Ketamine therapy, when used with caution in a medical setting and at lower doses, has been observed to be beneficial for treating depression and PTSD and is being explored as a remedy for various conditions, such as chronic pain, addiction, and anxiety. However, it can have severe repercussions and is susceptible to misuse. When used at high doses or inappropriately, it can cause hallucinations and dissociative effects, and can also have a deleterious effect on cardiovascular and respiratory functioning.
Despite this, more research is necessary to ascertain the safety and efficacy of ketamine therapy and it is important for those who are looking into this treatment to speak to a competent healthcare provider. Continue reading to learn more about ketamine, the benefits and dangers of ketamine therapy, and treatment options available if you or someone you know requires help for a ketamine addiction.
Ketamine therapy can be effective in treating depression, anxiety, and PTSD but is not without dangers, as ketamine is an addictive substance.
What is Ketamine?
Ketamine is a powerful dissociative drug and is commonly used by health practitioners and veterinarians as an anesthetic. However, it’s sometimes abused by people to achieve a high. When it’s sold illegally, ketamine usually comes in the form of a white or off-white powder, pills, or dissolved in a liquid. It acts on various chemicals in the brain to produce visual and auditory distortions and a detachment from reality, making it difficult to break the chain of addiction once someone has experienced its effects.
What is Ketamine Therapy?
Although commonly used as an anesthetic, ketamine is used in a particular type of therapy to deal with depression, anxiety, and PTSD. It is typically administered by a healthcare provider in a medical setting, either through an IV infusion or an intramuscular injection. The number of sessions a person needs to attend may vary, depending on their condition. It is important to remember that ketamine therapy should be used in conjunction with other types of traditional mental health treatment, and is not meant to replace it.
Benefits of Ketamine Therapy
This so-called “off-label” use of ketamine has been a subject of much research and debate in recent years, with many studies showing promising results. One particular area of study has been the notion of chaining, or combining ketamine with other therapeutic interventions, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy or exposure therapy. This combined approach has shown the potential to further enhance the beneficial effects of ketamine in treating depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Benefits of ketamine therapy include:
The rapid onset of action of ketamine is a major benefit when compared to traditional antidepressants. It can provide symptom relief within a few hours, making it an attractive option for those who are in a severe episode of depression or experiencing suicidal thoughts. This can be especially beneficial as it can provide much-needed relief in a short period of time. Ketamine may thus be an important tool in the treatment of depression and other mental health conditions.
Effective in Treating Severe Depression
There is evidence to support the efficacy of ketamine for treating treatment-resistant cases of depression. This includes those who have not responded to traditional antidepressants and electroconvulsive therapy. The use of ketamine in these cases provides an effective alternative to traditional treatments, with clinical research demonstrating a reduction in depressive symptoms for up to several weeks. As such, it is an important option for clinicians seeking to provide effective treatment for patients resistant to traditional forms of therapy.
Multiple studies have found that ketamine has a remarkable ability to improve mood and reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and PTSD. The results are promising and suggest that the drug could be an effective treatment in place of traditional antidepressants. Furthermore, ketamine can be rapidly absorbed into the body and has a considerably faster onset than other treatments, making it especially beneficial for those who require quick relief from their mental health issues.
Long-Term Symptom Relief
The potential for long-term symptom improvement has been suggested by some studies conducted on ketamine therapy. Some patients have reported that their symptoms have improved for several weeks or months after the completion of treatment, indicating the potential of ketamine therapy to provide sustained relief from symptoms. This may provide a solution for those looking for long-term symptom management and a more durable mental health solution.
Potential Risks of Ketamine Therapy
While ketamine therapy has proven to be effective in many cases, it carries the possibility of risks and adverse effects. A few of the potential risks of ketamine therapy may include:
Ketamine can cause a significant spike in blood pressure and pulse rate, weaken the heart muscle that is unable to pump enough oxygen-rich blood to the body, and cause arrhythmias which can be dangerous for those with heart-related health conditions. Thus, caution should be taken when considering the use of ketamine, as it can potentially have adverse effects on one’s cardiovascular health.
Psychological effects are one of the most common side effects of ketamine usage. These effects range from mild hallucinations to more severe changes in perception, which can lead to a feeling of disorientation. Additionally, these effects can be dangerous if experienced in certain situations, such as driving or operating machinery. Therefore, it is important to be aware of the psychological effects of ketamine and how it may affect one’s ability to function safely.
Addiction and Dependence
Although ketamine is usually not seen as a highly addictive substance, people may develop a dependence on it if misused. This leads to serious issues such as abuse and addiction. Dependence on ketamine can lead to serious physical and psychological problems, in addition to compromising one’s ability to lead a productive life. If an individual suspects that they may have become dependent on ketamine, it is important to seek professional help before the issue worsens.
Long-term use of ketamine has been linked to a wide range of bladder problems, including ulcerative cystitis. This condition is characterized by severe pain and an inability to urinate normally. The presence of such bladder problems can significantly affect the quality of life for ketamine users and should not be taken lightly. It is important for those who chronically use ketamine to be aware of the potential for bladder problems and take the appropriate steps to monitor their own health.
Is Ketamine Therapy Right For You?
People who are struggling with depression that does not respond to traditional treatments, bipolar disorder, PTSD, and chronic pain may be able to benefit from ketamine therapy. Additionally, it can help with managing symptoms of anxiety and suicidal ideation. However, it is important to keep in mind that ketamine therapy is still considered to be experimental and has not been accepted by the FDA for these particular uses. Therefore, it is essential to talk to a qualified medical professional to decide which treatment option is best for the individual’s unique circumstances.
What to Expect During a Ketamine Therapy Session
The normal method of administering ketamine therapy includes a set of treatments given by a certified healthcare provider, such as a doctor or a nurse practitioner. At the time of treatment, a small amount of ketamine is injected into the patient’s body through an IV. It is possible that the patient may feel a change in their consciousness, along with a feeling of detachment from their surroundings. Some people may feel like they are floating or that they are outside of their own bodies. Generally, this experience will last for roughly an hour.
Following the procedure, the individual will be observed for any serious side effects and may be advised to take a break for a while. It is important to have an individual who can drive them home after the treatment since ketamine can hinder a person’s driving ability.
How often ketamine is used for medical purposes is determined by the health issue being addressed and how the patient responds to the drug. Generally, multiple treatments are needed, and the frequency of those treatments is based on the patient’s reaction to the substance. It might be beneficial to some to have a session once a week or every two weeks, while others may only need to be treated several times a year. It is essential to consult a healthcare professional to decide on the best plan of action.
Ketamine Addiction Treatment in Asheville, NC
While ketamine therapy has been shown to be beneficial in treating individuals with severe depression, anxiety, and PTSD, ketamine is addictive and carries a high potential for abuse and dependency. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, there are people ready to help you.
Asheville Recovery Center has a range of options to help people with substance abuse issues. At our center, we utilize a 12-step program and integrate holistic healing methods into our plans. People can take advantage of intensive outpatient, detox referral, partial hospitalization, and aftercare services at our facilities.
If you or a loved one needs help in overcoming a ketamine addiction, reach out to the specialists at Asheville Recovery Center. There is no need to fight your battle alone. Call us today.