For those struggling with addiction, every day can feel like an uphill battle. Addiction can have irreversible damage to one's well-being, as well as impact the lives of their loved ones. Almost 21 million Americans have at least 1 addiction, but only 10% receive treatment for their addiction.1 The most commonly abused substance in the USA is alcohol, but it is widely left untreated.1 Around 6 percent of the American population has alcohol abuse disorder (15 million people), but only 7 percent of this group receive treatment.1
Addiction can have severely detrimental effects on one’s mental health, leading further to a dependence on their chosen substance. Around 20 percent of those with depression or anxiety disorder also have a substance use disorder.1 This creates a vicious cycle that controls one's life, impacting their livelihood and leading them to feel like there is no hope for recovery.
Recovery is often defined as the process of getting better from an illness or otherwise returning to a state of physical and mental health. However, this time is often nuanced when talking about recovery from addiction, as recovering from addiction seldom follows a linear path toward total abstinence. Rather, it can be described as a period of abstinence followed by a re-introduction of the substance, and this cycle repeats, often harming one's path to total abstinence in the process.
Those who are or have been in the process of recovery often describe it in different ways. Recovery is traditionally thought of as total abstinence from alcohol and/or drugs - however, this definition can be daunting for those currently undergoing addiction treatment.
The importance of recovery from addiction cannot be understated. Addiction requires a total transformation of one's life and routines, and a detailed analysis of their mental health. It also necessitates taking stock of the negative habits surrounding the addicted substance.
Recent research has linked ketamine to helping those with addiction, particularly those who have previously been unresponsive to traditional treatment options; in different ways - which include helping those stay off their addicted substance and helping those receive care for their mental health.2 Ketamine infusion therapy could be key in the future to bridging the gap between addiction and recovery. Although more research is needed to fully understand ketamine's effects on those who are suffering from addiction, it is currently being used with some success for tapering off opioids and alcohol use.
Ketamine can have profoundly beneficial effects, as it is a dissociative drug. Medicinal use of ketamine can improve mood, suppress seizures, and help rebuild neural pathways1. They also increase synaptic response time and stimulate the brain, which can improve the brain's plasticity. In turn, healthy brain plasticity has countless positive effects on one's well-being, including enhancing learning ability, mood, memory, and other cognitive functions.
In small studies, ketamine has been found to moderately help those who are currently abstinent from alcohol remain off the substance longer than those who did not receive ketamine infusion therapy.
Ketamine has also been found to help reduce acute cocaine cravings.
While the connection between ketamine and cocaine cravings is still being examined, in a recent study those who received ketamine treatment for cocaine dependency were found to go longer between cocaine use following infusion.
Ketamine infusions have been found to help those with heroin and alcohol addiction stay abstinent - as well as help them deal with withdrawal symptoms. In a recent study, patients with substance dependency who received ketamine infusion therapy were able to remain abstinent for a year or longer in some cases before requiring additional treatment.
If you or a loved one is currently fighting addiction – you are not alone. There are treatments available that can help with remaining abstinent and/or recovering from addiction. Recovery is never easy and often never linear - so do not be discouraged if you can not seem to find a singular solution that works for you.
Avesta Ketamine and Wellness is committed to your well-being. If you want to discuss if ketamine treatment therapy is right for you, please schedule a consultation.
1 Moda-Sava, R. N., Murdock, M. H., Parekh, P. K., Fetcho, R. N., Huang, B. S., Huynh, T. N., Witztum, J., Shaver, D. C., Rosenthal, D. L., Alway, E. J., Lopez, K., Meng, Y., Nellissen, L., Grosenick, L., Milner, T. A., Deisseroth, K., Bito, H., Kasai, H., & Liston, C. (2019). Sustained rescue of prefrontal circuit dysfunction by antidepressant-induced spine formation. Science, 364(6436), eaat8078. https://doi.org/10.1126/science.aat8078
Addiction statistics. (n.d.). Addiction Center. Retrieved September 21, 2022, from https://www.addictioncenter.com/addiction/addiction-statistics/
What is recovery & how important is it? (n.d.). Lives of Substance. Retrieved September 21, 2022, from https://www.livesofsubstance.org/topics/what-is-recovery-how-important-is-it/
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