Clinic Happenings

What is Ketamine Therapy?

December 22, 2021
As the use of ketamine for mental health issues is a relatively new field, you are likely to find different definitions of “ketamine therapy” online. At Imagine, we define ketamine therapy as the usage of ketamine to combat various mental illnesses. This can be accomplished in a variety of ways:
  • Ketamine treatment involves administering ketamine via an IV (intravenous), IM (intramuscular), IN (intranasal), or SL (sublingual) route. Psychotherapy is performed outside of this treatment but is a vital component of integration and healing.
  • Ketamine-associated psychotherapy involves a psychotherapist working with a patient after treatment, often with some preparation work prior. The patient goes through treatment on their own while being monitored medically and psychotherapy is performed immediately following the ketamine treatment in the clinic or within 24 hours of the treatment. This appears to be when the brain is most pliable. Neuroplasticity is at its height.
    Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy, or KAP, involves a psychotherapist specially trained to work with a patient while they’re under the influence of low-dose ketamine. Ketamine acts as a lubricant to aid in the therapeutic process often allowing for a deeper dive into the psyche that would not be possible with therapy or ketamine alone.
In all cases, psychotherapists play an essential role in helping a client process what they experience while receiving ketamine. Psychotherapy or Talk Therapy can help with a variety of mental illnesses.

How do you start ketamine therapy?

First, we want to make sure you are a good candidate for receiving ketamine. A thorough medical and psychological is the first step. Occasionally, we may ask you to obtain bloodwork or other tests prior to initiating treatment. Induction ketamine therapy involves a number of treatments of low doses of ketamine done within a several week period. Traditionally, an induction series of six IV or IM treatments are given then clients are gradually “tapered” into a maintenance regimen. On average, clients return about every 4 weeks for maintenance boosters. The number of KAP sessions a client will need to achieve their mental health goals will vary but, in general, we believe that a minimum of three along with separate preparatory and integration sessions may be adequate.

Ketamine therapy side effects:

The most common side effects that can be expected immediately after any type of ketamine therapy include sleepiness, mild disorientation, dizziness, and nausea. After every treatment, clients are encouraged to relax in our Tranquility Room where they can journal, listen to relaxing music, meditate, and rehydrate before re-entering the outside world.

What can ketamine be used for?

The majority of data regarding ketamine’s effectiveness for mental illness involves major depressive disorder/treatment-resistant depression but ketamine may also be effective for other depressive and anxiety disorders including but not limited to:
  • Major depressive disorder
  • Dysthymia
  • Seasonal affective disorder
  • Postpartum depression
  • Bipolar depression
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Obsessive compulsive disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
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