How Does Ketamine Work?

Placebos are used in clinical trials because everyone tends to improve in a clinical trial regardless of treatment group assignment. To accurately isolate and measure the effect of the active treatment, outcomes need to be compared between groups to obtain valid information about the therapeutic potential of a treatment. The first trial measured the differences in clinical outcomes between a higher and lower dose of ketamine in seventy detoxified heroin-dependent individuals, the lower dose acting as a control group. The higher dose had a larger beneficial effect on craving and drug use, and benefits lasted until at least 24 weeks. The Controlled Substance Act classifies ketamine as a Schedule III non-narcotic drug.

People with drug addictions involving ketamine can be treated using an array of evidence-based or holistic therapies. For 25 years, Thomas experienced bouts of such extreme depression she regularly pondered suicide. Unable to leave her bed for months at a time, the disease severely impacted her quality of life and derailed an opera singing career. Get professional help from an online addiction and mental health counselor from BetterHelp. In general, injecting, snorting or smoking a drug is more likely to cause serious side effects than swallowing the same dose of the drug.

Results from several recent clinical trials indicate promise.

Further characterization in other substances of abuse (such as nicotine, amphetamines, and the ongoing cannabis trial) may also provide important insights as to the overall efficacy of ketamine in the treatment of SUDs. In summary, the most pressing public health question is whether ketamine (in single or multiple dose treatments) can significantly reduce addiction morbidity and mortality. After evaluating for the inclusion criteria and for duplicates, we identified seven completed relevant clinical studies. No human studies were found that evaluated the efficacy of ketamine in the treatment of tobacco or stimulant use disorders other than cocaine. Although it has not been approved to treat mental health conditions or chronic pain, doctors have increasingly been prescribing ketamine off-label for mental health conditions like treatment-resistant depression and pain conditions like CRPS. Some patients report negative side effects and don’t react well to it, but others undergo profound experiences in which they can see their past trauma in a new light, find long-sought pain relief or leave behind crippling anxieties.

  • In the last couple of decades, there has been an explosion of research on ketamine, an anesthetic that can induce a hallucinogenic trance-like state, to treat various mental health problems.
  • Patient testimonials and hundreds of small studies point to the prescription anesthetic ketamine as a potentially useful treatment for mental health conditions such as severe depression and suicidal thinking.
  • Despite these positive results, the authors warn that data on the use of ketamine for this condition are limited, so practitioners should consider the risks of the drug before prescribing it.
  • At certain doses, ketamine can result in a mystical or spiritual experience.
  • Last month, the FDA warned doctors and patients against compounded versions of ketamine, including lozenges and pills, saying the agency does not regulate their contents and cannot assure their safety.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that, when injected, lethal doses of ketamine begin around 11 mg/kg of body weight. A ketamine overdose can occur when the substances is taken in large amounts or when combined with other substances. As a Schedule III drug, ketamine is available for medicinal use with a prescription.

Ketamine Overdose and Withdrawal

Multiple case reports have cited naltrexone as a promising treatment for ketamine withdrawal. However, more research is needed to determine if it’s an effective treatment for ketamine addiction. The Drug Enforcement Administration classifies ketamine as a Schedule III controlled substance because it has medical use and a moderate potential for abuse. Schedule III drugs also have a risk of causing physical or psychological dependence.

  • These symptoms are more likely to occur at higher doses of Ketamine, often via repeated use over many hours, or when combining Ketamine with alcohol or other drugs.
  • At fourteen days, 48 percent of participants in the ketamine group remained abstinent compared with 11 percent in the midazolam group.
  • Ketamin can sedate, incapacitate, and cause short-term memory loss, and because of this, some people use it as a date-rape drug.
  • Ketamine is particularly dangerous when mixed with other substances such as alcohol, opioids, or tranquilizers, as it may lead to slowed breathing, decreased heart function, and coma.

One study in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry found ketamine infusions improved suicidal ideation, depression and anxiety, although that was a retrospective chart review and not a randomized clinical trial. Another study found ketamine reduced suicidal ideation within three days, but it’s unclear whether these effects were upheld in the long term. Similar findings were published last week in a meta-analysis looking at ketamine as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder.


Your loved ones will also notice a dramatic change in your behaviour and appearance, often resulting in strained family relationships. Ketamine is a powerful dissociative anesthetic drug that produces effects such as memory loss and detachment from reality. Abuse of large doses can also lead to powerful visual hallucinations that are intensified by environmental stimuli. When higher doses of ketamine are abused, or during emergence, it is reported to produce ketamine addiction vivid dreams and an “out-of-body”, “K-hole” or “near-death” hallucinogenic experience, often reported as terrifying (similar to bad LSD trip). There has been a marked increase in exposure and interest for this novel therapy, as you can see in the Google Trends chart here. Ketamine has been in a state of heightened media frenzy ever since the FDA approved the ketamine-derived nasal spray Spravato for treatment-resistant depression in March of 2019.

Late-Life Treatment-Resistant Depression – Psychiatric Times

Late-Life Treatment-Resistant Depression.

Posted: Mon, 20 Nov 2023 17:48:21 GMT [source]

We are here to provide assistance in locating an Ark Behavioral Health treatment center that may meet your treatment needs. We do not receive any compensation or commission for referrals to other treatment facilities. If you feel that any of our content is inaccurate, out-of-date, or otherwise questionable, please contact at

Ketamine Abuse, Treatment, and Rehab

Because of its pain-relieving and mental effects, it can cause dependence, the need to take higher doses to get the same effect, and addiction. No person with alcohol abuse disorder or alcohol intoxication should take ketamine, even in doctor-prescribed doses, as it can cause death. Both alcohol and ketamine are central nervous system depressants, so the combined effects are dangerous.

ketamine addiction

Using ketamine can be highly unsafe, and it is important that you make yourself aware of some of the risks that come with continued use. Until fairly recently, ketamine was classified as a Class C drug, with many professionals unaware of its dangers. In 2014, however, the Misuse of Drugs Act reclassified ketamine, moving it from Class C to a Class B, hoping to send a message that the drug was harmful and not to underestimate its dangers. From all of us at UKAT, we would ask you to remain mindful of the dangers of ketamine use. To find a treatment program, browse the top-rated addiction treatment facilities in each state by visiting our homepage, or by viewing the SAMHSA Treatment Services Locator.

Deja un comentario

Tu dirección de correo electrónico no será publicada. Los campos obligatorios están marcados con *