Intro to Ketamine Therapy
Understanding Your Ketamine Treatment
The World Health Organization (WHO) considers ketamine a "core" medicine on their Essential Drugs List, a list of minimum medical needs for a basic healthcare system. At high doses, it was first FDA approved in 1970 as a dissociative anesthetic. In 2019, a similar compound, Esketamine was FDA approved for depression. Recently, ketamine has been used off label for anxiety, mood, trauma, pain, and addiction. Although not yet FDA indicated for the reasons, there is growing clinical evidence supporting the wide ranging possibilities of ketamine and psychotherapy. Here are some research articles on the topic of ketamine:
Ketamine is thought to increase the ability of the brain to form and reorganize neural connections, which we call neuroplasticity. Our brain has neural pathways that constantly change. Often, due to acute stress, past trauma, fixed beliefs and rigid routines, our brain gets stuck in the same neural pathways. With ketamine, we are improving the flexibility of the mind so our thoughts and behaviors can improve or change with more ease.The ketamine experience can relax our daily concerns and rigid thought processes, while still being consciously aware. People often describe a feeling of "letting go," which can promote a more positive outlook on life. Self-reflection with decreased negative emotional anchors can accelerate psychological and spiritual growth.
At lower doses, the meditative effects of the medication may induce mild relaxation, increased perceived clarity, and mild altered states. At higher doses, the dissociative and sensory effects of ketamine, auditory processing, visuals, etc. These side effects are not intended and the literature shows it does not correlate with efficacy, meaning you don’t have to reach dissociation for the medication to help you.
The dissociative and sensory effects of ketamine may include distorted visualization of colors, feeling suspended in space or floating, experiencing out-of-body sensations, distortion of time, and changes in visual, tactile and auditory processing.These effects typically start 10 to 15 minutes after ketamine dosing. The peak effects typically last 30 to 40 minutes, and then slowly diminish for the next hour. Some alterations in sensory perception, speech, and motor ability may continue for several hours.
Ketamine is an NMDA receptor antagonist and an AMPA receptor stimulator. AMPA stimulation results in BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor). BDNF stimulates the formation of new receptors and synapses (which are vital connections between neurons). Ketamine appears to spark growth of neural connections diminished by chronic stress. Research suggests that a deficiency in these connections is associated with major depressive disorder and other mood disorders, along with difficulties with sleep, overstimulation, and focus.
A major component of ketamine treatment is enhancing the process with therapeutic exploration, lifestyle modifications, and spiritual alignment. While the brain is in a heightened state of neuroplasticity, it is easier to incorporate more empowering and healthier perspectives and habits. At whatever pace you're comfortable with, we encourage you to participate in our self-guided therapy program. For best results, we recommend also working with a psychotherapist to maximize the benefits of the medicine. We can connect you to therapists that our experienced with psychedelic medicine so you can decide which one would best suit your needs, goals, and conditions.
If you do not have a therapist and are looking for one, please ask your Care Coordinator or Clinician for the referral information.
The Better U Psychedelic Integration Guides are not licensed therapists.
They are a supporting force that, in tandem with our clinical team, help contribute to remarkable outcomes.