How can ketamine help with anxiety, depression, or other mental health issues?
Ketamine infusion therapy is a treatment for a variety of mental health conditions. Why are so many people talking about ketamine assisted psychotherapy?
Intravenous ketamine has been studied for treating addiction, severe depression, severe anxiety, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar disorder, and chronic pain.
When successful, the patient may report rapid relief from mood disorder symptoms. Patients receiving chronic pain management at a ketamine clinic report improved functioning.
Additionally, ketamine may help with rare pain syndromes, such as complex regional pain syndrome. It has even been used for OCD treatment.
How can ketamine work to treat so many health conditions?
Ketamine infusion treatment delivers an IV dose of ketamine to the patient quickly, under close medical supervision. Ketamine is a powerful dissociative anesthetic that is classified as a psychedelic drug.
While the exact mechanism for how the drug helps with various conditions, such as depressive disorder, refractory depression, treatment resistant depression, anxiety disorder, addiction, opioid withdrawal, benzo withdrawal, and chronic pain, is not fully understood, it is believed that it is related to the psychedelic properties of the drug. Ketamine IV Therapy helps the patient to disassociate from their problems, and view their situation from a new and unique perspective.
Providing a maintenance infusion of ketamine on a regular basis will not necessarily resolve mental health issues or physical problems without additional therapy. The psychotherapy component of ketamine therapy is essential.
Ketamine assisted psychotherapy must include both medication treatment and psychological guidance. An experienced guide, coach, counselor, or psychologist should be present for the infusion, and for at least 1-2 hours afterwards.
Are there other psychedelic drugs being used for anxiety treatment and other medical conditions?
Ketamine is not the only psychedelic drug being studied for PTSD treatment, anxiety treatment, depression treatment, and addiction therapy. There are many drugs in the psychedelic category that are known to be useful in treating some or all of the same conditions as ketamine.
For example, ibogaine is a plant-derived drug that is used in treatment locations in Mexico and other countries. Ibogaine patients are given a dose of the drug, and they may have a psychedelic experience that lasts for days.
MC-18 is a drug derived from ibogaine that shows promise in delivering the benefits of ibogaine without the risks. In fact, MC-18 may provide these benefits without the patient having to endure a psychedelic trip.
Psilocybin is a well-known psychedelic that is derived from mushrooms that grow in many regions of the US. Many pharmaceutical companies are racing to be the first to get an FDA-approved psilocybin product to market.
Ayahuasca tea is a powerful psychedelic that is often given by shamans in order to provide a life-altering experience. Many celebrities, including Will Smith, describe how ayahuasca has changed their outlook on life.
DMT is a short-acting, yet highly potent psychedelic drug that is derived from ayahuasca. There are pharmaceutical companies that are studying the possibility of FDA-approved DMT therapy.
MDMA, known on the street as mollies or exstacy, is currently being studied for PTSD therapy. MDMA is a unique drug with stimulant and psychedelic properties.
Why is counseling, coaching, and psychological therapy so important with psychedelic treatments?
In looking at ketamine treatment reviews from various centers, one of the main differentiating factors is whether the program provides psychotherapy. Ketamine programs that simply infuse the drug, without talk therapy, have a lower success rate.
Ketamine therapy can give the patient a new perspective and open their mind to new possibilities, but without therapy, there is no direction. A patient may improve, stay the same, or even get worse without proper guidance.
As you may be aware, ketamine has been used as a recreational drug in the past. Teenagers would break into a veterinarian’s office to steal ketamine for dogs or cats in the form of a brand such as Ketaset, Vetalar, or Vetaket.
Then, they would proceed to take the drug to enter a state known as a K-Hole. The drug was once associated with rave parties, where loud, rhythmic, electronic music would be played throughout the night.
Rave parties, with intense dancing, are not a good mix with any type of illicit drug use. Many recreational ketamine users ended up in the ER. Clearly, they were not getting any psychological or medical benefits from ketamine abuse.
In fact, many people with addictions, or substance use disorders, describe starting their drug-using career with recreational psychedelic drug use. The fact that they moved on to harder drugs is evidence that psychedelics did not prevent the development of addiction, or resolve underlying psychological issues.
Psychotherapy, in the form of treatment by a counselor or psychologist, is essential for success with ketamine therapy. The patient must have professional guidance in order to reap the benefits of ketamine treatment.
Some experts have recommended at least two hours of therapy following a ketamine infusion. By providing therapy in a proper medical setting, the psychedelic experience can provide relief from many health conditions. Psychotherapy is critical for ketamine success.
How does top-rated ketamine treatment compare to other medical treatments for depression, anxiety, addiction, or pain?
Psychiatrists and primary care doctors have been prescribing cocktails of psych drugs to their patients for decades. They use drugs such as serotonin reuptake inhibitors, antipsychotics, and benzodiazepines to help suppress mental illness.
In the past, psychiatrists were known for providing extensive talk therapy, in the form of traditional psychoanalysis, cognitive behavioral therapy, or other therapies. Today’s psychiatrist usually skips over the talk therapy.
They prefer to write prescriptions for psych drugs with the intent of continuing these drugs for life. Unfortunately, we are now discovering that many psych drugs that we thought were safe can be harmful to the brain.
For example, benzodiazepines are known to cause toxic encephalopathy, and serious adverse reactions. Benzo patients suffer from serious side effects and complications, including the terrifying condition known as akathisia.
If you review the FDA-approved literature and treatment information that accompanies many common antidepressants, antipsychotics, tranquilizers, and sleeping pills, you will notice that many can cause suicidal thoughts or even suicide attempts. What about ketamine?
Ketamine has been used to treat suicidal ideations. The side effect profile of ketamine is far shorter than that of most psych drugs.
While no pharmaceutical is completely free of potential side effects and adverse reactions, ketamine is known to be safer than many other drugs. Additionally, psychedelic treatment, in general, works with fewer treatments compared to having to take a psych drug every day for life.
Are there other ways to take ketamine other than a ketamine IV infusion?
Fortunately, there are alternatives to ketamine infusion therapy. Many people are not comfortable with the idea of visiting a clinic where a nurse is going to start an IV infusion.
Ketamine patients have options which do not require a needle or IV tubing to be inserted into a vein. While ketamine cannot be taken orally, it does work as a nasal spray, dissolved in the cheek, or under the tongue.
In fact, the FDA has approved a ketamine-like nasal spray for depression treatment. Esketamine, the S enantiomer of ketamine, is sold under the brand name, Spravato as a once-weekly nasal spray.
There are also select compound pharmacies that are able to make ketamine nasal spray for off-label use. Doctors may choose to prescribe compounded ketamine nasal spray to their patients for a variety of health conditions.
Compound pharmacies also make buccal ketamine treatments, where a lozenge, or troche, is made to be dissolved in the inner cheek. Sublingual troches, or sublingual lozenges, dissolve under the tongue.
In addition to internally consumed ketamine products, there are also ketamine topical creams, which are known to be effective for various pain syndromes. For example, a person with chronic back pain may benefit from ketamine cream applied to their back, with less side effects compared to taking oral pain pills.
Is ketamine an addictive drug?
Is ketamine habit-forming or addicting? Generally, it is not considered to be an addicting drug, though it is possible for a person to develop a ketamine habit or ketamine addiction.
The World Health Organization considers ketamine to have a low abuse potential. The WHO has recommended that the drug not be controlled world-wide, and only minimally controlled in countries where abuse is of concern.
Drugs such as oxycodone, dilaudid, hydrocodone, morphine, Adderall, Vyvanse, and many other prescription medications, are known to be very addicting and have a high abuse potential. These drugs are also often prescribed for daily, long-term use.
Ketamine, on the other hand, is intended for short-term use, with a limited number of treatments. The drug itself does not have addictive properties.
There is also little concern over a withdrawal syndrome. People do not tend to develop a physical dependence on the drug.
The scientist, Dr. John C. Lilly, was believed by some to be addicted to Ketamine. Dr. Lilly was a pioneer in the use of sensory deprivation tanks, and he was known to combine use of the tanks with psychedelic use.
Dr. Lilly took ketamine on a regular basis, possibly daily, and had some unusual ideas, including the belief that he was in contact with alien, interdimensional, beings. Even with excessive ketamine use, Dr. Lilly lived to 86-years-old, and made significant contributions to early psychedelic research.
The movie, Altered States, is loosely based on John C. Lilly’s work, and his use of sensory deprivation therapy. Of course, that entertaining, award-winning film is not the place to look if you are looking for ketamine facts.
Is it a good idea to get a free consultation for ketamine IV infusion therapy?
Are you afraid that going in for a free consultation will lead to you being talked into a scary ketamine experience? Is it safe to get a free consultation for ketamine infusion treatment?
Of course, you should do everything possible to evaluate the clinic before calling. How are their reviews? What are their credentials?
Once you have decided to get a free consultation, you may want to inquire about a telephone or video consultation, so you do not have to go in person to the clinic. Even if you do go in person, you may want to commit to not doing treatment the same day as the consultation.
If you are presented with any pushy sales techniques, including urgency, where you must commit immediately to get a discount, it should raise a red flag. Ketamine therapy should not be combined with high pressure sales.
Psychedelic therapy is a very personal decision which should be weighed carefully. You should at least be able to sleep on the decision, having at least a day or more to consider your options.
Are there alternatives to psychedelic therapy?
A wise spiritual teacher once told me that he considered psychedelics to be unearned Nirvana. He stated that the temporary elevation of consciousness is not useful when it as achieved with a drug.
His belief was that expanded consciousness should be the result of hard work over a lifetime, using reflection, meditation, and journaling. His belief was that psychoactive drugs blocked the sunshine of the spirit.
In a sense, he is fully correct. It is possible to achieve all the benefits of ketamine therapy, and more, without taking any substance. A person may still engage in therapy, and work with a spiritual guide to make progress in getting through difficult times in their life.
Meditation, mindfulness, writing, gratitude, forgiveness, and many other spiritual techniques can be used to guide the healing process. People can work on, and overcome, serious mental health issues without the use of psychedelic therapy.
However, in our modern world, filled with distractions and expectations, it is not easy for everyone to break free and dedicate their lives to spiritual living. We cannot all be like author, Michael Singer, leaving our lives behind to go into the woods to meditate for the rest of our lives.
While it is important to consider, and try nonmedical treatments first, ketamine may be an excellent option for many people who suffer from anxiety, depression, post traumatic stress disorder, addiction, drug dependence, drug withdrawal, alcoholism, OCD, or on of the many other conditions that may be helped by ketamine infusion treatment and ketamine assisted treatment.
Are you interested in learning more about ketamine infusion therapy, ketamine assisted psychotherapy, and other ketamine-related topics? Consider using Dr. Leeds as your ketamine consultant.