Brain image of ketamine infusion

The Ketamine Infusion Experience

Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic with various mechanisms of action and binds to multiple receptors in the brain. Consequently, it is difficult to pin down the precise mode of action, and it appears that there are various mechanisms through which Ketamine exerts its action on the brain. Ketamine Infusion Therapy is used to treat depression, PTSD, OCD, chronic anxiety, and chronic pain. One question that gets asked often is what does it feel like during and after the treatment?

 

Just like any drug therapy, ketamine infusion therapy can be different for everyone, and experiences may be different from one infusion to the other  In our clinic, the infusion itself is done intravenously, typically over 45 minutes, followed by a 45-60-minute period of rest while the effect of the medication wears off. The dosage and time vary depending on the individual and the disorder being treated.

 

How Will I feel During treatment?

The initial sensations begin about 5 minutes into the treatment and can last about 90 minutes. These effects wear off quickly after the infusion is stopped. Some describe the sensation of being in a dream or of being deeply relaxed. Others report an altering of perception and feeling a bit “out of their body.”  Avid meditators find their ability to achieve a prolonged sense of stillness and peace is heightened beyond anything they have experienced during a regular mediation session. Overall, patients find the experience to be intense yet pleasurable. Although the benefit from Ketamine does not require dissociation, many providers, including ourselves, believe the dissociative state is an essential and desirable state for profound psychological and spiritual growth and feel it to be a critical factor in our patient’s healing journey.

 

Will I Feel Sleepy or Sedated?

Low-dose Ketamine does not typically cause a sense of sedation, and many patients report they are pretty sharp mentally and can work through their thoughts and feelings clearly and calmly for the first time in their life. While the intensity of the effects wears off quickly, we always caution there may be some feeling of imbalance and delayed reaction time for a few hours, and we advise you not to drive or operate heavy machinery following your treatment. We require that you have someone to drive you home before we begin the infusion and ask that you abstain from alcohol or recreational drugs for at least 24 hours before and after treatment.

 

How Quickly Does It Take Effect?

For some patients, temporary relief of symptoms can occur within hours of the first infusion. However, it is important to note; this relief is typically short-lived. After several infusions over two-to-three weeks, this lifting of the depressive or anxious symptoms can be complete or markedly improved. However, it may last several weeks or months before beginning to fade. In addition, single-dose “booster” treatments at a period of two weeks to a few months after the initial induction infusions have been shown to prolong the antidepressant effect of the medication in many patients.

 

If you or someone you know suffers from Major Depressive Disorder, PTSD, OCD, anxiety, or chronic pain and you would like to learn more, call us at 505-639-4973 or click here to schedule an appointment.

free from chronic pain

Treating Chronic Pain Without Opioids

Chronic pain is defined as the experience of daily pain for over 12 weeks. What is shocking is that according to the statistics, chronic pain affects between 50-100 million adults in the U. S. yearly and over 1.5 billion people worldwide. In addition, chronic pain is the leading cause of long-term disability in the U. S. today. Traditionally, patients with chronic pain are treated with opioid analgesics.

Opioids Aren’t the Answer

Initially, opioids provide pain relief for most patients. Unfortunately, these effects are short-lived. Over a relatively short period of time, the neurons involved respond by the overexpression of the opiate receptors, leading to decreased responsiveness and effectiveness to these medications. As a result of the reduced efficacy, larger doses administered more frequently are needed. Too often, patients develop medication tolerance, dependence, and addiction.

 

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, approximately 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them. In 2019, nearly 50,000 people in the United States died from opioid-involved overdoses. Statistics like these are glaring evidence of a severe national crisis affecting public health and socio-economic welfare.

Ketamine Infusion Therapy: An Alternative Treatment

Ketamine has been popular for surgical use for its anesthetic properties since the 1960s. Over the last several years, Ketamine Infusions have been used to treat depression, chronic pain, and a number of other mood disorders. The administration of intravenous low-dose Ketamine is surprisingly effective in rapidly improving the symptoms of depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and other mental health conditions, as well as chronic pain syndromes. This effect is supported by numerous studies conducted at reputable research centers from 2000 to the present.

How Does Ketamine Work?

When Ketamine binds to N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors in your brain, it helps increase the amount of a neurotransmitter called glutamate. Glutamate activates connections in another brain receptor, which triggers the release of molecules that allow neurons to find new pathways to communicate with each other in your brain. This process is called synaptogenesis, and it’s thought to affect your mood and thought patterns.

Ketamine Infusion Therapy for Chronic Pain

Ketamine infusions have been shown to rapidly provide up to a 50% decrease in patient-reported pain levels in patients that respond to these treatments. Ketamine is particularly effective for many chronic pain syndromes, particularly neuropathic pain syndromes, such as chronic regional pain syndrome (CRPS). Ketamine is thought to improve chronic pain in a novel way by blocking the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor. This NMDA blockade is believed to allow the pain pathways in the brain and spine to “reset,” allowing a more normalized response to pain signals from the body’s nerves. This resetting of the pain pathways may last for weeks to months and can be maintained with occasional booster treatments, as needed.

Ketamine allows a decrease in painful symptoms as well as a decrease in the need for opioid medications. In addition, there is a clear overlay of depressive symptoms and chronic anxiety for many patients suffering from chronic pain disorders. Therefore, Ketamine’s ability to decrease the symptoms of depression and anxiety can lessen the compounding effect these conditions have on the patient’s pain level.

To learn more about Ketamine Infusion Therapy, click here or call 505-639-4973 to schedule a private consultation.

Tranquility Ketamine Clinic is a leading provider of Ketamine infusion therapy in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Founded by two experienced emergency room physicians with over 50 years combined practice administering Ketamine in the emergency department, the clinic provides effective treatments for depression, PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder), chronic pain, OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), anxiety, stress, and burnout in comfortable private rooms at its Northeast Albuquerque location.