A drug that many partygoers use may just be the one to solve alcoholism. The drug, which was also known in party circles as Special K, has been found to help heavy drinkers get out of alcoholism.

According to a group of British researchers, a single dose of ketamine combined with several mental exercises can reduce the cravings of alcoholics for booze. The study, which was published Tuesday in Nature Communications, says the drug rewrites the drinking memories, which make heavy drinkers crave for liquor in the first place. Researchers believe the conclusions of their study can help thousands of alcoholics in the UK and other parts of the world.

alcoholism solved by ketamine
alcoholism solved by ketamine bridgesward - Pixabay

Researchers examined the habits of 90 booze lovers who have exhibited hazardous or harmful drinking patterns and were known to consume approximately 30 pints of booze per week. The volunteers were each given a glass of booze to drink. The researchers told them to drink the contents only after looking at it and visualizing images of other drinks like soft drinks, wine, orange juice, and beer.

After this, some of them were given a tiny dose of ketamine. The drug is known to affect the memories of people who took it. On the tenth day of the study, volunteers who took ketamine in combination with memory therapy experience a reduction in their cravings to drink. Their alcohol consumption was also minimized.

After nine months, those who had ketamine were able to reduce their weekly consumption of booze by 50%. With the promising results of the study, researchers are optimistic this could completely revolutionize the way alcoholism is being treated.

The lead author of the study, Dr. Ravi Das, said that volunteers who were considered heavy drinkers became less-addicted to alcohol after a simple and quick experimental treatment method. Das said that learning is the core reason why people are addicted to alcohol or drugs. In essence, ketamine takes over the built-in reward-learning system of the brain. The drug then makes them associate environmental triggers with ketamine. Such a condition generates an overwhelming desire to go for ketamine instead of alcohol.

Sunjeev Kamboj, the senior author of the study and a professor at the University College London, said ketamine is a safe and common drug. It is currently being studied for many psychiatric uses, which include depression.