depiction of burnout syndrome

Burnout Syndrome: Fast And Effective Treatment with Ketamine Infusion Therapy

According to the WHO, burnout syndrome is a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when one feels overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands. As the stress continues, one begins to lose the interest and motivation that led to taking on a particular role in the first place. Estimates suggest anywhere between 4 and 7 percent of the working public can experience burnout syndrome, while workers in certain fields, such as healthcare, tend to experience burnout at much higher rates.

Burnout syndrome shares many features with PTSD, differing mainly in the degree of symptom severity. Both syndromes are maladaptive responses to a traumatic event or extreme stressor. Both are associated with feelings of fear, helplessness, or horror toward the event or stressor. Nightmares and sleep disturbances involving trauma or stressor are common symptoms. Also, patients with PTSD and burnout suffer from increased frequency of depressive symptoms, withdrawal, mood swings, and irritability. Avoidance of any situations that recall the trauma or stressor is a hallmark of PTSD and can lead to problems with work, relationships, and social activities. Substance abuse is a frequent complication as the sufferer attempts to numb the mental anguish caused by these conditions. 

Unfortunately, traditional burnout treatment centers around counseling that has variable efficacy and may take a long time to become effective. Given the painful symptoms of burnout and the risk to professional and social relationships it causes, a more rapid and effective treatment strategy is needed. This improvement is particularly robust and long-lasting when combined with CBT.

According to a recent study, “Stressful experiences cause a reduction or retraction of spines and synapses. As a result, the brain is less able to control or regulate the emotional state,”. However, when ketamine is administered, there is an almost immediate increase in the creation of critical spine and synaptic proteins. 

In his presentation at the 2021 American Psychiatric Association Virtual Meeting, Richard C. Shelton, MD, the Charles B. Ireland Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Neurobiology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the Director of the UAB Depression and Suicide Center, discussed the functions and concerns of ketamine.“When you add ketamine to the system, you produce a rapid return and restoration of those spines and synapses. We see an effect within 24 hours,” Shelton continued. “Ketamine has the ability to restore the regulatory control to the brain and helps to theoretically normalize mood.”

While ketamine is not FDA-approved to treat burnout syndrome or PTSD, several clinics worldwide have begun using subanesthetic ketamine infusions successfully to treat and improve the symptoms of burnout rapidly. If you or someone you know is currently suffering from burnout syndrome or PTSD, contact us by clicking here or calling our clinic at (505) 639-4973


healthcare workers

Healthcare Workers and Mental Health During a Pandemic

It’s been nearly two years since the COVID-19 outbreak was categorized officially as a pandemic. Hospitals were overwhelmed in many parts of the US by COVID cases due to lack of space, not enough ventilators, and not enough PPE for hospital workers or anyone else in the healthcare field that might be exposed to patients suffering from the virus. In addition, protocols for those in the health field changed almost daily to keep everyone safe while the nation’s leaders figured out the next steps in real-time. The toll this has taken on our healthcare workers, and mental health has yet to be fully realized.

Healthcare Workers and Mental Health Before the Pandemic

The mental health needs of our frontline healthcare workers have been gaining attention in recent years. Being exposed to multiple stress factors within their work naturally takes a toll. According to Frontiers in Public Health, heavy workloads, long shifts, a fast-paced environment, lack of physical safety, and more contribute to the problem. Healthcare workers will often push through long, stressful shifts for long periods with little to no recovery time. These factors are putting them at risk for burnout. What is burnout? Defined as an occupational phenomenon in ICD-11: “Burnout is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by three dimensions: (1) feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion; (2) increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and (3) reduced professional efficacy. Burnout refers specifically to phenomena in the occupational context and should not be applied to describe experiences in other areas of life” According to Mental Health America, 76% of healthcare workers have burnout due to the pandemic.

Burnout Isn’t the Only Problem

Healthcare workers are also reporting symptoms of anxiety, depression, PTSD, and even suicidal ideation. The KFF and Washington Post surveyed 1327 healthcare workers regarding pandemic-related stress, and nearly half of the respondents reported problems sleeping; 31% reported frequent headaches or stomach aches. In addition, 16% said they had increased their drug or alcohol use, and about half say they have experienced at least one of these issues.

What can be done?

When experiencing burnout, anxiety, depression, or any other mental health issue, the key is to reach out for help. In addition to modifying behaviors, such as getting enough sleep, eating healthy meals, practicing mindfulness techniques such as breathing exercises and meditation, accessing mental health resources should be at the top of the list. As a Ketamine Infusion Clinic, we treat a large number of healthcare workers with our groundbreaking treatments. These infusions can provide almost immediate relief for the conditions listed above.

How Does Ketamine Work?

Regarding depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and chronic anxiety; these mental health disorders are all thought to be due to the destructive effect of continual stress on the brain, leading to neuronal damage and the creation of maladaptive neural activity and abnormal thought patterns indicative of these disorders.

Research suggests that one of ketamine’s significant actions is as an N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist; that is, it blocks activation of the NMDA receptor. This action leads to increased glutamate release, which is involved in neuronal plasticity and synaptic growth and repair. Through complex pathways, these effects lead to the release of Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a substance responsible for the maintenance of healthy neurons and their connections, known as synapses.

Increased BDNF has been shown to repair and regrowth of damaged synapses and their neuronal connections caused by chronic stress in animal models. Likewise, in humans, ketamine is thought to create new neuronal circuits and repair the healthy neuronal connections that existed in the brain before the patient suffered from depression, PTSD, OCD, or chronic anxiety.

We offer 10% off our services for all healthcare workers. If you are interested in exploring Ketamine Infusion Therapy to treat Burnout, anxiety, depression, or suicidal ideation, call our clinic at 505-639-4973 or click here.