Many want to know what to expect when it comes to the Ketamine Infusion Therapy Experience. In recent years, the administration of intravenous low-dose ketamine has been found to be 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 myriad studies conducted at reputable research centers from 2000 to the present.
Ketamine has been shown to improve symptoms of depression in as little as several hours after the first treatment. This lifting of the depressive symptoms seems to last anywhere from several days to weeks or months and typically lasts longest after a series of six infusions over a two-week period. Single-dose “booster” treatments at a period of two weeks to months after the initial infusion have been shown to prolong the antidepressant effect of the medication in many patients.
In 2014, Thomas Insel, former Director of the National Institute of Mental Health, stated that, “Recent data suggest that ketamine, given intravenously, might be the most important breakthrough in antidepressant treatment in decades.”
The patient experience of ketamine infusion therapy treatment can vary depending on the individual, but some common themes exist. When it comes to the Ketamine Infusion Therapy experience, here is what you can expect:
- Pre-treatment: Before the infusion, the patient will typically meet with a doctor or nurse practitioner to discuss their medical history and mental health condition. They will also be given a physical exam and have their vital signs taken. The doctor will then explain the procedure and answer any patient questions.
- Infusion: The infusion itself typically takes about an hour. The patient will be seated or lying down in a comfortable recliner. An IV will be inserted into their arm, and the ketamine will be administered slowly over time. During the infusion, the patient may experience a variety of sensations, including:
- A feeling of dissociation or detachment from their body and surroundings
- Altered perceptions, such as seeing things that are not there or hearing voices
- A sense of euphoria or well-being
- Drowsiness or fatigue
- Nausea or vomiting
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 can review and work through their thoughts and feelings clearly and calmly for the first time in their lives.
- Post-treatment: After the infusion, the patient will be monitored for a few hours to ensure they are safe. They may be given anti-nausea medication as well as fluids. Most patients are able to go home after the infusion.
Although the intensity of the effects of ketamine wears off quickly, there may be some sense of imbalance and slowing of reaction times for a few hours. It is advised that patients should not drive or operate power machinery following treatment. Some patients experience immediate relief from their symptoms, while others may need multiple infusions before seeing a benefit.
The most common side effects of the ketamine infusion therapy experience are drowsiness, lightheadedness, dizziness, and nausea. These side effects are usually mild and go away on their own. More serious side effects are rare, but they can include:
- High blood pressure
- Low blood pressure
Here are some additional things to keep in mind about the patient experience of ketamine infusion therapy:
- The environment in which the infusion takes place can significantly impact the patient’s experience. A comfortable, relaxing environment can help to reduce anxiety and make the experience more enjoyable.
- The patient’s expectations can also play a role in their experience. If the patient is expecting a negative experience, they are more likely to have one. It is essential to set realistic expectations and to be open to the possibility of a positive outcome.
- The patient’s relationship with the healthcare team can also impact their experience. A supportive and understanding team can make the experience more comfortable and less anxiety-provoking.
If you are considering ketamine infusion therapy, it is vital to research and find a reputable clinic with experienced staff. It would be best to talk to your doctor about your unique circumstances to ensure ketamine is the best treatment for you.
At Tranquility Ketamine, ketamine is given intravenously, using National Institute of Mental Health dosing protocols. These protocols vary depending on 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 45 minutes of relaxation while the medication wears off. However, we understand that this NIH dosing protocol was decided arbitrarily and that dosage adjustments, both up and down, may be necessary for maximum effect and comfort, depending on the individual.
Our team of doctors and nurses understand the frustrations of patients who have tried conventional therapies with little or no success. That’s why every aspect of ketamine infusion treatment at Tranquility Ketamine has been thoughtfully designed to be stress-free, relaxing, and encouraging. From streamlined scheduling to infusions performed by friendly and caring staff to an unhurried and restful post-infusion period, we ensure your ketamine treatment experience is positive and productive.