In the 1980s, a Russian research team unveiled data indicating that ketamine may be useful in the treatment of drug and alcohol dependency. In the study, 66% of patients receiving ketamine treatments maintained abstinence for an entire year, compared to 24% who received only psychological counseling. 

Again, in January of 2017, more studies pointed towards the use of ketamine as a potentially effective treatment for alcoholism—specifically for relapse prevention. While researchers are still working to determine the exact mechanism that makes ketamine effective for the treatment of alcoholism, there is reason to believe its antidepressant effects have something to do with it. Many of those suffering from alcohol dependency also suffer from depression, which is a common trigger for relapse. Furthermore, ketamine is proven to repair damaged neural connections in the brain’s pathways—pathways that are said to impact both learning and memory. The implications of these findings may enable addicts and alcoholics to relearn habits and recategorize memories that may trigger relapse.

Currently, at the University of Exeter and University College London, a new trial is underway to learn more about how ketamine can help prevent relapse. This study, called KARE (Ketamine for Reduction of Alcoholic Relapse), will test earlier findings with a rigorous double-blind research design. 

We are certain that critics will emerge. Ketamine is still controversial due to its history of abuse as a recreational “club drug,” and using what is perceived to be a recreational drug to treat substance abuse issues may seen counterintuitive. Science is science, though, and our hope is that positive results from recent and future studies will silence the naysayers and bring hope to those suffering from depression, pain and addiction issues.

At our Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins area ketamine clinics, we treat depression, psychiatric disorders and chronic pain. However, ketamine continues to prove itself a versatile drug in so many other capacities. We are constantly learning more about the power of ketamine, and look forward to watching developments as this and other studies are performed.


If you or a loved one is suffering from severe depression or a chronic pain condition, contact us to learn more about ketamine infusions and find out if you are a candidate for these life-changing treatments. Request a free consultation by completing the brief form below, and a member of our clinical team will contact you to answer questions, address concerns, and help get you started on the path towards health and happiness.

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