12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous provide a structured program for recovery from addiction. The process of working through the steps with others helps individuals to address past mistakes, repair relationships and rebuild trust with themselves, leading to stronger family and social connections. Those who have had success in the program credit its spiritual foundation for their development of newfound coping strategies and self-management skills.

AA was founded in 1935 by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, both of whom struggled with alcoholism. Their approach, based on the 12 steps, emphasized surrender to a higher power, personal reflection, and service to others. The program spread globally, with meetings becoming a space for those struggling with addiction to share experiences and support one another on the path to sobriety. Today, AA remains a respected resource for those seeking to overcome addiction in all its forms.

A study published in the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment found that those who participate in AA have significantly higher rates of continuous abstinence compared to those who do not; it also found that those who attend AA regularly have improved mental health. 12-step programs are not a magic solution and success depends on many factors, particularly the participant’s level of willingness to work the program. 

The 12th step of Alcoholics Anonymous, in which a participant sponsors an alcoholic just beginning their own journey through the steps, is a crucial part of the recovery process. A study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs found that AA sponsors report greater satisfaction with their own recovery and a stronger sense of purpose compared to those who do not sponsor others. Sponsoring allows individuals to give back to others what was freely given to them, providing a sense of fulfillment that is essential for maintaining long-term sobriety. In a survey of AA members, nearly 80% reported that their sponsor had a positive impact on their sobriety. 

Elizabeth Taylor, the legendary actress, credited AA for saving her life and helping her overcome her struggles with alcohol addiction. Musician Eric Clapton also credited AA with helping him overcome his addiction to alcohol and drugs. Actor Russell Brand has been open about his experience with addiction and recovery through NA. Late actor and comedian Robin Williams credited AA with helping him maintain sobriety and rapper Eminem credited AA with helping him overcome his addiction to prescription drugs. Actor David Duchovny has spoken about how AA helped him overcome his addiction to alcohol.

Actor Robert Downey Jr., has credited AA with helping him turn his life around and overcome his struggles with addiction to drugs and alcohol. The singer Pink has credited AA with helping her overcome her addiction to pain medication and maintain sobriety. Actress Lindsey Lohan has sought treatment for addiction through AA and credited the program with helping her maintain sobriety. 

It is important to note that recovery is a personal journey and what works for one person may not work for another. However, these programs can provide a valuable resource and support network for those seeking to overcome addiction.


Medically, ketamine is used for the induction and maintenance of anesthesia; it is also abused as a recreational drug. Ketamine is a novel compound, derived from PCP. Ketamine may additionally be utilized for acute pain management.

Ketamine was first synthesized in 1962; in 1970 it was approved for use in the United States. It has been regularly applied in veterinary medicine and in the Vietnam War it was widely used for surgical anesthesia

At sub-anesthetic doses, ketamine produces a sense of detachment from one’s own body that is known as depersonalization. When abused as a recreational drug, it is found both in powder and liquid form, and is often referred to as “Special K” for its hallucinogenic and dissociative effects. 

Ketamine is a promising agent for treatment-resistant depression; however, the antidepressant action of a single administration of ketamine decreases with time. The long-term effects of repeated use are largely unknown, and an area of current investigation.

Because of its ability to cause confusion and amnesia, ketamine has come to be known as a “date rape drug.” At high doses, users may experience what is called the “K-hole”, a state of dissociation with both visual and auditory hallucinations. 

Recreational ketamine abuse has been implicated in deaths globally, with more than 90 deaths in England and Wales from 2005 to 2013. These included accidental poisonings, drownings, traffic accidents, and suicides; the majority were among young people

At anesthetic doses, 10–20% of adults experience adverse reactions during emergence from anesthesia, ranging from hallucinations to emergence delirium

Dizziness, blurred vision, dry mouth, hypertension, nausea, and feeling flushed are the most common (>10%) side effects. All these adverse effects are dramatically reduced 40 minutes after the injection, and completely disappear within 4 hours.

At very low, sub-anesthetic doses, most people feel strange, spacey, woozy, a sense of floating, or have visual distortions or numbness. Also very frequent (20–50%) are difficulties speaking, confusion, euphoria, drowsiness, and trouble concentrating. 

Symptoms of psychosis such as disappearing, feeling as if melting, “experiencing” colors, and hallucinations are described by 6–10% of people

Although the actual incidence of ketamine dependence is unknown, some people who regularly use ketamine develop ketamine dependence. The short duration of ketamine’s effects promotes binging on the drug. Ketamine tolerance rapidly develops, even with medical usage, prompting the use of higher doses. 

Cognitive deficits as well as increased dissociation and delusion symptoms were observed in frequent recreational users of ketamine. Some daily users reported withdrawal symptoms, primarily anxiety, shaking, sweating, and heart palpitations, following the attempts to stop.



Phencyclidine or phenylcyclohexyl piperidine (PCP), aka angel dust, is a dissociative anesthetic mainly used recreationally for its mind-altering effects which may cause hallucinations, distorted perceptions of sounds, and violent behavior. 

As of 2017, in the U.S., about 1% of high school seniors reported using PCP in the year prior. 2.9% of those over the age of 25 reported using it at some point in their lives. Low doses produce a numbness in one’s extremities and an unsteady gait, slurred speech, bloodshot eyes, and loss of balance. Moderate doses will produce analgesia and anesthesia. High doses may lead to convulsions. 

Its most popularly recognized side effects are summarized by the mnemonic device RED DANES: rage, erythema (redness of skin), dilated pupils, delusions, amnesia, nystagmus (quivering of the eye when looking side to side), excitation, and skin dryness.

It is typically smoked (sometimes with marijuana or tobacco), but may be taken by mouth, snorted, or injected. Chemically speaking, PCP is a member of the arylcyclohexylamine class. PCP is most commonly used in the United States. While usage peaked in the 1970s, between 2005 and 2011 an increase occurred in emergency room visits as a result of the drug. 

The drug is often illegally produced under poorly controlled conditions; this means that users may be unaware of the actual dose they are taking. Further psychological effects of the drug include severe changes in body image, loss of ego boundaries, paranoia, depersonalization, psychosis, agitation, blurred vision and euphoria. Additional adverse side-effects may include seizures, coma, and an increased risk of suicide. Flashbacks may occur despite cessation of use. 

Like many other drugs, PCP has been known to alter mood states in an unpredictable fashion, causing some individuals to become detached, and others to become animated, inducing feelings of strength, power, and invulnerability. Recreational doses of the drug appear to induce a psychotic state, with cognitive impairment that resembles a schizophrenic episode. 

Studies by the Drug Abuse Warning Network in the 1970s showed that media reports of PCP-induced violence may be exaggerated and that incidents of violence are unusual, often limited to individuals with reputations for aggression prior to use of the drug. However, events which involve PCP-intoxicated individuals in physical altercations with law enforcement, possibly driven by their delusions or hallucinations, have been highly publicized. 

Other commonly cited incidents include inflicting property damage and self-mutilation, like the pulling of one’s own teeth. These effects were not noted in its medicinal use during the 1950s and 1960s.