Nearly one in five adults in the US live with a mental illness. But not everyone benefits from the same treatment options. The good news is that there are different treatments to try, including ketamine.
Ketamine can draw a mixture of reactions. Some people have never heard of it before, whereas others will remember its history as a wartime anesthetic or think of it as a party drug. However, using ketamine for anxiety, depression, complex PTSD, and other psychological disorders is a breakthrough treatment option.
Are you interested in learning more about ketamine therapy for anxiety and other disorders? Read on for everything you need to know.
What Is Ketamine?
Ketamine was first discovered in the 1960s and was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an anesthetic in the 1970s. It was used during the Vietnam War for injured soldiers as it is an anesthetic that does not require a ventilator.
It is now used in different ways, including in veterinary medicine and as a common sedative in pediatric emergency care. Some people use it recreationally, which is why it is only legal by prescription only.
Ketamine produces a dissociative experience, which can be described as a trance-like state. There are different types of ketamine, with two main types being used for psychological treatment. These are:
- Nose spray Esketamine (Spravato)
- IV/infusion ketamine (Racemic ketamine)
The types of ketamine interact differently with the brain, but both are effective treatment options. However, it can treat treatment-resistant depression and other psychological disorders, such as complex PTSD and anxiety. What type of ketamine you receive depends on your doctor's assessment of your needs and where you receive treatment.
How Does Ketamine Work?
Research is still being done to determine how ketamine precisely works. However, what is known is that it produces important and useful effects. There is evidence that it can work in different ways in the brain to relieve depression and other psychological disorders:
- Stimulates neural activity
- Increases neuroplasticity for new thought patterns
When the ketamine dose is administered, the experience can last around two hours, but its benefits last after treatment finishes. The experience can include feelings of unreality, euphoria, and distortions. Ketamine therapy for anxiety and other psychological disorders is done in safe clinical settings with medical supervision.
How Does Ketamine Work for Depression?
Ketamine for depression and other psychological disorders works differently than when it is used as an anesthetic. A lower dose is given, with the focus on the other effects ketamine produces. It depends if you are given the nasal spray or IV treatment, but both offer benefits for depression.
For example, studies have found that ketamine triggers glutamate production, which helps the brain produce new neural connections, which can be lifesaving for people with depression. It helps them break negative thought patterns and behaviors, open up to new perspectives, and become more receptive to therapy.
Ketamine likely increases glutamate production because it connects to NMDA receptors in the brain. This allows it to create more glutamate between neurons. Glutamate triggers connections in AMPA receptions, which help other neurons communicate more efficiently.
The result includes changes in mood and thought patterns. There are suggestions that ketamine works for depression in different ways, such as opening communication between other parts of the brain. It may also reduce inflammation signals, which can contribute to depression.
Ketamine for Anxiety
Ketamine for anxiety works in different ways. Depression and anxiety are often connected, so the changes to glutamate also help reduce anxiety symptoms.
Studies have found that ketamine can help with a variety of anxiety disorders, including:
- General Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
- Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
Often ketamine therapy for anxiety will be done alongside other treatment forms, such as therapy. This means you have sufficient reduction in anxiety symptoms to benefit from other treatments, such as therapy, which can help you get to the root cause of anxiety.
Ketamine opens you to different perspectives, which can help you reach new realizations. It can help you move forward with your recovery journey.
Ketamine for Complex PTSD
Ketamine for PTSD can also be beneficial. As with depression and anxiety, glutamate plays a role in stress response, traumatic memory formation, and other symptoms of PTSD.
Because ketamine targets glutamate, it can help the brain release trauma and ease symptoms of PTSD. Studies have found that PTSD severity reduces in patients who have ketamine therapy.
Benefits of Ketamine
There is a reason why ketamine has been used for so many years. It offers a variety of benefits, which have helped patients in many ways. Here are the top benefits of ketamine therapy for anxiety, depression, and other psychological disorders.
The benefits of ketamine are almost immediate. It can rapidly reduce symptoms of depression and other psychological disorders. You do not have to wait, which can speed up the recovery process and can be lifesaving for people who are experiencing suicidal ideation.
Patients are able to see changes that motivate them to continue with their treatment. This may involve other interventions, too, such as counseling. They do not have to wait for new medications to work to engage in their treatment plan.
Although ketamine has a rapid effect, several doses are usually required for long-lasting impact. Usually, the effects of one dose last for around a week.
Maintenance Doses Possible
Ketamine is a safe intervention under supervision, which means medical professionals can create treatment plans for IV ketamine. Patients can receive IV ketamine for a set period of time, such as weekly for twelve weeks. This enables them to focus on overcoming their psychological disorder.
Safe to Use Under Medical Supervision
Medical staff used ketamine during the Vietnam war because it is an anesthetic that does not slow breathing or heart rate. Patients need to use it under medical supervision because of the risks causal use presents. There are several side effects and the risk of addiction if people chase the euphoria of the experience.
However, under medical supervision, it is safe to use to treat psychological disorders. Usually, it is for people who have treatment-resistant psychological disorders. But ketamine therapy is becoming increasingly common in the mental health field.
Physical Health Benefits
Ketamine can help reduce pain, which is why medical professionals use it to treat neuropathic conditions and as an anesthetic. However, many people who experience psychological disorders also experience physical pain. Ketamine can relieve this burden and help patients who use opioids or other substances for pain relief.
Allows New Thought Processes
One of the biggest benefits of ketamine for PTSD, anxiety, and other psychological disorders is that it improves synapse growth. It rewires connections between neurons, so new thought processes are easier to access. It can be difficult to break thought patterns, which is why ketamine for anxiety and other disorders can be so beneficial.
Reduces Safety Risks
Ketamine can also reduce safety risks associated with mental health disorders. For example, it can reduce the severity of symptoms, such as:
- Suicidal ideation
- Self-harm thoughts
- Compulsive behaviors
- Substance abuse
Sometimes patients cannot wait for a traditional SSRI to work. Ketamine opens the gateway for more treatment possibilities that empower the patient while keeping them safe. It also provides peace of mind for loved ones who may be worrying about the severity of symptoms.
Take Advantage of Therapy
There are different types of therapy available for psychological disorders. Therapies include:
- Family therapy
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Psychodynamic therapy
- Interpersonal therapy
- Exposure therapy
The type of therapy you need depends on the psychological disorder you experience and your personal needs. However often the symptoms of psychological disorders make it difficult to engage in therapeutic interventions.
Ketamine therapy can help relieve the symptoms that act as a barrier to therapy. It can allow the patient to access therapy and attend. Or it can help them get more out of their therapy sessions.
Fewer Side Effects
Most mental health treatments involve side effects of some kind. However, the benefits of a treatment can outweigh the risks. However, most of the ketamine's possible side effects are not long-term.
These side effects can include:
- Nausea and vomiting
- High blood pressure
- Perceptual disturbances
Most side effects just last for the first IV ketamine infusion and end soon after. This is different from some other mental health treatments, which can include long-term side effects. However, more research is being done into frequent and long-term ketamine usage.
Research on ketamine therapy for anxiety, depression, and other psychological disorders is promising. This is why it is now being used as a mental health treatment option. And research continues to grow, making it possible for ketamine to be a more common mental health treatment.
Ketamine for Depression in Maryland
Ketamine offers many benefits as a mental health treatment. It can help people overcome psychological disorders and continue on their recovery journey. However, it is essential to pick a reputable provider who offers ketamine for anxiety and other psychological disorders.
Are you looking for ketamine for depression in Maryland? Gemini Health Elkridge Maryland offers ketamine for PTSD in Maryland, along with other conditions. Contact us today to learn more.