Depression among addicted, alcoholic and people in recovery is extremely common.

Some in the treatment community are excited about the potential of Ketamine treatment.

Because the patient does not have access to the medication, abuse and dependence is a remote possibility.

Ketamine is not FDA Approved for treatment of Addiction & Alcoholism

"Evgeny Krupitsky, MD, PhD, chief of the research laboratory at St. Petersburg Regional Center of Addictions and Psychopharmacology,  has been researching the treatment of alcoholism and addiction with ketamine since the 1980s and hopes to extend his research to encompass post-traumatic stress disorder in the near future. In 1985, he developed ketamine psychedelic therapy - which was initially merely a method for increasing suggestibility and enhancing aversive treatment for alcoholism - publishing his first report on the method in 1992. 

 He found that ketamine induced total abstinence in 66 percent of his alcoholic patients (versus 24 percent of the nonpsychedelic control group) for as long as a year. He observed improvement in personality profile, positive transformation of self-concept and emotional attitudes to various aspects of self, positive changes in life values, and improved spiritual development in the ketamine group. What is the contribution of the psychedelic experience to this improvement? Krupitsky posited nine factors:

1. Stable, positive psychological changes. 

2. Personality growth and self-cognition. 

3. Important insights into existential problems and the meaning of life. 

4. Transformation of one’s “life value system.” 

5. A change of view of one’s self and the world around. 

6. Insight into life and death. 

7. A rise of creative energies. 

8. Broadening of spiritual horizons. 

9. Harmonization of a person’s relationships with the world and with other people. 

In 1991, another Soviet psychiatrist, Igor Kungurtsev MD, who had initially worked with Krupitsky and later immigrated to the United States, published a summary of his own experiences treating alcoholism with ketamine.

Although, like Krupitsky, he initially felt that ketamine simply made alcohol aversive in a purely behavioral way, he radically changed his approach following a series of ketamine self-administrations and instead It is gratifying to see that NIMH is following MAPS’ lead in supporting the treatment of psychiatric disorders with psychedelic drugs adopted a transpersonal model for therapy in order to better utilize the profound mystical experiences induced by ketamine. He found that successful treatment of alcoholism with ketamine was correlated with a changed spiritual outlook in the same way that 12-step programs also achieve success by changing addicts’ spiritual outlook, albeit in a nonpsychedelic manner.*

"There are also suggestions that ketamine might be useful in the treatment of heroin withdrawal. In one recent study, 58 opiate-dependent patients were given “ultra-rapid detox” under general anaesthesia with either ketamine or placebo saline infusion.11 The ketamine group had noticeably better control of withdrawal symptoms, although there was no difference in abstinence between the two groups four months later. "*

Krupitsky EM, Grinenko AY. Ketamine psychedelic therapy (KPT): a review of the results of ten years of research. J Psychoactive Drugs 1997;29:165-183.

Krupitsky EM, Grinenko AY. Psychedelic drugs in psychiatry: Past, present and future. V. M. Bekhterev Review of Psychiatry and Medical Psychology 1992;1:31-47.

Kungurtsev I. “Death-Rebirth” Psychotherapy with Ketamine. The Albert Hofmann Foundation Bulletin 1991;2:1-6.

Krupitsky EM, Burakov AM, Dunaevsky IV, Romanova TN, Slavina TY, Grinenko AY. Single Versus Repeated Sessions of Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy for People with Heroin Dependence. Journal of Psychoactive Drugs March 31, 2007


Ketamine is not FDA Approved for treatment of Addiction or Alcoholism



*From Ketamine: Peril and Promise by R. Andrew Sewell, MD


456. J Psychoactive Drugs. 2007 Mar;39(1):13-9.

Single versus repeated sessions of ketamine-assisted psychotherapy for people
with heroin dependence.

Krupitsky EM(1), Burakov AM, Dunaevsky IV, Romanova TN, Slavina TY, Grinenko AY.

Author information: 
(1)Research Laboratory, St. Petersburg Regional Center of Addictions and
Psychopharmacology, St. Petersburg State Pavlov Medical University, St.
Petersburg, Russia.

A prior study found that one ketamine-assisted psychotherapy session was
significantly more effective than active placebo in promoting abstinence
(Krupitsky et al. 2002). In this study of the efficacy of single versus repeated
sessions of ketamine-assisted psychotherapy in promoting abstinence in people
with heroin dependence, 59 detoxified inpatients with heroin dependence received
a ketamine-assisted psychotherapy (KPT) session prior to their discharge from an
addiction treatment hospital, and were then randomized into two treatment groups.
Participants in the first group received two addiction counseling sessions
followed by two KPT sessions, with sessions scheduled on a monthly interval
(multiple KPT group). Participants in the second group received two addiction
counseling sessions on a monthly interval, but no additional ketamine therapy
sessions (single KPT group). At one-year follow-up, survival analysis
demonstrated a significantly higher rate of abstinence in the multiple KPT group.
Thirteen out of 26 subjects (50%) in the multiple KPT group remained abstinent,
compared to 6 out of 27 subjects (22.2%) in the single KPT group (p < 0.05). No
differences between groups were found in depression, anxiety, craving for heroin,
or their understanding of the meaning of their lives. It was concluded that three
sessions of ketamine-assisted psychotherapy are more effective than a single
session for the treatment of heroin addiction.

PMID: 17523581  [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]