At Tranquility Ketamine Clinic, ketamine is given intravenously, using National Institute of Mental Health dosing protocols. These protocols vary depending upon whether you are being treated for mental health or chronic pain syndromes. Typically, mental health disorders begin with a treatment of 0.5 mg/kg infused intravenously over 40 minutes, followed by a 45-minute period of relaxation while the medication wears off. However, we understand that this NIH dosing protocol was decided upon arbitrarily, and that dosage adjustments, both up and down, may be necessary for maximum effect and comfort depending on the individual.
Treatments for chronic pain syndromes are longer in duration and may require a higher dosage. The initial sensations begin around five minutes after the start of the infusion, and last about 90 minutes for mental health treatments. The effects wear off rapidly after the infusion is stopped. You will experience an alteration of your perceptions, and you may feel “weird” for lack of a better term. Most patients find the experience intense, yet pleasurable, and report a sensation of “being in a dream,” of deep relaxation, or of floating on the surface of a calm ocean. Frank hallucinations are rare, though you may feel that you are briefly “out of your body.” This is not a common experience at typical dosages.
Each treatment experience may feel different, depending on your mood and what’s on your mind that day. Experienced meditators may find they are able to achieve a prolonged sense of inner stillness and peace that they have only briefly glimpsed during previous meditation sessions. Although anxiety reactions can occur, these are usually short-lived, and become less frequent with repeated treatments. More severe or prolonged anxiety reactions will be treated by administration of an anxiolytic medication, as needed. Nausea may rarely occur and can be treated with anti-nausea medications.
Interestingly, low-dose ketamine does not typically cause a sense of sedation or mental dulling, and many patients report that they are mentally quite sharp and are able to review and work through their thoughts and feelings clearly and calmly for the first time in their life. Although the intensity of the effects of ketamine wear off quickly, there may be some sense of imbalance and slowing of reaction times for a few hours, and we strongly advise you not to drive, or operate power machinery following your treatment. We insist you demonstrate you have a driver to take you home before we begin your infusion. You should not drink alcoholic beverages or use recreational drugs for 24 hours before and after your treatment.