ketamine treatment followed by psychotherapy may be more effective than other currently available treatment
Substance use disorders are a serious public health problem. Tobacco, a leading cause of cardiovascular disease and cancer, kills up to half of its users, or approximately 6 million people each year (~ 9% of all deaths globally). Alcohol accounts for over 3 million deaths every year (~6 % of all deaths globally). Alcohol abuse is also directly related to a range of mental health disorders, medical diseases and injuries. Half of all trauma is associated with alcohol, as are over 70% of all suicide attempts.
Current treatments for substance use disorders are relatively ineffective. Medical treatment for tobacco use is less than 35% effective at 6 months. For alcohol addiction, the best medical treatment achieves abstinence in only 1 out of 9 patients treated. So despite receiving standard evidence-based treatment, the majority of people with addiction continue to suffer.
Ketamine has been used in the treatment of addiction since the 1970´s in Russia. Studies with ketamine treatment followed by psychotherapy suggest that it may be more effective than other currently available treatment, with abstinence rates at one year up to 65% for alcohol and 50% for heroin. Ketamine also significantly improves depression which often coincides with addiction, thereby additionally improving the lives of those suffering from these disorders.