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Studies

Dual Action Of Ketamine Confines Addiction Liability

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-022-04993-7

Addictive drugs such as cocaine, heroin or alcohol increase the levels of dopamine in the known areas of the brain involved in emotions, pleasure, and memory, which facilitates habit formation. These highly addictive substances strongly activate and then wire these pathways in the brain of people suffering from substance use disorder and this underscores the challenges in breaking the addiction cycle. There is a fear that ketamine is a substance that can easily trigger this brain pathway and lead someone to easily develop addiction. Fortunately, in clinical practice it is rare to see someone develop illicit ketamine habits and it is more commonly seen outside of conventional medical care.

A 2022 article published in the prestigious journal Nature, demonstrated that the basic activity of ketamine has a low risk of addiction. Using a mouse model, a research group based in Geneva Switzerland showed that ketamine does not induce the typical brain changes that is typically observed with addictive drugs in mice, and they did not demonstrate behaviors of “uncontrolled self-administration.”

[Simmler LD, Li Y, Hadjas LC, Hiver A, van Zessen R, L├╝scher C. Dual action of ketamine confines addiction liability. Nature. 2022 Aug;608(7922):368-373. doi: 10.1038/s41586-022-04993-7. Epub 2022 Jul 27. PMID: 35896744.]

Cognitive therapy, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and behavior therapy for the treatment of chronic pain: randomized controlled trial

https://journals.lww.com/pain/Abstract/2022/02000/Cognitive_therapy,_mindfulness_based_stress.13.aspx

This study compared mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) to psychological therapies and “treatment as usual” in the treatment of chronic pain.

The study reveals that the therapy groups and MBSR were more effective than the treatment as usual group. The study does not delineate that one psychological or consciousness medicine approach is superior. My take on this is the awareness that MBSR can essentially be perused as free, whereas therapy requires the resources of a therapist. I certainly advocate therapeutic support when it is possible, but a regular MBSR practice can have the same effect without the need to navigate the insurance based health care system.

I also am very curious to see if there is an additive effect of MBSR to therapy as well. At the end of the day, this is evidence of a well-designed trial that uses consciousness medicine as an effective intervention.

[Burns JW, Jensen MP, Thorn B, Lillis TA, Carmody J, Newman AK, Keefe F. Cognitive therapy, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and behavior therapy for the treatment of chronic pain: randomized controlled trial. Pain. 2022 Feb 1;163(2):376-389 ]
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