The Promising Benefits of Ketamine-assisted Psychotherapy

Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy (KAP) is a combination of ketamine infusions and psychotherapy or counseling. It offers quick relief to someone with depression who has yet to find a treatment that works. Not only can it improve mood, but it can alleviate symptoms of anxiety disorders, chronic pain, and post-traumatic stress. In addition, KAP may enhance substance use disorder treatment.

Traditional therapies sometimes fall short in treating severe cases of depression and PTSD, leaving many individuals feeling hopeless and stuck in their recovery. The limitations of conventional treatment methods can prolong suffering and make it difficult for patients to find effective relief from their symptoms.

Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy offers promising benefits, providing rapid symptom relief by enhancing traditional psychotherapy methods with the use of ketamine, which has shown significant potential in breaking through treatment barriers and accelerating the healing process.

This article explores the benefits of ketamine-assisted psychotherapy.

What Is Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy?

Ketamine relaxes the mind and mental defenses that prolong the traditional therapeutic process. You can choose to enhance your ketamine session by working with a licensed therapist.

While your mind is open, accepting, and clear due to the ketamine, your therapist can make positive suggestions for recovery using cognitive-behavioral techniques. What may have taken weeks to uncover can happen in one session.

Benefits of Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy

It is natural for the brain to guard painful emotions so they do not interfere with daily functioning. However, the longer it takes to confront the emotions causing pain or problems, the harder it is to overcome them. Being able to access suppressed emotions quickly is just one of many reasons people are seeking KAP. Here are some of the benefits of ketamine-assisted psychotherapy.

Quick Reduction of Depressive Symptoms and Anxiety

Multiple studies offer support for combining ketamine and psychotherapy, which offers quick relief of depression and anxiety. Participants with major depression and post-traumatic stress showed the most significant improvements. After several KAP sessions and continued therapy using cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), people experienced rapid symptom reductions, higher treatment engagement rates, and an increase in therapy participation.

Traditional antidepressants prescribed for depression and anxiety can take weeks or months to reach their full potential. Ketamine alleviates symptoms of depression and anxiety in a few hours, according to research. Participants felt the positive effects of ketamine for at least three days after the initial treatment.

A recent review of studies showed participants receiving ketamine treatments had reduced depression and anxiety symptoms that began within an hour of their session, and the positive effects lasted weeks or longer. People receiving multiple infusions over time sustained the benefits of ketamine-assisted psychotherapy for many months.

Offers Relief When Other Treatments Have Failed

First-line treatments for depression, anxiety, and other mental health symptoms include antidepressants, like Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) and Selective Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitors (SNRIs). These medications increase brain neurotransmitters responsible for regulating mood, specifically serotonin and norepinephrine.

From the time a person starts taking SSRIs or SNRIs, it can take weeks to notice any improvements in mood. For some, their mood doesn’t improve. One reason may be their symptoms are not due to low levels of those neurotransmitters.

Ketamine improves the functioning of the neurotransmitter glutamate, which helps regulate parts of the nervous system. Someone with too much glutamate production can experience depression and anxiety. Ketamine blocks the overproduction of glutamate, producing quick relief of painful symptoms.

Ketamine also has anti-inflammatory properties. Since inflammation can lead to depressive symptoms, ketamine offers an additional way to improve mood.

Fosters New Perspectives and Coping Strategies

Traditional psychotherapy methods are effective in treating depression, anxiety, and most other mental illnesses. However, it can take many months to reach breakthroughs in treatment. One reason is that the brain naturally protects itself from painful thoughts and memories by suppressing them or storing them in hard-to-reach areas. Breaking down the brain’s defenses and protective walls can take numerous sessions with a therapist.

Combining traditional psychotherapy with ketamine speeds up the time it takes to reach emotional milestones. Ketamine fosters new perspectives and coping strategies by

  • Enhancing neuroplasticity or rewiring the brain.
  • Producing emotionally arousing experiences.
  • Assisting in reframing thought processes.
  • Improving neurotransmitter communication.
  • Eliminating memories connected to pain.
  • Reducing defensiveness.
  • Increasing treatment participation.
  • Opening the mind to new ways of handling emotions.

Aids in PTSD and Chronic Pain Management

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is difficult to treat when symptoms are severe. It may even hinder the traditional process of trauma-focused CBT and antidepressants, leading to treatment-resistant outcomes. Adding KAP to a PTSD treatment plan can help someone process traumatic memories quickly, helping traditional treatments work more effectively.

Chronic pain is pain that lasts more than three months. It can be debilitating, and pain medications are not always the correct answer. Ketamine is known to activate opioid receptors in the brain, naturally reducing pain in the body. It is also an anesthetic that produces relaxation by blocking glutamate overproduction. Ketamine is beneficial for nerve-related pain and pain felt after surgery or injury.

Enhances Emotional Openness and Therapeutic Breakthroughs

Barriers exist that prevent some people from fully recovering from mental health symptoms. It’s natural to want to avoid painful memories and emotions, which is why trying to help someone with treatment-resistant disorders can feel impossible. Years of suppressing painful memories make it harder for them to feel compassion, empathy, and connectedness.

The benefits of ketamine-assisted psychotherapy include breaking through the barriers to experience hope, happiness, and improved relationships. Ketamine is a tool that pulls someone out of their mental fog and opens their mind to new ideas and beliefs. Ketamine’s effects begin with improved mental health symptoms and brain functioning. Those symptoms act as a ripple effect and lead to improved performance at work, home, and school. Eventually, you notice your overall well-being is much greater.

A Promising Alternative for Treatment-Resistant Conditions

Of the 8.9 million American adults with major depressive disorder annually, nearly 31% have treatment-resistant depression (TRD). Treatment providers are reducing that number by offering ketamine-assisted psychotherapy.

Suicide is a primary concern among people with treatment-resistant conditions. They lose hope after trying various protocols of medications and therapies that do not make them feel better. Research shows that 30% of people with TRD attempt suicide at least once. Even when depressive symptoms are mild, suicide rates increase among those with TRD.

Immediate benefits of ketamine-assisted psychotherapy include improved cognitive functioning that reduces suicidal thoughts and attempts.

Explore Ketamine Treatment in Los Angeles

Are you struggling to find relief for treatment-resistant depression or PTSD? Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy may be the solution you need, and the Mental Health Center at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Towers in Los Angeles is here to assist you.

The Mental Health Center offers ketamine-assisted psychotherapy that can help significantly reduce symptoms of depression.

If you are in Los Angeles and want to explore how ketamine-assisted psychotherapy can aid your treatment, contact the Mental Health Center today.


KAP is helping many people find relief from depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and even substance abuse. Treatment is safe and offers positive results in hours. You can be among the numerous people seeing significant improvements in their overall health.

Call The Mental Health Center today to learn more about the benefits of ketamine-assisted psychotherapy.