Ketamine therapy is a relatively new treatment which involves the use of medical doses of ketamine alongside therapy sessions which are conducted by a licensed medical professional.
The consumption of ketamine during therapy sessions allows patients to access their subconscious and is considered to be an effective mental health treatment for people who have treatment-resistant mental health disorders.
Find out more about how ketamine therapy works and who can use it here.
What is Ketamine Therapy?
Ketamine therapy is a medical treatment approach that uses the medication ketamine to help individuals with various mental health conditions, especially those who have been resistant to other forms of treatment. It is also believed to help with addictions and behavioural problems, although this requires further research.
Ketamine therapy involves a small dose of ketamine which allows people to access their subconscious. During this phase, a therapist then treats the patient and helps them through their emotions and experiences.
Ketamine therapy can be administered in several ways, such as intravenously (IV), intramuscularly (IM), or through nasal sprays. All doses are kept low to ensure that patient safety is maintained and to keep the treatment effective.
How Ketamine Therapy Works
Ketamine assisted psychotherapy involves a medical dosage of ketamine alongside psychotherapy from a professional. Ketamine is typically administered through an IV (known as an intravenous ketamine infusion), or under the tongue.
Ketamine therapy has shown promise in the treatment of conditions like depression, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and chronic pain. However, it is essential to undergo this therapy under the supervision of a qualified medical professional in a controlled medical setting due to the potential for side effects and dissociative experiences associated with ketamine.
Patients should discuss the risks, benefits, and suitability of ketamine therapy with their healthcare provider before pursuing this treatment option.
What to Expect During a Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy Session
Patients who are undergoing ketamine-assisted psychotherapy will be prepared about what happens during ketamine treatment, as some people can have frightening or positive experiences.
Ketamine infusions are completed in the presence of a therapist and qualified doctors, who will note down any things discussed during the session. The next day, the patient will typically return to the clinic and revisit things found during the ketamine infusion session the day before.
Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy treatment programmes typically consist of 2 ketamine sessions a week a couple of weeks apart, and integration will make sense of everything that is happening – ketamine is a catalyst that allows better access to the subconscious which is why it is so beneficial to treating mental health.
Who is Ketamine Therapy for?
For a patient to be approved for KAP, a doctor will need evidence that two different types of prescription drugs or therapy haven’t worked and that the patient has treatment-resistant depression or mental health conditions.
Ketamine therapy may be a good treatment option for people who suffer from treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, OCD or PTSD and who have not achieved positive benefits from traditional methods such as CBT sessions or antidepressant medications.
A bad candidate may be a person who experiences less severe mental health problems that can be treated via other methods, as KAP is intensive and created for people with severe conditions.
People may be bad candidates if they have physical health problems that make ketamine infusions higher risk, such as unstable blood pressure or heart disease. Patients are screened carefully to ensure they are suitable candidates for KAP.
Ketamine is used as a catalyst for mental health treatment and therapy is the main form of treatment – it is the ketamine which makes therapy more effective. Guidelines for patients who can do KAP are psychologically minded, have no physical health problems such as unstable blood pressure or heart disease, and are not experiencing active psychosis.
Does Ketamine Therapy Work?
Ketamine therapy has shown promising results in the treatment of certain mental health conditions, but its effectiveness can vary depending on the individual and the specific condition being treated. Ketamine therapy could potentially work to treat the below conditions:
Ketamine therapy has demonstrated rapid and significant improvements in treatment-resistant depression. Some individuals experience relief from depressive symptoms within hours or days after a ketamine session. However, the duration of these effects can vary, and some patients may require ongoing maintenance sessions to sustain the benefits.
Depression is the most common mental health disorder to be treated using ketamine therapy.
Ketamine therapy has also shown potential in reducing symptoms of anxiety disorders, including generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It may also offer relief from acute anxiety and panic symptoms depending on the person.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
Ketamine therapy has been studied as a treatment option for PTSD. While some research suggests it can help alleviate PTSD symptoms, more studies are needed to establish its long-term efficacy as the treatment is still relatively new.
Ketamine has been used in chronic pain management, particularly in cases of neuropathic pain and complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). It can help reduce pain and improve function in some patients, but this is used most commonly in America and not yet within the UK.
It’s important to note that ketamine therapy is not a one-size-fits-all solution, and not everyone responds to it in the same way. Some individuals may experience only temporary relief, while others may find long-term benefits.
The appropriate use of ketamine therapy should be determined by a qualified healthcare provider who considers the individual’s medical history, the severity of their condition, and other treatment options.
If you are searching for a mental health treatment for yourself or a loved one, speak to your GP first. Mental health problems can have a detrimental effect on your life, so seeking help as soon as possible from a medical professional is the first step in the recovery process.Back to all posts