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Ketamine Infusion Therapy for Anxiety Disorders; A New Approach

According to the ADAA, Anxiety Disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults aged 18 or older or 18.1% of the population every year. Anxiety disorders often develop from a complex set of risk factors such as genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events. In addition, those with a chronic anxiety disorder are more likely to suffer from depression or vice versa.

What is Chronic Anxiety?

Chronic anxiety, among other mental health disorders such as depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder, 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.

According to statistics, only 36.9% of those suffering from anxiety disorders receive treatment. Those who seek treatment are often given either a generic antidepressant, such as an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor), an SNRI (selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor), or a benzodiazepine. If they don’t respond to one of these, they get a trial of another or several, unfortunately, it. Unfortunately, it has shown that as many as 40% of these patients will not achieve remission when 3 or 4 traditional agents are used, including cognitive-behavioral therapy or mentalization-based therapy.

Ketamine and Anxiety 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 release of glutamate, which is known to be 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 reportedly brings about repair and regrowth of damaged synapses and neuronal connections caused by chronic stress in animal models. Likewise, in humans, ketamine is thought to assist in creating new neuronal circuits and/or repair of the healthy neuronal connections that existed in the brain before the patient suffered from depression, PTSD, OCD, and/or chronic anxiety disorder.

Ketamine Treatment Timeline

Most patients report feeling immediate relief from their anxiety-induced symptoms. In a small study of patients with generalized anxiety disorder and/or social anxiety disorder, the impact of just one infusion lasted for up to 14 weeks. Most treatments, however, begin with a series of several infusions over two weeks, and single-dose “booster” treatments are administered at a period of two weeks to months after the initial transfusion. This method has been shown to prolong the effect of the medication in many patients.

According to Prakash Masand, MD, co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Centers of Psychiatric Excellence (COPE) (https://www.copepsychiatry.com) and adjunct professor at the Academic Medicine Education Institute, Duke-National University of Singapore Medical School (Duke-NUS), “Ketamine has been studied and shown [to be] effective with an array of anxiety disorders, including SAD, general anxiety disorder (GAD), and PTSD.”

Ketamine Infusions Available Right Here in Albuquerque

The use of ketamine continues to be studied and used as an effective treatment for various mood disorders. As part of the medical and psychotherapy community, we are committed to developing ways to collaborate when offering patients faster, safer, and more effective solutions to improve their quality of life.

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.