There are an increasing number of people struggling with substance use disorders around the world. According to a medical study, published in 2018, by the Medical University of South Carolina, alcohol and illicit drug use is an “escalating and complex global public health burden.” More specifically, 9.6% of the global population has an alcohol use disorder, and 10.9% an illicit drug use disorder. More frighteningly, due to increasing prevalence of opioid use, mortality rates in some countries have risen to epidemic proportions. The United States, alone, accounts for 25% of global overdose mortality—which has experienced an 88% increase each year from 2013 to 2016. This surprising increase in the prevalence of substance use disorders means there should also be a proportional increase in the treatment options that are available.

Thankfully, there has been some advancement in the availability of treatment options. One such option, which has proven to be effective at treating substance use disorders, is ketamine. Ketamine has been in use since the 1960’s as a general anesthetic. However, since then, it has grown in popularity as a treatment for depression, psychiatric disorders, chronic pain, and now… substance use disorders. This is due to the effects it has on memory formation.

The results of seven studies concluded that ketamine produces synaptic improvements that may improve an individual’s ability to break bad “habits” and learn new behaviors. It is therefore a fantastic step forward for those who are struggling to overcome an addiction. With ketamine, addicts are able to learn how to avoid—and ultimately replace—their destructive habits before it is too late.

In one of the studies, the effects of ketamine on alcohol use and alcohol withdrawal symptoms was evaluated. With two cohorts being evaluated, the study found that the group who was treated with ketamine had a 65.8% abstinence rate. The other group, who were not treated with ketamine, had a 24% abstinence rate. This is an astounding statistic, and while more research is necessary to truly understand the impact of ketamine for addiction, results like this do bring new hope to a dire situation.

Ketamine has also proven to be effective at treating opioid addiction. One study compared the efficacy of high dose ketamine (2mg IM) vs. low dose ketamine (0.2mg IM), in conjunction with psychotherapy, in 70 heroin-dependent participants. What it found was that, after 1 year, the abstinence rate was 24% with the high dose treatment, and 6% with the low dose treatment.

The efficacy of single vs. repeated sessions of ketamine treatments was also evaluated with the heroin-dependent participants. It found that 50% of subjects receiving multiple ketamine treatments were abstinent at their 1-year follow up, compared to 22% of single-session treatments. The study also found that repeated treatments also decreased heroin cravings significantly more than when treated with a single dose.

It should come as no shock to see how much of an impact ketamine treatment could have on someone’s life. This could be the hope that so many suffering individuals—and their families—are so desperately looking for. If you or someone you know is struggling with depression or substance use, find a ketamine clinic near you and learn the options that are available.

Contact Elev8 MD Wellness Center

At Elev8MD, we offer a wide range of mind-body services to offer a holistic and integrative approach to depression treatment, pain management, and overall wellness. We offer ketamine infusions for the treatment of depression, psychiatric disorders, and chronic pain, as well as talk therapy, reiki and other wellness services. Contact our Charlotte area wellness center today for more information on our services and how we can help you live your greatest life.