cause changes in brain chemistry, leading to physical and psychological dependence.

How Long Does Ketamine Withdrawal Last?

How long ketamine withdrawal lasts varies depending on several factors, such as the duration and frequency of use, dosage, and individual differences. Acute withdrawal symptoms usually reach their height within the first few days and can endure for up to two weeks. 

Manage Your Ketamine Withdrawal Symptoms Now

Dealing with Ketamine abuse and withdrawal can be tough, but you can make it easier by seeking professional help and getting support. 

You can explore multiple treatment options available to you. Detox drinks have proven effective in managing withdrawal symptoms, no matter the chosen treatment method.

Clear Choice Rescue Cleanse is a highly effective detox drink for those experiencing ketamine withdrawal. It is among the best products available on the market. 

This fast-acting and user-friendly product can lessen unpleasant symptoms, enhance general health, and improve recovery results due to its natural ingredients.



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