How Long Does Ketamine (Special K) Stay in Your System? | Transcend Recovery Community

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Find out "how long does ketamine stay in your system" and how addiction to this pain relief drug may impact you longer-term. Get everything you need to know by reading the full article from Transcend Recovery Community below.

How Long Does Ketamine Last in the Body and by Type of Drug Tests?

Drug testing helps detect ketamine and is often applied as mandatory in the workplace or school setting. However, the detection times may vary for each of these tests as drugs like ketamine stay in your system differently and may be unique to each individual. Usually, ketamine can be detected by a drug test for as short as 24 hours, but it may even reach up to 90 days.

Ketamine in Urine Tests

A standard urine test can detect the presence of Ketamine for up to 14 days (2 weeks).

Ketamine in Hair Follicle Tests

A hair test may prove to be one of the most reliable testing options to find out if someone has Ketamine in their system. It's usually done to determine long-term ketamine use.

Ketamine in Saliva Tests

Saliva tests have the shortest detection time out of all drug tests. They are seldomly used as they cost more than a urine test and have a shorter detection window. Saliva can detect the presence of the drug for up to 24 hours only.

Ketamine Detection in Blood Tests

A blood test can trace Ketamine for up to 72 hours. However, it is most effective in detecting the substance in the first 24 hours after use.

What is Ketamine (Special K)?

a bunch of ketamines in vials with a blue light

Ketamine or "Special K" was first known in the 1960s in Belgium as an anesthetic drug for animals. Later on, the FDA greenlit it for human use in the 1970s treating injured soldiers during the Vietnam War.

The common street names for Ketamine are "Purple," "Kit Kat," Jet K," and "Cat Valium" to name a few.

It is currently used in lower doses for pain relief and to induce loss of consciousness. Similar to LSD (Acid), it is a strictly-regulated drug and is currently classified as a Schedule III non-narcotic but is sometimes used on rare occasions as "off-label" medicine for depression. It is also known for being used as a sexual assault or date rape drug.

Its common side effects include:

  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • dizziness
  • confusion
  • double vision
  • impaired memory

The common method for ketamine drug ingestion is usually through a ketamine nasal spray or in its powder or liquid form.

Determining Factors on How Long Does Ketamine Stay in Your System

Special K can build up in your system, especially if you're a regular user. Similar to other drugs, like Suboxone, the drug remains in your system differently as influenced by various factors. Medical professionals look into these too in figuring out the appropriate response to a person's detoxification.

Here are some of the crucial factors that impact "how long does ketamine stay in your system." Let us take a look at some of them one by one.

Metabolic rate - similar to how we digest food, our metabolism also dictates how we process substances in our body. People with faster metabolism can easily flush away the higher doses of the drug within their system. Meanwhile, people who have a slower metabolic rate will take a longer time processing this.

Body mass/weight - Individuals who are overweight or obese have a slower response rate when it comes to digesting or excreting ketamine as less active metabolites cling to their fatty tissues.

Ketamine's half-life - A substance's half-life refers to the amount of time our system can get rid of half of the drug, in this case, ketamine. For ketamine, it takes at least two and a half to three hours for our body to flush away half of it.

Here are some of the other factors people should look into with Ketamine staying in their system:

  • Type of drug used
  • Drug tolerance
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity
  • Hydration levels

It's always crucial to inform your healthcare provider if any of these factors may pose a risk or concern as you begin your detoxification.

What Happens When You Stop Taking Ketamine?

Stopping ketamine abuse may be easier said than done. As an individual develops psychological dependence on the ketamine drug, withdrawal may bring pain and even highly uncomfortable physical manifestations that may cause a person's mental wellbeing to decline even further.

That's why it's always important to understand and identify what these potential withdrawal symptoms are to better prepare a person as they start their treatment process. Here are some of the more common ketamine withdrawal signs and symptoms.

  • state of confusion
  • may experience intense cravings
  • decrease in cardiac & respiratory functions
  • lethargy
  • impaired cognitive skills
  • delusion
  • hallucination

Ketamine withdrawal symptoms may worsen for the first few days and may peak for weeks until it resolves gradually on their own. This may prove as a challenge for people who may resort to relapse, with interventions taking place as a last resort. It's important to gradually withdraw from ketamine use healthily to avoid any health problems longer-term.

About Ketamine Misuse and Addiction Treatment

Medical studies have further explored Ketamine abuse potential and use disorder for years. As more people succumb to Ketamine addiction, it may become hard to figure out the root of someone's substance abuse.

However, there is a pattern in most addiction cases as experts try to trace why and how abusing ketamine occurs in a person. Here are some of the commonly-associated reasons for a person's Ketamine addiction.

  • Social pressure - Young people may find themselves in a situation where they need to impress their peers and "fit in" by engaging in drug use. Some teens perceive that abusing Ketamine or taking substances will make them look cool or get the validation they yearn for from their friends and colleagues.
  • Depression - Some people who have battled depression long and hard may sometimes fall behind and seek refuge by taking drugs/engaging in ketamine addiction. Feeling "high" serves as an escape for them from their current problems.
  • Environment - People who have direct access to drugs have higher chances of falling prey to addiction, especially if they have friends or family who engage in ketamine abuse as too.

With these factors mentioned, how do you treat addiction? There are many treatment options available for people to follow. Usually, treatment centers may offer group or solo therapy that involves a behavioral health program.

Both inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment programs may also help depending on the need and nature of a person's addiction. Staying at a transitional house may help people from recovering better. Right now, there are dedicated women's and men's sober living arrangements, allowing people to feel safe and comfortable when recovering.

Post-recovery, a specialist may recommend having a sober coach checking in with them in the crucial first months after treatment, just to make sure that they are on track with their long-term sobriety goals and to avoid relapse.

How To Get Help from Ketamine Addiction?

If you or someone you know personally offers from "Special K" addiction, know that not all hope is lost. Transcend Recovery Community's team of mental health and recovery professionals are trained and skilled to help people in need with their addiction problems.

With the support of friends and family, getting better is now more accessible. Individuals may receive treatment at various locations in Houston, LA, and other parts of the country.

Contact us and let us help you or your loved one's first step to recovery. Our recovery specialists are just here waiting to respond to your every query or concern.

Transcend Recovery Community

Transcend Recovery Community family of sober living homes provides a safe place for those undergoing mental health and addiction treatment to live with like-minded peers. Our community-based approach to sober living (similarly to a halfway house) facilitates an open and welcoming environment, where members, staff and team can provide support and encouragement on the path to a sober and healthy life. Transcend's Los Angeles sober living homes are located in some of the most iconic areas of the city, filled with luxurious and upscale amenities, providing plenty to do for those in our transitional housing community.

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