May 7, 2024

How Psychedelic Therapy Can Help You Process Trauma

Psychedelic therapy is a type of holistic mental health treatment includes psychedelic medicines to induce an altered state of consciousness. Psychedelics have been used for spiritual, healing, or religious purposes for thousands of years, but their therapeutic potential wasn't explored in a clinical setting until the 1950s.

Ketamine therapy is a type of psychedelic therapy?

Yes, ketamine therapy is considered a form of psychedelic therapy. It is commonly used in clinical settings for its therapeutic potential, particularly in the treatment of mental health conditions such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and anxiety.

Since the 1970's, doctors have been using ketamine therapy as an off-label treatment for depression and anxiety disorders as well as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), bipolar disorder and alcoholism among other mental health challenges.

How can Ketamine therapy help process trauma?

Currently, the most common branch of psychedelic therapy used for healing trauma is ketamine therapy, which works by temporarily blocking the brain's ability to process sensory information. This process has the potential to allow those who have experienced trauma or are struggling with negative emotions associated with their past experiences to access their memories without feeling overwhelmed by them.

Ketamine therapy may also enhance a person's mood and improve mental function; which may help some people process trauma in ways that traditional therapy does not.

How does ketamine therapy work?

A condition marked by severe anxiety and stress, PTSD can develop after a person experiences a traumatic event. It's often characterized by flashbacks, nightmares and an exaggerated startle response--a reaction to loud noises or sudden movements that may seem out of place in everyday life.

It's estimated that 7-8% of Americans will experience PTSD at some point in their lives, making it one of the most common mental health disorders in America today. While there are treatments available for people who have been diagnosed with PTSD (including talk therapy), many people don't seek treatment because they don't know they have the disorder or feel too ashamed to talk about their experiences with others.

Ketamine therapy for PTSD has shown promise in helping individuals process trauma and alleviate related symptoms. Here are some ways in which ketamine therapy may assist in trauma processing:

  1. Dissociation and Perception Alteration: The dissociative experience can create a temporary shift in perception, allowing individuals to view traumatic memories from a different perspective. This altered state of consciousness can help reduce the emotional intensity associated with traumatic experiences, facilitating a more detached and objective examination of the trauma.
  2. Neural Plasticity and Neuroplasticity: Ketamine therapy has been found to promote neural plasticity, which refers to the brain's ability to reorganize and form new connections. Trauma can impact the brain's neural pathways, contributing to symptoms such as intrusive thoughts, anxiety, and depression. Ketamine's effects on neuroplasticity may help individuals reframe and integrate traumatic experiences, promoting healing and resilience.
  3. Enhanced Emotional Processing: Ketamine therapy can facilitate emotional processing by allowing individuals to access and process suppressed or difficult emotions related to trauma. It can potentially loosen emotional barriers and defenses, enabling individuals to confront and work through unresolved feelings associated with the traumatic event.
  4. Increased Insight and Perspective: Psychedelic effects can offer individuals a broader perspective on their traumatic experiences. It may help uncover underlying patterns, beliefs, or perceptions that contribute to the impact of trauma. This increased insight can support individuals in gaining a more comprehensive understanding of their trauma and finding new ways to cope and heal.
  5. Reduction of Trauma-related Symptoms: Ketamine therapy has shown efficacy in reducing symptoms commonly associated with trauma, such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). By addressing these symptoms, ketamine therapy can improve overall well-being and enhance the individual's capacity to engage in trauma processing and recovery.

How accessible is it? Where can I find ketamine therapy near me?

Our doctors specialize in ketamine therapy for veterans and can educate you on how ketamine therapy treatments work, the risks and benefits, and continued care. We have several different treatment options available:

Spravato (generic name: esketamine) is a nasal spray medication that was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2019. It's a variant of the drug ketamine, a powerful anesthetic that has been used medically for decades and is also abused recreationally in some contexts. Esketamine is used in conjunction with an oral antidepressant to treat adults with treatment-resistant depression (TRD), meaning they have not responded to other treatments. It is also used for adults with major depressive disorder who have suicidal thoughts or actions.

Ketamine therapy targets the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor in the brain, which plays a role in mood regulation.

Better U provides at-home ketamine therapy and in-office IV ketamine therapy treatments to help process trauma.

There are differences between Spravato (in-office and typically insurance covered) and ketamine IV or ketamine injection and ketamine troches (lozenges).

Ketamine therapy at-home lozenges offer several advantages over intravenous (IV) ketamine therapy in terms of convenience, cost, and ease of administration. Here are some reasons why oral ketamine therapy lozenges are considered easier, more convenient, and less expensive:

  1. Administration: Oral ketamine therapy involves the patient taking a lozenge that contains the prescribed dose of ketamine. This can be done at home or in an outpatient setting, eliminating the need for frequent visits to a healthcare facility. In contrast, IV ketamine therapy requires administration through an intravenous line, which necessitates a healthcare professional to administer the drug.
  2. Accessibility: The ease of administration with oral ketamine therapy makes it more accessible to patients. Patients can take the lozenges at their convenience, without the need for specialized medical equipment or personnel. This is particularly beneficial for individuals who have difficulty accessing healthcare facilities or have limited mobility.
  3. Cost: Oral ketamine therapy is generally less expensive than IV ketamine therapy. With IV therapy, patients incur costs associated with medical equipment, healthcare professional fees, and the need for an infusion center or hospital setting. In contrast, oral ketamine therapy involves the purchase of the lozenges, which tend to be more cost-effective in comparison.
  4. Reduced Monitoring: IV ketamine therapy requires continuous monitoring of the patient's vital signs and mental state throughout the infusion period. This monitoring necessitates the presence of healthcare professionals and additional resources. In contrast, oral ketamine therapy does not require the same level of monitoring, reducing the need for extensive medical supervision.
  5. Flexibility: Oral ketamine therapy offers more flexibility in terms of dosing and frequency. Patients can take the lozenges as prescribed by their healthcare provider, according to their specific treatment plan. This allows for individualized treatment and adjustment of the dosage to meet the patient's needs. In contrast, IV ketamine therapy often follows a standardized protocol and may require fixed treatment schedules.

While oral ketamine therapy lozenges provide convenience and cost benefits, it is important to note that the bioavailability is different. Ketamine IV's are nearly 99% absorbed, while sublingually is around 25% (which means that a patient must take more i.e IV 100MG is roughly 400MG for ketamine lozenge absorption).

We know that it can be difficult to process trauma and mental illness. We also know that there are many different treatments out there for these conditions, so it's important to educate yourself about what is right for you. It is important to remember that there is no one-size-fits-all solution and you should always talk with your doctor about what options might work best for you. If ketamine therapy sounds like something worth exploring, then we recommend starting by reading this article from our blog which explains what psychedelic therapy involves and how it works!

If you think ketamine therapy may be a good option for your journey, take our two minute assessment here. We offer ketamine therapy for anxiety and depression, among other psychiatric disorders, and one of our trained professionals will help you determine if this is the right next step in your journey.