Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affects the lives of many people worldwide. Shockingly, more military personnel die by suicide than in combat. Many treatments have been subpar in the past, however, ketamine may be an alternative treatment option for those who are still struggling. But there are some caveats and considerations that need to be taken before jumping on the ketamine bandwagon.
Research supports multiple ketamine infusions are needed to minimize depression symptoms and maintain antidepressant effects. We recommend pursuing the 6 series infusion to start, followed by boosters as needed.
A single ketamine infusion can be effective within hours of the infusion to reduce depression symptoms for up to 80% of patients. However, these effects can last only up to a few days to a week. Multiple infusions in the form of a series of six infusions can prolong the antidepressant effects for up to several weeks (and for some people months).
In the setting of chronic, high-dose ketamine use in abusers, studies demonstrate unfavorable changes in the brain, and neurotoxicity in the rodent model. Fortunately, one study of clinical ketamine use at Yale Psychiatric Hospital looking at patients who received ketamine infusions on a long-term basis showed no evidence of cognitive decline, delusions, or cystitis in their sample of patients.
To understand what could be best for you, you’ll need to explore where the recommended protocol comes from and what can happen with too much for too long, and more. It’s a lot but no worries we’re here to walk you through it!
Fibromyalgia is a leading cause of chronic pain affecting millions of Americans every day. Researchers hypothesize that central sensitization is the primary mechanism involved, but there are many other factors including genetics, immunological, psychological, and hormones that influence the development of fibromyalgia. Central sentization refers to a process called “wind-up” where the central nervous system gets regulated into a persistent state of high reactivity. This persistent or wound up state of reactivity lowers the threshold for what causes pain and can create extreme pain even with minimal stimulus. This phenomena is believed to be related to neuroplasticity which is mediated by the N-Methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors located in the spinal cord.
So how exactly do ketamine infusions help in fibromyalgia?
Ketamine’s most immediate mechanism of action is to block NMDA receptors. It is the most potent clinically available NMDA receptor antagonist today. By blocking the activity of the NMDA receptor, ketamine seems to reset the altered pain receptors that have become hypersensitized in patients with fibromyalgia.
If you are reading this article, then you are likely already aware of the potential of ketamine infusions for the treatment of depression, PTSD, suicidality, and anxiety. Unfortunately, the majority of people are unaware this is an option, or if they are aware, they simply believe ketamine is “just a horse tranquilizer” and drug of abuse that has no benefits in the treatment of mood disorders.
Humans don’t like change, and the medical community is made up…of well humans. Even though there is scientific data to support the efficacy of ketamine treatments, it does mean a change in the way the medical community approaches mood disorders. Let’s look at history to understand this better.
Ketamine infusions are helping many people with chronic pain disorders, anxiety, PTSD, and depression. This is not only due to the biochemical changes in the brain but also because of its psychotropic experiential effect. In this article, we explain how to maximize your ketamine infusion by adequately preparing for and integrating the experience.
It is imperative to prepare both your body and mind prior to the infusion, such as detoxing from alcohol, marijuana, and/or violence on TV, music, and movies. The insights gained during the infusion will more likely be retained and integrated in everyday life if one has set an intention and implements a daily personal practices such as meditation and journaling.
Ketamine infusions are becoming increasingly popular due to the fact they are can potentially rapidly treat anxiety, pain disorders, and treatment-resistant depression. You may be curious about what the experience of ketamine infusion will be like, especially since there is a lot of confusing and misleading information out on the internet. Well, we got you covered!!
What does a ketamine infusion feel like? Depending on how much ketamine and for how long you receive the infusion, you can experience anything from being more aware of how your body feels, quieting of the mind, and filled with feelings of love and gratitude all the way to feeling connecting to the Universe/God, death of your ego, and reliving past experiences.
Ketamine was first synthesized in the 1960’s for use as a general anesthetic. It’s been traditionally used in the operating room and emergency departments for sedation and pain control. Ketamine has a colorful history and is known to be used in veterinary medicine as a “horse tranquilizer” and even a recreational club drug of abuse. However, ketamine is the most common medicine used worldwide for sedation and the World Health Organization (WHO) places ketamine in it’s List of Essential Medicines.
Recently, there has been an upward trend of more ketamine clinics opening up in the United States. Ketamine clinics are on the cutting edge of medicine and represent a paradigm shift in the treatment of depression depression, anxiety, OCD, PTSD, as well as various forms of chronic pain. Because of ketamine’s history, there may be some confusion about it’s legal status when used “off-label.” To answer it simply, yes, ketamine clinics are legal.
Imagine living a life filled with anxiety and panic attacks so severe that you are not even able to leave your house. In a 2016 case report from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Utah, they share the story of Ms. A, a 34 year old woman who had been diagnosed with DSM-5 panic disorder, agoraphobia, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and major depressive disorder.
Multiple studies have shown the benefits of using ketamine for treatment-resistant depression. Typically, the spacing of the ketamine infusions have been either two or three times per week. However, one recent study published in 2019 in the American Journal of Psychiatry showed that the reduction in depression symptoms were maintained with once-weekly infusions.
Have you ever listened to a song and been moved emotionally? It might have inspired you to get up and dance, feel ecstacy, joy, or even shed tears. During a ketamine infusion, the music that is played has a powerful role in influencing the set and setting. It can actually be a therapeutic tool that can help open up memories and allow for exploration into the deep recesses of the human mind.
Twenty years ago, I began my course work as a pre-medical student at Seattle University in Washington. During my time in college, I worked as a research technician at the University of Washington-Dept of Neurology studying neurosyphilis. To elucidate more about the bacteria, Treponema pallidum, I would perform a variety of procedures on laboratory animals to reduce their pain. By happenstance, the medication that I used regularly was ketamine! I didn’t think much of it at the time, but a seed had been planted.
Traumatic experiences can cause a severe disturbance to the human psyche and soul. The overall lifetime prevalence of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is at 6.8% in the United States. The rate of PTSD is significantly higher in females (5.2%) versus males (1.8%). This stems not only from military experiences, but physical and emotional abuse, bullying, shaming, interpersonal violence, sexual trauma, and criminal acts.
According to the World Health Organization, depression has now surpassed HIV, AIDS, malaria, diabetes, and war as the leading cause of disability. Current antidepressants may take weeks to months to be effective. Unfortunately, one-third of patients are still unresponsive, and are called “treatment-resistant.” However, there are other options available.
Ketamine can be an incredibly powerful tool for the treatment of depression, PTSD, anxiety, OCD, trigeminal neuralgia, migraines, and chronic pain. When used properly with an experienced healthcare provider, ketamine can help catalyze transformational, ineffable experiences. But there are times that someone may have a negative, frightening, or challenging experience. So what can be done to prevent and address this?
Ketamine is made up of two enantiomers, one is called (R)-ketamine and the other is (S)-ketamine, also known as esketamine. All chemicals have two mirror images and when combined, it is called the racemic mixture. The generic version of ketamine contains both (R) and (S)-ketamine and has been approved by the FDA for use as a dissociative anesthetic agent since 1970.
There is a growing body of clinical evidence that has shown how ketamine works to produce antidepressant effects in those with treatment-resistant depression (TRD). These studies have used a common subanesthetic dose of 0.5 mg/kg over a period of 40 minutes when administered through an IV. An outpatient study from 2018, published in Molecular Psychiatry, recently added onto this body of research in order to find the optimal dose for antidepressant effects in those with TRD. They found that single IV doses of ketamine of 0.5 mg/kg and 1 mg/kg proved to be more effective than an active placebo in reducing depression over a 3-day period.
Have you wondered why homemade meals can sometimes be more emotionally satisfying compared to restaurant or fast food? For example, when you’re sick and your caretaker prepares a hot soup for you with homemade ingredients, it can make you feel better compared to soup from a can. A 2013 study took that concept and hypothesized: Is it possible to improve mood with tea that was prepared with a belief and an intention?
Dear Health Insurance Company Representative,
Thank you for being a part of the system that helps to reduce the cost of health care for me and my patients. I appreciate your commitment to collaborating and serving patients by covering the charges from unexpected healthcare fees. Because of your services it allows for greater coverage to a large group of people for disease prevention, improving health, and fully living life.
“No fresh flowers,” my doctor said. “Avoid salad. No uncooked food. And don’t bring visitors home.”
Treatment for breast cancer took the better part of a year, and a lot of that time, I spent alone. No wonder cancer sometimes comes with depression.