What is Ketamine?
Ketamine was developed over 50 years ago. It has primarily been used as anesthesia for surgery in children, adults, and animals. It recently has been discovered that ketamine is highly effective in treating depression, anxiety, pain disorders, and more.
Depression, anxiety, pain, and other forms of stress and mental illness damage the communication system between the areas of the brain responsible for memory, learning, and higher-order thinking. Ketamine repairs the damage in these communication systems – within mere hours.
Ketamine injections are effective for 70-75% of individuals.
No. No physician referral is required for treatment.
Ketamine injections are effective treatments for severe depression, bipolar depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), pain syndromes and addiction.
For five hours prior to your ketamine injection, please avoid the following: Avoid heavy meals. Clear liquids are best. Avoid alcohol, drugs and other narcotics. These substances are extremely dangerous in combination with ketamine injections. If you believe you have a problem with drug or alcohol abuse, please contact us or your mental health practitioner.
The side effects of your ketamine injection generally wear off after two hours. However, we ask that you please refrain from driving or operating heavy machinery for 24-hours after treatment.
Ketamine injection therapy is not recommended for individuals diagnosed with or suffering from any of the following disorders: epilepsy, seizures, schizophrenia, or other types of psychosis. If you have been diagnosed with any other severe medical problem (i.e. high blood pressure, cardiac or pulmonary issues, etc.) please work with your primary care physician to stabilize these conditions prior to beginning your ketamine injections. In some circumstances, depending on your medical history, we may require written clearance from your primary care physician prior to beginning treatment. Adverse drug interactions have been recorded with aminophylline, a brochodilator used to treat asthma and other lung diseases. If you are on other prescription or over-the-counter medications, please talk to us about potential contraindications.
Prior to your first treatment, we will ask you to rank various aspects of your depression. We will then ask you to rank those same aspects 24-hours after your injection. This will help us determine how effective the treatment was. It is possible to notice positive effects as soon as 40 minutes after your injection, or as long as 24 hours later. Most effects, however, typically start 2-4 hours post-treatment. You won’t wake up suddenly feeling perfectly overjoyed and boisterous, but rather more hopeful and less sad, with decreased thoughts of suicide, increased calmness, and more willingness to engage with people. Further improvements are often seen over the course of treatment.
A single injection typically lasts anywhere from 2-14 days. A series of six injections can last anywhere from weeks to months, and often a single booster injection taken as the effects are wearing off can restore your brain’s response. For those who have not suffered from long-standing chronic depression, the effects of your ketamine infusion may last much longer.
Talk therapy can be an ideal way to “lock in” the effects of your ketamine injections, as your brain is in a unique position where it is open to changing neuropathways. People should continue working with their outpatient psychiatrist or primary care physician, and are highly encouraged to either begin or continue speaking with a qualified therapist. Healing Solutions is happy to refer you to our network of trusted local therapists.
Eating well, exercising, engaging in talk therapy, finding social support and staying engaged with a balanced life are generally recommended in tandem with other treatments for depression. Of course, those things are all easier said than done; depressive symptoms oftentimes prevent individuals from following these suggestions. Your ketamine injections will enable you to act on these important activities. Ketamine changes the communication pathways in your brain, allowing you to learn more easily and make new connections. Those of our patients who capitalize on this unique window of time and pursue healthier diets, exercise regimens and social habits tend to experience the most positive results.
Antidepressants take anywhere from weeks to months to have any effect. There are many to choose from, and yet no reliable way to know whether a certain medication will be effective and/or tolerated. A patient may wait several weeks just to find that the medicine does not work. Common side effects of antidepressants include weight gain, sexual dysfunction, gastrointestinal disturbances, sleep disturbance, fatigue, emotional blunting, and even diabetes. While not everyone responds positively to ketamine, you will know almost immediately whether or not the treatments are effective for you, saving you time and money in the long run. Side effects have only been observed during the physical injection, with no side effects being observed or reported in between treatments.
There are very few medicines that can negatively impact the effectiveness of your ketamine infusions. Benzodiazepines, such as Xanax, Ativan, Valium, or Klonopin, may interfere with your brain’s response, and amphetamine-based stimulants, such as Adderall or Ritalin, should not be taken on the day of treatment.
Ketamine does not meet criteria for being physically addictive, though tolerance to its effects may occur with prolonged exposure. If abused, it may pose the risk of being a psychologically addictive substance.
Each ketamine injection/treatment costs $400 if in the local area. Health insurance does not cover this fee.