What is Ketamine therapy?
Ketamine is a schedule 3 dissociative anesthetic drug, given by IV at low doses, that has also been used off label for many years to heal treatment-resistant depression. More recent applications and protocols show that Ketamine can be effective for PTSD, anxiety, OCD, mood disorders, and neuropathic pain.
What is treatment with Ketamine like?
Ketamine has the potential to distort your perception during the first two hours of treatment. It is given in the outpatient setting with continuous monitoring and comfort while these potential side effects subside. This treatment can work in conjunction with psychiatric medications and receiving therapy while you are getting ketamine to produce a stronger therapeutic benefit. The goal of utilizing Ketamine is to provide rapid relief of your depression and anxiety symptoms.
Who would benefit most from Ketamine therapy?
Ketamine has been shown to be highly effective at treating depression by addressing different chemical pathways in the brain. The theory is that this treatment can make more of the neurotransmitters in your brain available which in turn creates better communication between brain cells. This produces a stronger therapeutic effect in the brain that positively affects your mood. As a result of the potent effects of ketamine, people are able to receive rapid relief of their depression, as opposed to antidepressant medications that can take up to 4-6 weeks to take full effect for your mood. Ketamine has even shown to provide relief from depressive symptoms within hours in some cases.
Are there side effects with Ketamine treatment?
Side effects can vary but the most reported side effects are the temporary perceptual changes that are usually described as having hallucinations or feeling disconnected from yourself or reality. It produces a short-lived state of altered consciousness immediately following treatment. Although this can be dramatic for most, they tend so be most intense at 40 minutes of initiating treatment and wear off within two hours of starting treatment. Other possible side effects include nausea, drowsiness, temporary increase in blood pressure, headache, altered sense of time, anxiety, blurred vision, restlessness, mental confusion, and feeling "drunk."
What precautions should I take before/after Ketamine treatment?
You should continue to take your hypertension medications as prescribed. Refrain from taking benzodiazepines or stimulants for 24 hours prior to treatment. Do no operate a vehicle or heavy machinery following treatment. Refrain from consuming solid foods within 3 hours prior to treatment and liquids within 1 hour prior to treatment.
Who should not receive Ketamine treatment?
- Those with an allergy to ketamine
- Active symptoms of psychosis or mania
- Poorly controlled high blood pressure
- Congestive Heart Failure or other serious heart problem
- Severe breathing problems
- Having a history of elevated intraocular or intracranial pressure
- History of hyperthyroidism
- Pregnant, nursing, or trying to become pregnant