At first, using ketamine treatment to fight addiction might seem strange. After all, this drug has so often been used illegally, especially in recent years.
Nevertheless, ketamine has demonstrated remarkable potential for treating chemical dependencies and mental health disorders.
Let’s take a closer look at this drug and the fascinating new ketamine studies exploring its possible benefits.
Since 1970, the primary medical uses of ketamine have been anesthetizing patients and dulling pain. Over the years, it’s served as an animal tranquilizer, too.
After receiving ketamine treatment intravenously, patients usually seem to be awake; their eyes stay open. In truth, though, they’re in a dissociative state. That means they feel disconnected from the world around them — perhaps even separated from their bodies.
When administered by professionals, ketamine treatment is safe. Even so, this drug is now more commonly given to animals than to people. In part, that’s because of its disorienting — and sometimes hallucinatory — side effects.
Taking ketamine can provide happy, relaxed, and even euphoric feelings. It’s a high that can last for about an hour. And, as mentioned, it occasionally creates hallucinations.
Thus, ingesting ketamine at parties and nightclubs has become somewhat popular.
In fact, there are several ways people take ketamine recreationally, including:
This drug is often mixed with alcohol or other drugs for enhanced sensations.
Because ketamine is so fast-acting, its effects can be felt within minutes. Among the first changes in the body are that the blood pressure decreases while the heart rate increases. Later on, ketamine can cause nausea, dizziness, and headaches.
On top of that, people who take ketamine often can’t feel pain for a while. Thus, they could injure themselves and not realize it. And, without medical care, even a minor injury can cause serious bodily harm.
Over time, illicit ketamine use can cause serious health problems such as:
Moreover, people can overdose on ketamine, in which case seizures, unconsciousness, and death can occur.
While ketamine can be extremely harmful, new medicinal uses of ketamine could someday help many people all over the world.
Indeed, researchers are investigating the profound potential benefits of ketamine for mental health and addiction treatments.
For starters, ketamine can block the brain’s N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors. And when those receptors are blocked, the brain gains a larger supply of the neurotransmitter serotonin.
In turn, that extra serotonin can alleviate the effects of depression.
Doctors may soon use ketamine for addiction treatments as well. Yes, ketamine-assisted psychotherapy holds great promise.
That’s because ketamine can help the brain form new neural pathways. Consequently, it would be easier for someone to adopt new thought patterns and create happy new memories. They could override harmful old ways of thinking and painful old memories.
Therefore, after taking ketamine for addiction, patients may find it easier to fight their triggers. Triggers are social and environmental factors that induce people to take drugs or start drinking. Walking past a bar or feeling lonely are two common examples of triggers.
Naturally, people’s triggers are entwined with their memories and behavioral patterns. Thus, they’re hard to ignore.
However, after medicinal ketamine helps create new ideas, thoughts, memories, and feelings, it can be easier for the brain to overrule those triggers. The urges could then be much weaker.
Indeed, patients who undergo addiction psychotherapy learn special techniques for battling their cravings. Medicinal ketamine would ensure that those methods take root in the brain.
Of course, more studies on using ketamine for mental health and addiction treatment are needed. Still, the sheer promise of this drug is exciting.
Finally, the right addiction therapy can be effective even without ketamine. For example, we have helped many patients overcome their addictions and improve their mental health and overall well-being at Mind Body Wellness in Franklin, Tennessee.
Our caring experts can tailor their methodologies to each patient’s wants and needs. And their holistic approach to care can boost almost every aspect of a person’s life. For more information, please get in touch with us at any time.