Ketamine Therapy for Addiction: Everything You Should Know

August 18, 2021

While mainstream media covers more on addiction and substance abuse disorders, a growing number of citizens are becoming aware of the fact that healthcare and mental health professionals have long known: addiction is not a pattern of behavior; it is a disease.

Research conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration found that in 2019 nearly 8% of Americans aged 12 and older were in need of substance abuse treatment. Similar to most diagnosable conditions, those struggling with Substance Use Disorder (SUD) and addiction may receive effective treatment through a diverse range of modalities that can aid in reducing symptoms such as dependency and cravings. However, while a variety of treatment modalities are available, the same study also found that only about 10% of the individuals suffering from addiction received treatment.

This information leads us to the alarming fact that nearly 90% of Americans struggling with addiction are unable to receive treatment, or are unaware of the options available to them. Beyond that, it is likely that a portion of those that did receive some type of professional health was unable to sustain recovery.

Looking at this data alone, it is clear that society is in dire need of a new way to treat addiction that is accessible to those who need it as well as a treatment that supports the needs of the recovery community and their long-term recovery efforts. Thankfully, Ketamine Therapy for Substance Use Disorder is emerging as a promising therapeutic option.

What is ketamine therapy?

Ketamine is an FDA-approved drug that has been safely used as an anesthetic for decades. The off-label use of intramuscular (IM) ketamine has become increasingly popular for the treatment of mental health conditions such as addiction, depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Ketamine Therapy is showing promising results as the scientific community continues to research its positive effects.

Although there is still much to be learned about how ketamine therapy works, it seems that it functions as a support system for positive changes within brain chemicals and the structure of the brain itself. Rather than relying on prescription medications that may diminish an individual’s ability to experience emotions fully, ketamine treatments can be an incredibly transformative option for long-term recovery.

Is ketamine therapy safe? 

Yes. Ketamine is safely used in many healthcare settings and is a commonly preferred anesthetic because it does not significantly impact a patient’s breathing. At Klarisana, we use ketamine in sub-anesthetic doses so you will remain awake and able to speak during your treatment session. A provider will be continuously monitoring you via live video feed and you will also have a direct way to request the provider in the event that you would like them to join you in the room.

Is ketamine legal for the treatment of addiction? 

Similar to many beneficial medications, there is the potential for improper and illegal use of ketamine. Often people associate ketamine with an illegal substance that is abused.

However, when prescribed by a licensed medical professional like the doctors and Advanced Care Practitioners at Klarisana, ketamine is 100% legal and ethically used for the treatment of addiction, depression, and other mental health conditions.

Ketamine is also legally administered as an anesthetic in hospitals and healthcare facilities around the world.

What does “off-label” mean?

The term “off-label” can be a source of great confusion for patients, their families, and the general public alike. However, once you better understand what it means, you’ll see that the off-label use of ketamine is simply a matter of technicalities.

“Off-label” is a term used to describe medications (such as ketamine) that have been FDA-approved for a very specific use, but are also used for other conditions. More than anything, it comes down to the complexities of the FDA approval process. When a medication enters the process to obtain approval from the FDA, it must be labeled with a single, extremely specific purpose, such as the exact condition it will be used to treat. Ketamine was originally approved for use as an anesthetic for certain surgeries.

As time goes by, there may be new discoveries in the potential applications of medication. For example, even though ketamine was approved as an anesthetic in the 1970s, it has since been found to be useful in mental health settings. Whenever a medication is used for anything other than its original purpose, it is called “off-label” use. About 1 in 5 prescriptions are regularly utilized for off-label use, including ketamine.

Can ketamine be used to treat addiction? 

There are several ongoing studies examining how ketamine works for various conditions, including its benefits for the treatment of substance abuse disorders. So far, the findings have supported what many ketamine treatment advocates and providers already know: that ketamine therapy for addiction can be an excellent way to achieve long-term recovery.

A recent scientific review of ketamine for the treatment of addiction highlighted the evidence that it could be effective for individuals suffering from drug abuse. Studies have found ketamine to be a successful way to extend recovery for recovering alcoholics and heroin-dependent individuals. Findings are also supporting ketamine therapy as useful in the reduction of cravings for recovering cocaine users.

The review strongly encourages further study so that scientists can learn more about how ketamine works for treating addiction. Theories include that ketamine may help positively disrupt certain neural networks, provide relief from depression symptoms, block drug-related memories, boost neuroplasticity, and even enhance the effects of talk therapy. Other reviews of multiple ketamine studies reported similar findings, providing significant scientific support for this innovative treatment.

Does ketamine work for addiction?

It is not just scientific researchers that have determined the positive effects of using ketamine for addiction issues. Here at Klarisana, we’ve supported patients who are working towards recovery with ketamine therapy. 

As the research has suggested, patients report that ketamine helps drug and alcohol addiction by: 

  • Reducing symptoms of withdrawal, including pain and nausea;
  • Subtly boosting energy and decreasing fatigue;
  • Cutting down on cravings, potentially by interfering with the pathways in the brain that associate substance abuse with a feeling of a positive “reward”.

Additionally, because ketamine is frequently selected as a means for treating depression, PTSD, anxiety, and other conditions, it can be extremely helpful in resolving addiction. As you find solutions for underlying and co-occurring conditions, you can be better equipped to achieve and sustain recovery. 

Break free from addiction with ketamine therapy at Klarisana

Whether you’ve attempted recovery before, or are just beginning to feel ready to make a change, a better future awaits. Ketamine therapy has become one of the most promising addiction treatment alternatives, offering hope to a diverse range of individuals in need of an effective solution. At Klarisana, we have had the privilege of witnessing the transformative capacity of ketamine treatment for patients struggling with addiction and its coexisting disorders.

The treatment sessions are simple, quick, and outpatient, allowing you to continue to pursue progress in other areas of your life. Additionally, because a majority of Klarisana ketamine treatment centers offer on-site therapy and other complementary treatments, you can take a comprehensive approach to heal your body and mind.

Taking the first steps toward treatment doesn’t have to feel impossible, especially not when sustainable recovery could be within reach. Contact us today and discover what a future without addiction could look like for you.

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