The Many Benefits of Ketamine Infusion Therapy

Ketamine has had a bad reputation since the 1970s when President Nixon classified it as a controlled substance. He had good reasons. It was being abused by party goers and leading some to experience adverse side effects.

Before it was classified as illegal for recreational purposes, it was studied as a treatment option for mental health disorders like severe depression. It is for this purpose ketamine is making a comeback today. It is helping people worldwide who have tried many other treatment options feel relief from the overpowering symptoms of major depression.

Many know what it’s like to have physical pain. Depression is a form of mental distress that can often lead to negative consequences. The use of ketamine can replace thoughts of suicide with thoughts of hope.

What is Ketamine?

Ketamine has had several uses, including as an anesthetic for soldiers injured in war. It has even been used in sedating large animals undergoing surgery.

Most people with major depression are given antidepressant medications that increase serotonin levels in the brain. Harvard Health reports that up to 30% of people diagnosed will experience resistance to antidepressants. Doctors will change their medications and may even combine them to help someone find relief. But nothing works.

This group is considered to have treatment-resistant depression. One reason may be that they are treating the wrong brain chemical.

Ketamine is a medication that works with glutamate in the brain, not serotonin. Glutamate is responsible for new cell growth in the brain. The theory is that the better you can grow new cells, you will experience fewer symptoms of depression.

What Is Ketamine Infusion Therapy?

Psychiatrists are treatment providers licensed to administer ketamine for therapeutic purposes. Ketamine infusion is the process your psychiatrist uses to administer the medication to you to receive maximum benefits.

You are given a small dose of ketamine through an IV, so the medicine bypasses the digestive system, known to break it down and minimize effects. Some people choose to have the medication administered through a nasal spray or injection. The immediate results can last up to an hour. However, the positive mental health effects can last months after the treatment.

Psychiatrists often work with licensed mental health professionals to combine the administration of ketamine with a therapy session, which has may lengthen and enhance treatment effects. It is called ketamine-assisted psychotherapy. The dose of ketamine is administered before you begin a therapy session.

After a few minutes of treatment, you will begin to feel the ketamine working. People often report a feeling of disassociation or out-of-body experience. Some feel euphoria, relaxation, and warmth. You have an overall sense of well-being, and you become more open-minded during treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy.

When the ketamine starts to work, your mental health therapist will guide you in replacing negative thought patterns with positive ones. The use of ketamine can stimulate beneficial changes in the brain.

Benefits of Ketamine Infusion Therapy

While alleviating symptoms of depression is an excellent benefit of ketamine infusion therapy, it is not the only one. Here are a few more. Ketamine:

  • Revs up neurons by interacting with NMDA receptors for new cell growth.
  • Calms your mind.
  • Reduces pain.
  • Decreases the need for narcotic painkillers.
  • Works quickly, within hours, and continues to work even after metabolized in the body.
  • Works quickly to reduce thoughts of suicide.
  • Improves symptoms of other mental health conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety disorders, bipolar disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

You are not at risk for developing an addiction because only small doses are administered in the clinic by your psychiatrist. You will never have a prescription for ketamine to take home with you.

Another benefit is that ketamine does not affect breathing rate and blood pressure like many other drugs do. It has a high rate of success in improving the mental health of those with treatment-resistant depression. Some reports show positive results after the first infusion.

There are few side effects of ketamine use.

Potential Side Effects of Ketamine

While most people do not experience side effects or, if they do, they are mild, some people may have a different reaction. Known side effects include nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, and confusion. These side effects typically are mild and fade within the time frame of the infusion therapy session.

To avoid dangerous reactions, certain people do not qualify for ketamine infusion therapy. If you have any of the following, you should avoid ketamine treatments unless your physician approves.

  • History of heart attack
  • History of stroke
  • History of psychosis, including hallucinations or delusions
  • History of schizophrenia
  • High blood pressure
  • Alcohol Intoxication
  • Prescription or illicit drug intoxication

If you can participate in ketamine infusion therapy, it’s good to know what to expect at the time of your treatment.

What to Expect with Ketamine Infusion Therapy

The first step in the process of ketamine infusion is a consultation with your psychiatrist. You will be given information on the route of administration, dosage, and what to expect as ketamine enters the body.

You won’t be able to drive after the treatment, so you must have someone with you to make sure you get home when complete. Ketamine infusions are given in a private room at the local mental health center. The environment is relaxing and free of distractions. You may listen to calming music, and the lights will be dimmed.

The more relaxed you are before the treatment, the better results you will receive.

You will be administered ketamine, and for about forty to sixty minutes, you will relax and enjoy the effects. After your session, you will schedule future ketamine infusion therapies. Typically, results are best for those who participate in two or three sessions over six weeks. Maintenance sessions can extend the benefits further. Continuing psychotherapy after completion of ketamine infusions can also prolong positive mental health effects.

If you think you could benefit from ketamine infusion therapy, call us. We want to help you overcome symptoms of depression.