Ketamine infusion therapy is a promising alternative treatment option for a range of mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder, OCD, and chronic pain. If you’re considering this type of therapy, there are several things you should know before your first session.
What is Ketamine?
Ketamine is an anesthetic medication developed in the 1960s and used extensively for battlefield anesthesia during the Vietnam War. Today, in addition to its use as an anesthetic, ketamine has gained popularity as an effective off-label treatment for a variety of mental and physical health conditions in what has come to be known as ketamine therapy.
Ketamine therapy is primarily recommended when conventional treatments have proven ineffective or have failed to produce adequate relief from symptoms.
How Does Ketamine Infusion Therapy Work?
During ketamine infusion therapy, a sub-anesthetic dose of ketamine is administered intravenously over about 40 minutes. The dose is carefully calibrated to achieve a therapeutic effect without causing any significant side effects.
The exact mechanism of ketamine’s antidepressant effects is not well understood, but it is thought to work by increasing the availability of certain neurotransmitters, such as glutamate, in the brain. This may help to strengthen neural connections and consequently improve mood, emotional, and pain processing in the brain.
What to Expect During Your Ketamine Infusion Therapy Session
Before your first ketamine infusion therapy session, you will likely have a consultation with the healthcare provider who will be administering the treatment. During this consultation, you will have the opportunity to discuss your medical history, current symptoms, and any concerns you may have about the therapy. Your ketamine provider will then determine if you’re a good fit for ketamine therapy.
If you pass the qualification criteria, you’ll then proceed to the treatment phase. During the actual treatment session, you will be seated in a comfortable reclining chair or bed, and a nurse will insert an intravenous catheter into your arm. The medication will then be administered slowly over a period of around 40 minutes.
You will be monitored closely throughout the infusion process to ensure you are comfortable and have no adverse reactions to the medication. After the infusion is complete, you will be asked to hang around another 30 minutes for observation purposes before being discharged.
What to Expect After Your Ketamine Infusion Therapy Session
After your ketamine infusion therapy session, you may feel a range of emotions and sensations. Some people report feeling relaxed and calm, while others may feel a sense of euphoria or dissociation.
Some people may also experience mild side effects, such as nausea, dizziness, and hallucinations during or after the infusion, but these typically resolve within a few hours.
It is important to give yourself time to rest and recover after the infusion, as the effects of the ketamine may linger for several hours. You should also avoid driving or operating heavy machinery for at least 24 hours after the infusion.
When Does Ketamine Therapy Begin To Work?
The effects of ketamine therapy are typically cumulative, meaning that it may take several infusion sessions administered over 2 to 3 weeks before you experience the full benefits of ketamine therapy.
Studies have found that most people require at least 6-8 infusions before they start to see significant improvement in their symptoms. Still, some people report experiencing an improvement in symptoms after a single treatment session.
And although ketamine infusion therapy has been shown to produce sustained relief from chronic pain and symptoms of mental illness, most people often require occasional booster infusions after the initial treatment phase to keep the symptoms away for good.
Ketamine infusion therapy is a safe and promising treatment option for a range of treatment-resistant mental and physical health conditions like chronic pain, depression, and PTSD. It offers a minimally invasive approach that can produce a therapeutic effect without causing any significant side effects.
If you have been struggling with treatment-resistant symptoms and are interested in exploring ketamine as a potential solution, speak to a certified ketamine provider today