Ketamine can be consumed in the following ways:

  • Powder for snorting (the most common)
  • Injecting it
  • Powder for bombing
  • Taking it in the form of a tablet

When using the drug, people experience a detachment from reality and don’t feel pain properly. As such, it’s very easy to become injured without realising.

When ketamine is sold illegally and used by people to get high, it looks similar to cocaine but is in fact, a very different drug.


The drug tends to act quickly but generally, doesn’t last for an extended period of time. This makes it an ideal party drug and it is particularly prevalent on the club scene.

At high doses, ketamine can make the user feel as though they’re having a near-death experience. In others, however, the drug can induce a state of bliss, which makes it incredibly appealing and open to abuse. People can become addicted to this high and will keep taking ketamine regardless of the associated risks of use.

Regular use can lead to tolerance. To get the same effects as before, users will resort to consuming more and more.

From experimentation to full-blown addiction, what causes someone to develop a drug dependency? Ketamine addiction can be the result of a combination of different factors; some of which may be beyond your control.


Spending time around people who abuse drugs can be influential. Parental guidance also plays a big part in the likelihood of someone developing an addiction. Children who are exposed to drug abuse at a young age are more at risk of developing their own problems.

Peer pressure can result in recreational drug use, particularly when exposed to the party scene. Teens may be especially prone to engaging in risky behaviours, as the areas in their brains that control judgement and self-control are still developing.

Different psychological factors can increase the risk of substance misuse. Drugs are often used to suppress emotional stress and relieve the symptoms of a range of mental health issues, from depression to anxiety. Repeatedly turning to ketamine to ease emotional pain or trauma increases tolerance. Over time, self-medicating in this way can become habitual and co-occur with a mental health disorder.

While some people may be able to use ketamine recreationally, others will feel a strong impulse to consume it to excess. Drugs, such as ketamine, can induce feelings of pleasure which trigger the brain’s reward centre and encourage repetition of the behaviour.

Neuroscience has shown that people have varying levels of ability and brain function to control impulsive urges. If these genes are passed down through generations, family members are more prone to developing drug problems.

Repeated use of ketamine can lead to changes in the brain that challenge self-control.

Over time, the brain’s reward system becomes less responsive to ketamine. This effect is known as tolerance. The high felt initially becomes much less intense and you may need to take more of the drug to try and achieve the same feeling.

Long-term ketamine use affects the brain’s chemical systems and functions.

Despite the terms often being used interchangeably, there are distinctions. The term abuse means you are using ketamine in a dangerous manner. This implies your drug use is having a negative impact on your life and normal activities.

While abuse is thought to be less severe than addiction, in reality, long-term use of controlled drugs can be equally harmful to your health. Regular drug abuse is also more likely to lead to addiction.

The term addiction usually refers to a physical dependence but it can also include a psychological one.

While the symptoms of ketamine withdrawal are less severe than those associated with other drugs, a psychological dependence is often evident and equally alarming. An inability to refrain from using ketamine is the first symptom of addiction.