Anxiety, Depression, PTSD

Benefits Of Ketamine For Anxiety, Depression, and PTSD

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:

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:

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. 


Immediate Effect

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
  • Isolation
  • Paranoia 
  • 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:

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 
  • Dissociation 
  • 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 Support

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. 

Read More
Therapy Services

Therapy Goals for Anxiety and Depression

Anxiety and depression often go hand-in-hand, but they can also be experienced separately. Going to therapy is usually one of the best forms of treatment for both conditions, with cognitive behavioral therapy being the most popular type of therapy. Research has shown CBT to be effective in treating multiple mental health conditions, such as panic disorder, depression, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, phobias, etc. 


Therapy Goals for Anxiety and Depression 

Anxiety and depression often go hand-in-hand, but they can also be experienced separately. Going to therapy is usually one of the best forms of treatment for both conditions, with cognitive behavioral therapy being the most popular type of therapy. Research has shown CBT to be effective in treating multiple mental health conditions, such as panic disorder, depression, generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, phobias, etc. In therapy you and your therapist will set attainable goals for your progress, and you will spend your sessions learning techniques to help you achieve these goals.  


Anxiety Disorders Treated by Therapy 

Anxiety is a complicated mental health condition that covers a broad set of symptoms. In general, anxiety itself is the body’s response to stress and fear. It is the catalyst for the human body’s fight-or-flight response. A small amount of anxiety is normal, but for some they can experience extreme bouts of anxiety for a continuous amount of time. Individuals suffering from extreme anxiety related symptoms are more likely to be suffering from an anxiety disorder. Generalized anxiety disorder is a common anxiety disorder and with this disorder, people can feel extreme levels of anxiety in a number of situations, like work, school, social outings, etc. It is termed ‘generalized’ because it does not have to be anything specific that triggers symptoms. Generalized anxiety disorder is not the only condition in terms of anxiety that people can have and there is a wide range of disorders that falls under this category. Some of the different anxiety disorders include: 
 

  • Panic Disorder: Anyone struggling with panic disorder deals with repeated panic attacks that can become very intense very quickly. When someone is having a panic attack, they can literally feel like they are dying.    
  • Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia): Social anxiety causes a fear of social situations because people may believe that the way they behave will be viewed negatively. Performance anxiety also falls under social phobia and people will be afraid of doing things like giving speeches.  
  • Specific Phobia: This is a disorder where a person has a fear of a specific object or situation. People can have fears of just about anything, such as spiders, heights, clowns, and much more. These fears are typically exaggerated in their mind, as there is no actual danger. 
  • Agoraphobia: Those with agoraphobia have a major fear of places or situations where they might feel trapped. It can be a very debilitating condition, as many people become so anxious that they cannot leave their homes.  

The classification of anxiety disorders matters in relation to therapy. How your therapist goes about designing a treatment plan for you and setting goals for anxiety therapy will be different based on what disorder you have. Although there are many forms of therapy to treat anxiety, cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure therapy are typically the most effect approaches 


What is a Treatment Plan 

For a therapist or counselor to provide effective coping skills when managing anxiety symptoms, they will develop a uniquely tailored treatment plan.  Treatment plans are a good way to track progress and ensure that clients are receiving the appropriate care. When a therapist creates a client’s treatment plan they will include the goals that you have both discussed and agreed on. Having concrete goals set out at the beginning of your therapy is an important way to help you overcome your mental health conditions and get the most out of your treatment. They give you the chance to actively engage with what you are taught in therapy. Whether you are seeking treatment for anxiety or depression or both, a solid treatment plan will have set goals, measurable objectives, and a reasonable timeline for your progress. The treatment plan will also be tailored to your specific needs and what you are hoping to get out of therapy.  


General Structure of Goals 

A popular approach for patient goal setting is SMART goals. The SMART approach is frequently utilized in cognitive behavioral therapy .The SMART approach incorporates a set of 5 criteria to develop effective goal setting. SMART stands for: 

 

  • Specific: Clearly defined objectives that include actions you will need to take or skills you need to learn to be able to hit your goals. By setting a goal that is specific, rather than vague, and incorporating how you will accomplish it will make it more attainable. Also keep in mind that it is okay to be flexible when you need to be (ex. Having to change the time of day you actively work on your goal) and give yourself grace to make sure you can meet your goals.  
  • Measurable: Goals should be quantifiable and measurable so you know how far you’ve come. This includes the standards that will be used to measure your progress towards those goals. Being able to clearly see your progress will help keep you motivated to meet your goals and also give you an idea of whether a goal and your actions are actually working to improve the symptoms of your mental health condition.  
  • Achievable: You need to set goals that challenge you to grow. They should also be realistic for you to meet in a certain time frame, so that when you meet these goals you see that you are fully capable of achieving things for yourself and grow your confidence levels. If you set unrealistic goals and can’t meet them then this can cause you to give up entirely and possibly even set you back in your treatment. 
  • Relevant: Goals should directly relate to the mental health conditions and symptoms you are experiencing. They should also be inspiring to you specifically to keep you motivated to continue trying. If you're uninterested in that goal then you are less likely to stick with it and might give up when obstacles present themselves, as they naturally do. This also means that the goal should have significance to you and not to your therapist. 
  • Time-Bound: Having a clear time-line for you to meet your goals will help you stay on track and not want to give up as easily. Being able to conceptualize a time frame will also help you to prioritize your goals and work them into a potentially busy lifestyle. You can set either long-term or short-term goals, as long as there is a tangible deadline in place. 

Individuals can also take the concept and create SMART goals on their own to change any lifestyle behaviors they wish, which may lead to healthier and happier lives.  


Therapy Goals for Anxiety 

As stated above, the specific goals that you have will depend on the type of anxiety you experience and will be established between you and your therapist. Some general example goals for anxiety could be: 
 

-A client wants to be less isolated and will initiate at least one social contact per week for the month. 

-A client wants to better manage anxiety during the week and will reduce panic attacks from the current 7 times a week to 4 times or fewer in the next three months and will track the number of panic attacks they have in this time period. 

-Client wants to correct distorted, spiraling thoughts that trigger anxiety and will practice challenging those thoughts with realistic thoughts and breathing techniques when they occur over the next two weeks and will journal about their thoughts.   

Therapy Goals for Depression 

Depression treatment goals can address a range of symptoms. If you do not know what goals you want to set then your therapist can help you decide what is important to work on for you.


Some general example goals for depression could be: 

-Client wants to have less negative thoughts about themselves and will practice positive self-talk when negative thoughts start to encroach for the next two months and will complete a scored questionnaire to determine if negative thoughts decrease. 

-Client has trouble with sleeping and will keep a sleep journal over the next two weeks to identify any unhealthy habits that should be changed. 

-Client wants to be more active in order to boost their mood and will engage in at least one physical activity, such as going for a walk, three times a week for the next three weeks and will track how many times they complete an activity. 

 

Need Help for Anxiety and Depression? 

If you are looking for therapy services for mental health concerns, or if you have any questions regarding our services, call Gemini Health today! Our highly skilled mental health professionals are experienced in treating various mental and behavioral health concerns. They offer both individual and group therapy. Plus, there are no wait times to join groups. Call (301) 363-1063 and speak to our staff to schedule your appointment today!  

Read More
Depression

LGBTQ+ and Depression

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Questioning individuals (LGBTQ+) span across  several diverse communities. While this may be a large community of individuals, the LGBTQ+ community has been routinely, and unfairly marginalized in society. While societal attitudes have grown and improved, this marginalized group still experiences depression at a higher rate than the heterosexual population due to still existing negative attitudes. Depression affects millions of people, but the LGBTQ+ community experiences depression (and depression symptoms) at a disproportionate rate. Misplaced, and antiquated cultural stigmas can make non-heterosexual individuals targets of bullying, abuse, and assault because of their sexual and gender expression. 

Hostile environments can cause several challenges for many LGBTQ+ youth and adults, increasing the chances for an individual to experience depression and anxiety. With this in mind, it is important to create systems of support and develop coping methods. For some LGBTQ+ individuals, their depression may be rooted from trauma experienced due to their orientation. The victimization they experienced as youths can establish itself as treatment resistant depression. And this is how TMS can help. 

TMS or transcranial magnetic stimulation is an ideal treatment method for LGBTQ+ individuals who suffer from lingering and severe depression. When anyone experiences persistent depression, the body becomes accustomed to receiving a constant release of anxiety and depression signals from the brain. TMS stimulates the areas of the brain that have been inactive, and thus unable to release the serotonin that can combat the depression signals. It is absolutely critical to note that TMS is NOT ECT (electroconvulsive therapy). Establishing this distinction is important because of the fraught history of ECT being used to “treat homosexuality.” Shock therapy was cruelly used on LGBTQ individuals as a means to “cure them.” While society has grown and the DSM has been updated, this collective memory still exists in the community. The electromagnetic stimulation that TMS provides is to provide relief from treatment resistant depression. TMS can begin alleviating the heavy veil of depression and anxiety, helping patients begin living full lives.

Read More