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Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy for Alcoholism

Drinking is a norm in our society. With the holidays, this is a very common thing to do with friends and family. It’s definitely possible to have fun without drinking (I like Red Bull) but drinking is a CNS depressant and causes a feeling of relaxation. As we get older, the price for excessive drinking becomes more prevalent- it’s easy to get a hangover, and most patients that see us for hydration following a night of binge drinking are over the age of 30. Although there is evidence that alcoholic beverages, like red wine, are loaded with antioxidants and polyphenols like resveratrol that fight inflammation and can reduce the risk for heart disease and cancer, the consideration here is that it is done in moderation.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, 1 in 4 Americans has had at least 1 heavy drinking day (5 or more drinks for men, 4 or more drinks for women) in the past year. In 2018, over 14 million Americans over the age of 18 are classified as having alcohol use disorder. In 2010, the economic losses from excessive alcohol consumption were estimated to be nearly $250 billion.

Treatment for alcoholism is exceedingly difficult. Psychosocial therapy, medications like naltrexone and acamprosate, and support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous are common treatments for alcoholism; however, the relapse rate has been shown to be as high as 80%. Nearly 90,000 Americans die per year from alcohol-related causes, with alcohol being behind 31% of driving fatalities in 2014.

Ketamine has been used to treat addiction. It has been theorized to battle addiction with the following mechanisms:

Ketamine has been around for decades and is a common induction agent for anesthesia that is useful in certain surgical cases. At StrIVeMD Wellness and Ketamine, we individualize ketamine therapy most commonly for major depressive disorders, chronic suicidal ideations, and post-traumatic stress disorder that have been resistant to mainstay treatments. There is an enormous amount of data that supports the use of ketamine in these disorders and has provided hope to those who have tried and failed medical management and psychotherapy.

Ketamine is an N-methyl D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist that has been shown to treat alcoholism and heroin addiction by disrupting something called maladaptive reward memories, or MRM, that are involved in the development of alcohol and drug misuse. In a recent study of 90 heavy drinkers, just one dose of intravenous Ketamine plus cognitive behavioral therapy reduced alcohol consumption by 50%.

If you or a loved one has issues with addiction to alcohol or drugs, StrIVeMD Wellness and Ketamine offers this innovative treatment with experienced psychologists present. If you or someone is experiencing debilitating symptoms, please visit or call 847-213-0990.

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