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.