If you’re considering ketamine infusion therapy, you may have some questions about what the experience is like. Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic that’s used to relieve pain and induce anesthesia. In recent years, it’s gained popularity as a treatment for mental illness and chronic pain. In this article, we’ll explore what ketamine infusion therapy is, how it works, and what you can expect during your treatment.
Understanding Ketamine Infusion Therapy
What Is Ketamine?
Ketamine is a medication that was first approved by the FDA in 1970 as an anesthetic. It’s closely related to phencyclidine (PCP), a drug that’s been used as a recreational drug but has significant side effects. Ketamine works by blocking N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptors in the brain, which reduces sensations of pain and produces a sense of disconnection from the environment.
In recent years, studies have shown that ketamine may be effective in treating depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and other psychiatric conditions.
Despite its effectiveness in treating certain conditions, ketamine is still a controversial drug due to its potential for abuse. The dissociative effects of ketamine make it a popular drug for recreational use, and it’s often referred to as “Special K” on the street.
However, when used under medical supervision, ketamine can be a powerful tool for treating mental health conditions.
How Does Ketamine Infusion Therapy Work?
Ketamine infusion therapy involves the continuous infusion of a small dose of ketamine over a period of several hours. During the infusion, you’ll be closely monitored by a healthcare provider in a controlled environment. The ketamine infusion therapy is typically performed in a clinic or hospital setting, where you’ll be seated in a comfortable chair or recliner with access to a restroom.
The dose of ketamine used in infusion therapy is much lower than the dose used for anesthesia. The goal of the therapy is to produce a mild dissociative state that can help alleviate symptoms of depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. The dissociative effects of ketamine are thought to help “reset” the brain, allowing patients to break free from negative thought patterns and experience a sense of relief.
During the infusion, you may experience a sense of dissociation or detachment from your body or surroundings. Your perception of time may also be altered, and you may feel that time is passing more quickly or slowly than normal. Some people also report seeing vivid imagery or experiencing auditory hallucinations during the infusion.
After the infusion is complete, you’ll be monitored for a short period of time to ensure that you’re safe to leave the clinic or hospital. You’ll need to arrange for someone to drive you home, as the effects of ketamine can impair your ability to drive or operate machinery.
Conditions Treated With Ketamine Infusion Therapy
Ketamine infusion therapy has been shown to be effective in treating several conditions, including:
- Chronic pain
Research has shown that ketamine infusion therapy can produce rapid and long-lasting relief from symptoms of depression and anxiety. In some cases, patients may experience relief within hours of the first infusion. However, it’s important to understand that ketamine infusion therapy is still considered an off-label use of the drug, and more research is needed to fully understand its long-term effects.
Despite the need for more research, ketamine infusion therapy offers hope for individuals who have not found relief from traditional treatments for depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. If you’re interested in exploring ketamine infusion therapy as a treatment option, talk to your healthcare provider to determine if it’s right for you.
The Ketamine Infusion Experience
Preparing For Your First Session
If you’re interested in ketamine infusion therapy, your healthcare provider will likely conduct a thorough physical and psychological evaluation to determine whether you’re a good candidate for the treatment. You may also be asked to provide a list of any medications you’re currently taking, as well as any past medical conditions or surgeries.
Before your first session, it’s important to follow any instructions provided by your healthcare provider. This may include avoiding food or drink for several hours before the infusion or refraining from certain medications or supplements.
It’s also vital to mentally prepare yourself for the experience. Some people may feel anxious or apprehensive about trying a new treatment, especially one that involves altered perceptions. Consider talking to your healthcare provider about any concerns you may have and asking questions about what to expect.
What To Expect During The Infusion
During the infusion, you’ll be seated comfortably in a chair or recliner. You’ll be fitted with monitors to track your heart rate, breathing, and blood pressure, and you’ll be connected to an IV. The dosage of ketamine you receive will be carefully controlled based on your weight and other factors, and you’ll be monitored closely throughout the infusion.
It’s important to understand that the effects of the ketamine infusion can vary between individuals. Some people may feel a sense of euphoria or relaxation, while others may experience dissociation or altered perceptions. Your healthcare provider will be on hand to help you manage any uncomfortable sensations you may experience during the infusion.
The length of the infusion will depend on the dosage and your individual response to the treatment. Some infusions may last as little as 30 minutes, while others may take several hours.
Sensations & Perceptions During Treatment
During the infusion, you may experience a range of sensations and perceptions. Some people report feeling as though they’re floating or flying, while others describe a sense of disconnection from their body or environment. You may also see vivid imagery or experience auditory hallucinations.
It’s critical to understand that these sensations are typically temporary and will dissipate as the infusion wears off. Your healthcare provider can help you manage any discomfort or distress you may experience during the infusion. After the infusion, you may feel groggy or disoriented. It’s crucial to have someone drive you home and avoid operating heavy machinery or making important decisions for the rest of the day.
It’s also important to note that ketamine infusion therapy is typically not a one-time treatment. Your healthcare provider may recommend a series of infusions over several weeks or months to achieve the best results.
Potential Side Effects & Risks
Common Side Effects
Some common side effects of ketamine infusion therapy include:
- Changes in perception or sensory experiences
These side effects are typically temporary and will resolve on their own as the infusion wears off. Your healthcare provider will monitor you closely during the infusion and adjust the dose as needed to minimize these side effects.
Less Common But Serious Side Effects
In rare cases, ketamine infusion therapy can have more serious side effects that require immediate medical attention. These may include:
- Prolonged disorientation or confusion
- Respiratory depression
- Cardiovascular changes
- Allergic reactions
It’s important to note that the risk of these serious side effects is low, especially when ketamine is administered by a trained healthcare professional in a controlled setting.
Contraindications & Precautions
Before undergoing ketamine infusion therapy, your healthcare provider will conduct a thorough medical evaluation to determine if it’s safe and appropriate for you. There are some circumstances in which ketamine infusion therapy may not be recommended. These may include:
- Pregnancy or breastfeeding
- Active substance abuse or addiction
- Uncontrolled high blood pressure or heart disease
- History of seizures
- Liver or kidney disease
If you have any of these conditions, it’s important to discuss the risks and benefits of ketamine infusion therapy with your healthcare provider before starting treatment. In some cases, your provider may recommend alternative treatment options that are safer for you.
It’s also important to note that ketamine infusion therapy may interact with other medications you’re taking. Be sure to inform your healthcare provider of all medications, supplements, and herbs you’re currently taking to avoid any potential interactions.
The Benefits Of Ketamine Infusion Therapy
Rapid Relief From Symptoms
One of the primary benefits of ketamine infusion therapy is its ability to provide rapid relief from symptoms. Unlike traditional antidepressants, which can take several weeks or months to take effect, ketamine infusion therapy can produce positive effects within hours or days.
Research has shown that ketamine can rapidly reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideation. This rapid relief can be particularly beneficial for individuals who are experiencing severe symptoms and have not responded to other treatments.
Additionally, ketamine infusion therapy has been shown to improve symptoms of chronic pain, making it a promising treatment option for individuals with conditions such as fibromyalgia, neuropathy, and migraines.
Long-Term Effects On Mental Health
While ketamine infusion therapy is known for its rapid relief of symptoms, it may also have long-term effects on mental health. Studies have shown that ketamine may be able to repair damaged neural pathways in the brain, improving cognitive function and reducing symptoms of depression and anxiety over time.
Furthermore, ketamine has been shown to increase the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a protein that plays a key role in the growth and survival of neurons. This increase in BDNF levels may contribute to the long-term benefits of ketamine infusion therapy.
Improved Quality Of Life
For many individuals, ketamine infusion therapy can provide a significant improvement in quality of life. By reducing symptoms of depression, anxiety, and chronic pain, ketamine infusion therapy can enable individuals to engage more fully in their daily lives and enjoy activities and social interactions that were previously difficult or impossible.
Also, ketamine infusion therapy may reduce the need for other medications, such as opioids or benzodiazepines, which can have negative side effects and risks of addiction.
Overall, ketamine infusion therapy offers a promising new approach to treating mental health conditions and chronic pain. With its rapid relief of symptoms and potential for long-term improvements in mental health, ketamine infusion therapy may provide hope for individuals who have not found relief from other treatments.
Living with chronic mental health issues or debilitating pain is not only exhausting but also deeply isolating. Often, traditional treatments do not provide the relief that is so desperately needed. However, modern science has brought forth new and innovative treatments like ketamine infusion therapy. While it may not be the right choice for everyone, for many it’s proving to be a life-changing option, offering not only relief but also a newfound hope.
At Midwest Ketafusion®, we understand that every individual’s journey with mental health or chronic pain is unique, and so too should be their treatment approach. Our team is dedicated to providing personalized care, ensuring that your ketamine infusion therapy is tailored to your specific needs and circumstances.
Remember, the journey towards healing often begins with the first step. If you’ve been wrestling with depression, anxiety, PTSD, fibromyalgia, migraines, or other chronic pain conditions, and conventional treatments have not provided the relief you seek, it may be time to consider exploring the potential benefits of ketamine infusion therapy.
Isn’t it time you gave yourself permission to explore every possible path towards a more fulfilled and joyful life? Reach out to our friendly and understanding team at Midwest Ketafusion®, and let us guide you through this innovative approach to mental health and pain management. Together, we can chart a course towards a brighter future, one where chronic pain or mental health disorders do not dictate the quality of your life.