Frequently Asked Questions about Ketamine therapy
What does Ketamine Treat?
There have been 100's of thousand Ketamine infusions & injections administered for treatment resistant depression (TRD), bipolar depression, anxiety, postpartum depression, OCD, addiction and PTSD over the past decade and many of the clinical trials have shown upwards of 70% of clients receive significant relief from their suffering within one or two injections or infusions.
Ketamine Injections have also been shown to treat:
The depressed phase of bipolar disorder
Anxiety and obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Feeling numb and disconnected
Our treatments will be tailored specifically to the uniqueness and severity of your depression and other symptoms in terms of frequency and dosing. Ketamine West can safely and effectively give therapeutic doses via Intramuscular Injections (IM). With a specific and tailored treatment plan that is unique to you, our goal is to offer you the best chance of success by listening to your story and needs and creating a powerful treatment plan that is safe, flexible, and rapidly relieves your suffering
How is ketamine different from traditional antidepressants?
A healthy functioning brain vs a depressed brain
Traditional antidepressants known as SSRIs like Prozac, Zoloft, Lexapro, Effexor, and Wellbutrin are believed to work by altering levels of neurotransmitters (chemical messengers) in your brain such as serotonin and dopamine. These neurotransmitters play a major role in shaping our moods on a daily basis. These traditional medications may work well for some but can take months of guessing and waiting and still won't work for about 36% of the population, who are then considered treatment resistant.
Treatment resistant depression (TRD) affects millions of people each year. Sadly, many of these people are still suffering with little to no relief and a deep feeling of hopelessness as they continue to struggle and isolate from family and friends.
With treatment resistant depression its likely we're targeting the wrong route to relieving one's suffering all the while their hope continues to shrink and their medication list and side effects continue to grow.
Ketamine's rapid antidepressant and anti suicide effects are unique and very different from traditional antidepressants in that it bypasses the traditional antidepressant route and works rapidly, within hours, on a super highway in your brain called the glutamate system. Researchers believe glutamate is the most abundant neurotransmitter ( super car) in your brain. glutamate is also responsible for creating new neuronal pathways and synapses (super highways) in your brain in the form of memory, emotions, and optimal brain functioning. Ketamine and glutamate can restore your broke down car (dopamine and serotonin) and repair your damaged freeways (neuronal synapses) in your brain in order to get you get you back on to the road of feeling happy, healthy, and excited about the direction of your life.
How many Injections will I need?
Much of the research done over the past two decades has shown that intravenous (IV) ketamine and Intramuscular ketamine (IM) at low to moderate doses has been shown to have rapid and remarkable benefits on about 70% of those suffering from severe depression or treatment resistant depression (TRD). There's no doubt that the benefits of ketamine are remarkable and very real when it comes to depression.
For our mood disorder clients (depression, bipolar, anxiety, PTSD Etc.), and during the acute phase of your symptoms, you're treatment plan will include 6 office visits with 2 injection per visit for a total of approximately 12 tailored IM injections over the course of 6-8 weeks. After meeting with the specialist and reviewing your unique case, we will establish a series of injections at your calculated ketamine target dosing with the goal of slowly increasing your dose with every injection to maximize your relief of symptoms. By giving intramuscular injections (IM) with our unique dosing protocol and schedule, we can safely administer ketamine with one goal of safely and effectively relieving your suffering
Some clients can see improvement the day after their first Injection but some may not see benefits until after their 2nd or 3rd Injection depending on the severity of their symptoms. On the first Injection, we want to get your body and mind used to ketamine by giving you a low to moderate dose. This will allow us to see how you respond and tolerate ketamine injections. However, our goal will be to safely increase your dose with every injection until you experience relief or remission of your suffering or we hit your maximum pre calculated target dose. This unique dosing protocol will be optimized to your response to the series of ketamine injections and give us the best chance of relieving your suffering and ending your struggle with depression, anxiety, and other negative symptoms
If ketamine does improve your mood, outlook, and overall functionality, we strongly suggest you complete your series of injections to maximize ketamines ability to create new brain synapses and pathways that are healthier than the old pathways. By completing your series of injections you will have a much higher chance of repairing synapses and creating new neuronal pathways with a primary goal of remission as that the series is created with this goal in mind.
It's important for you to understand that the greatest benefits of ketamine often occur at low to moderate dosing. For some people, these doses can come with some very short term discomforts including dissociation, anxiety, fear, worry, nausea, a short spike in blood pressure, or a sense of unease that only lasts about 10-15 minutes. On the other hand, others may feel more relaxed with a sense of wellbeing and a feeling of being more connected to self and others. It's impossible to predict how you will respond to ketamine until you actually experience it.
Regardless of a good or bad ketamine experiences with each injection, you will most likely still obtain the full benefits of ketamine. Regardless of your experience, we will be there to help and guide you through this and offer support or calming medications when needed. The peak of ketamine's effects occur about 10 to15 minutes after your injection. The peak is when you get the full benefits of ketamine and there is a strong correlation with those that do have an altered state of mind and dissociative experience with receiving greater relief and even remission from their symptoms. The peak is when new neuronal pathways can be created.
~The Peak is when you can start to feel more open and connected to yourself and others ~
What can I expect before, during, and after my first ketamine injections?
Are there any side effects during or after my injections?
you may experience some nausea during your course of injection. If you experience nausea, the specialist can give you some anti-nausea medication via by mouth or injection. Or if you're prone to nausea we can give you anti-nausea medication prior to your treatment to help prevent it. Also, if you're having trouble orienting yourself a specialist or loved one will be there to help guide you through this process. Any sides effects are usually gone within a few hours after completing the injections and completely gone by the following day. There are no known longterm side effects of ketamine injection therapy when it is administered by a responsible and knowledgable clinician in a medical setting.
What can I expect after my series of injections?
Will my current medications interfere with my ketamine injections?
Is there a licensed medical professional availabale during my treatment?
Yes, there is a fully licensed specialist in psychiatry, who has had specialty training in anesthesia and ketamine. Our team will be monitoring you throughout your injections to ensure your safety and assess your response to ketamine treatment. Our provider has over 10 years of specialty training in the medical field, psychiatry and anesthesia. With his knowledge, he understands how to relieve suffering in a safe and efficient manner while ensuring your safety and treatment goals are the highest priority.
Is Ketamine considered Safe?
Are there different methods of receiving ketamine beyond IM or IV?
There are quite a few different ways to receive ketamine including orally, intramuscularly, sublingually, and intravenously. The response and overall effectiveness of the variety of routes are very different so please ask your specialist about this.
Do I need to bring someone with me to my ketamine treatments?
It is not necessary to have someone stay with you during your injection series. However, someone must bring you home! You may NOT drive a car, operate any motor vehicles including heavy equipment, sign any contracts or partake in any other risky activities until at least 12 hours after your last injection as that mental function and reflexes may be impaired. Another adult will need to drive you home and must be present prior to your discharge from the clinic to sign you out.
Can I eat or drink prior to my appointment?
I dont have a psychiatrist, is that a problem?
You do not need a referral from a psychiatrist, therapist, or PCP as that we have a licensed psychiatric provider in the treatment center, who can assess your need for ketamine treatment. However, your current prescriber will still be fully responsible for your medications and any changes you make. It is best to ensure you have someone to work with you and your mental health moving forward for the best treatment outcomes and a successful treatment plan that involves discussing your experience with someone you trust like a licensed therapist. Ketamine can significantly enhance one's feeling of openness and connection to self and others. Thus, having someone to share and discuss this experience with can be cruical to your recovery. Thus, we strongly suggest having an established therapist prior to engaging in ketamine treatment. Pleas do not make any durastic medication changes without first consulting your current prescriber as that they will still be responsible for your medications and any changes you make to your medications.
What is dissociation and how is it significant to my relief or remission?
Dissociation is the sense of being detached from yourself or your body. This is often described as a gentle floating or dream like quality as if you're daydreaming and very relaxed. Metaphorically, you may feel like you're floating in the clouds or drifting through the universe but at the same time you will know you're sitting relaxed in a recliner. If a clinician speaks to you, you will easily be able to respond and know where you're at. Generally, dissociation is not an enoyable or frightening experience but can enhance your sense of well-being while feeling more connected to yourself and others during or immediately after the experience. Often, dissociation is a pleasant to neutral experience.