Substance Abuse Treatment

Ketamine infusion therapy can reduce cravings and support sobriety from alcohol, opiates, and cocaine

A 2015 survey found that over 21 million Americans suffer from some form of a substance use disorder, and, more frightening still, 63,600 people died from drug overdoses in 2016. The toll will likely rise as opioid addiction increases. Alcohol use disorder affects roughly 7% of adults in the U.S.

Alcohol addiction, or alcohol use disorder, varies from person to person. Many people only binge drink on weekends, while others drink daily, sometimes starting early in the day.

Signs of alcohol abuse disorder or addiction may include:

  • An inability to regulate how much you drink
  • Alcohol cravings
  • Blackout drinking
  • Physical symptoms in the absence of alcohol, like the “shakes”
  • Needing a drink to do daily activities
  • Requiring more alcohol to achieve the same effect

Signs of substance abuse and addiction may include:

  • Physical withdrawal, such as flu-like symptoms or the “shakes”
  • The inability to avoid using the substance
  • Diminished performance at school or work
  • Social isolation
  • Participating less in preferred activities
  • Financial troubles
  • Strained or alienated relationships with friends and family
  • Severe anxiety
  • Depression and suicide

Ultimately, alcohol is a drug. Addiction to any drug, including alcohol, can devastate one’s life and the lives of friends and family. Addictions do not often, if ever, go away on their own. The brain adapts to consistently administered substances. Alcohol and drug addiction are maladaptations of your brain’s response to these substances. The neural pathways established by drug use reduce reward channels to other activities and increase them in response to substance use, which leads to cravings and difficulty performing other tasks.

How Does Ketamine for Substance Use Work?

Exactly how ketamine treats substance use disorder and other mental health disorders is still under investigation. Recent evidence points to ketamine’s inhibitory effects on the NMDA receptor in the lateral habenula. The lateral habenula is a brain region primarily responsible for encoding negative rewards or anti-reward cause-and-effect relationships. Those with substance use disorder tend to develop maladaptive reward systems regulated through glutamate and NMDA receptors. As a non-competitive NMDA antagonist, ketamine prevents glutamate from activating the NMDA receptor.

The inhibition of the NMDA receptor may cause a build-up of free glutamate, which then activates the AMPA receptors. When surplus glutamate activates the AMPA receptor, it releases a brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) chemical. BDNF, in interaction with the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), promotes new neural growth. This new growth may reroute the brain from hyperactive areas associated with negative reward signals, thereby providing long-term relief from mental health conditions.

Ketamine overrides inebriated memories, which may be a foundational component of addiction or abuse. In reframing these memories, ketamine reduces craving triggers. Ketamine therapy is especially useful for promoting sobriety.

Ketamine infusion therapy is not a one-stop treatment for alcohol and substance abuse. However, ketamine can be a powerful tool for a comprehensive recovery program.

Getting Treatment

If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, we invite you to seek help at Renew Health in Allen, Texas. Our team of expert and compassionate providers is dedicated to helping individuals overcome their addiction and achieve lasting recovery.

Ketamine infusion therapy effectively reduces cravings and supports sobriety from substances such as alcohol, opiates, and cocaine. While the exact mechanism of how ketamine treats substance abuse is still being researched, it is believed that the medication may inhibit the NMDA receptor in the brain, leading to the growth of new neurons and potentially rewiring the brain’s reward pathways.

We understand that addiction can devastate an individual’s life and the lives of their loved ones, and we are committed to providing the necessary support and care to help them overcome their addiction and achieve lasting recovery. If you are ready to take the first step towards healing, we encourage you to contact us to learn more about how Renew Health can support you.

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