Ketamine has been found helpful in the treatment of many forms of substance use disorders (SUDs), including alcoholism, opioids, stimulants, marijuana, and cocaine addictions.
Ketamine for the treatment of addictions is still in the experimental stage and is considered “off-label use” by the FDA. However, research has shown promising results and is continuing to evolve.
While still experimental, research has shown that ketamine can help change how your brain deals with cravings, improve motivation to quit, and can smooth out the ups and downs common in the first stages of recovery. Ketamine treatment might also make therapy more effective, increasing your likelihood of success.
Studies suggest that ketamine can lessen the chance of restarting addictive substances or relapsing into addictions
How ketamine works to treat addictions
While research is ongoing, studies indicate several ways that ketamine works in the treatment of substance use disorders.
Ketamine blocks the NMDA receptor, which, through a chain of events, helps regulate mood and is also important in the formation of memories. By disrupting the memory pathways (it does not cause memory loss), ketamine can weaken or even eliminate common triggers that cause addiction.
Ketamine regrows and strengthens neurons, helping forge new pathways that are essential to the formation of new memories and thought processes, helping reduce cravings and relapse. And the best part? This process could help improve and enhance the effects of therapy and help treat the issues that caused the addiction in the first place.
One-year alcohol abstinence rates following inpatient treatment and ketamine infusions.
One-year heroin abstinence rates following three ketamine + therapy sessions.
Substance Use Disorder research
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Treatment options for substance abuse
Ketamine + Therapy
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