What is Ketamine Therapy?

FEATURED
January 5, 2023

Nue Life

Nue Life
8 MIN READ

Depression is a widespread and debilitating mental illness impacting over 17 million Americans over the age of 18 —  yet SSRIs, one of the leading treatment options for depression, don’t work for 40% of people. 

There has to be a better solution, right?

Ketamine is a new, innovative treatment for mood disorders that is changing people’s lives.

Ketamine has been studied for decades, but it only recently became recognized as a potential option for treatment-resistant depression.

So let’s talk about ketamine therapy.  By learning more about this revolutionary treatment and how it works, you can decide if ketamine is the right choice for you. Nue Life is here to help you take the next step toward healing.

What Is Ketamine?

Ketamine was originally an anesthesia medication. It was first studied on humans in 1966 for its ability to provide a state of anesthesia without limiting the function of the lungs and heart. This meant that a ventilator was not required for use. 

Initially, ketamine was an adaptation of a drug called phencyclidine, another anesthetic that caused prolonged delirium as a side effect. 

Ketamine was created to provide the same quality of anesthesia without the same alterations to the mind. 

What is Ketamine Used for? 

Today, ketamine’s use extends far beyond anesthesia. In some cases, ketamine has been used to help treat chronic pain. 

However, more notably, ketamine has been used to treat depression and other mental illnesses. Ketamine has a rapid antidepressant effect and has proved to be a promising treatment option for those dealing with treatment-resistant depression. With ketamine, you have the chance to find peace again. 

How Does Ketamine Therapy Work?

Ketamine therapy is the use of ketamine to treat mental illness. This treatment option allows more people to get their lives back and take control of their mental health.

What Can Ketamine Therapy Treat?

Therapy with ketamine can be effective for a variety of mental illnesses. It has proven to be particularly effective in treatment-resistant depression, but it doesn’t stop there. Ketamine can also help alleviate anxiety, bipolar disorder, and PTSD symptoms. 

Ketamine provides an antidepressant effect that is quite different from traditional antidepressants. While regular antidepressants, such as SSRIs and SNRIs, target neurotransmitters such as serotonin and norepinephrine, ketamine targets a much more prominent neurotransmitter called glutamate.

Specifically, ketamine binds tightly to the NMDA receptors in the brain, which works to produce higher levels of glutamate. 

Ketamine helps your brain form new neural connections by producing more glutamate in the brain. This works to increase your brain’s neuroplasticity, meaning ketamine allows your brain to form new neural pathways. These pathways give you a chance to establish new, positive thought patterns in place of the negative ones. 

The way ketamine works is changing how scientists think about depression — the importance of glutamate as a neurotransmitter is becoming more recognized. 

Ketamine has opened up new horizons in our understanding of the human brain. 

How Fast Does Ketamine Therapy Work?

One of the most incredible things about ketamine is the speed at which ketamine provides relief to your symptoms. This is one of the many areas where ketamine has a distinct advantage over other forms of treatment. 

How Many Sessions Does It Take?

The fact is, ketamine often works immediately following the first session. About half of people experience relief from their symptoms within 24 hours of their first session. 

However, some people don’t experience immediate relief. In most situations, people will experience relief within their first three sessions. Depending on your needs, a ketamine program may include anywhere from six to 18 ketamine sessions, and you can work with your provider to adjust your treatment program as needed.

How Long Is Each Session?

A ketamine session will typically last around two hours. It’s best to carve out an evening for your session so that you can have the best experience. 

Some forms of ketamine require a doctor’s supervision. These methods might take even longer because of the check-in process, the post-treatment supervision period, and the time it takes to get there. 

But there are also at-home ketamine treatments that combine maximum convenience and effective treatment. 

How Is Ketamine Administered?

Ketamine can be administered in multiple different ways. The first method of administration was through an IV drip. This method is still used today, but it is much more time-consuming than other methods.

Ketamine can also be administered with a shot, and one version called esketamine can be administered with a nasal spray. 

However, sublingual ketamine may be the most straightforward method of administration — that’s why we offer it here at Nue Life

With sublingual administration, a small ketamine tablet is taken orally and placed under the tongue, where it absorbs through the mouth and into the bloodstream. 

What Does Ketamine Therapy Feel Like?

Because ketamine is a psychedelic therapy, it causes the body and mind to go through a certain type of experience as the medicine does its job in the brain. 

The experience is actually quite pleasant for most people and may even be spiritual. Many people just get sleepy and incredibly relaxed for the duration of the experience. Some people report specific revelations that come from the experience. Yet others might have some visual distortions, such as double vision, blurriness, or even perceive mild illusions. 

The experience resolves itself within a couple of hours. And most of the time, it is an incredibly relaxing and pleasant experience that leaves you feeling rejuvenated and like a weight has been lifted off of your shoulders. 

Is Ketamine Safe for Everyone?

Ketamine is considered a very safe drug when administered in a professional medical setting — but like any medication, ketamine does have some potential side effects, and it isn’t right for every situation. Your medical history will be a major contributing factor to whether or not ketamine is right for you. 

Precautions

To have the best experience during your ketamine session, you should know a few things.

For starters, it’s best to lie down. You may be at an increased risk of falling during the experience, and you don’t want to injure yourself. Dimming the lights and listening to soothing music may also help ensure you have a pleasant, calm experience. 

Ketamine can cause nausea, so you may want to avoid eating anything for about 4 hours leading up to the session. 

Ketamine can also briefly cause high blood pressure, so if you are at risk for high blood pressure, talk to your doctor before you use ketamine for depression. 

Who Can Benefit From Ketamine Therapy?

There are a lot of people who could benefit from ketamine treatment. Ketamine can help people with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). 

Ketamine is especially helpful with cases of treatment-resistant depression. Treatment-resistant depression occurs when a patient has depression that persists through several antidepressants. Ketamine has been shown to be highly effective in cases where other medicines cannot help. 

Ketamine can also provide important relief to those struggling with suicidal thoughts. Because ketamine provides such immediate relief to the symptoms of depression, it can help you stay safe and get quick relief in pressing situations. Consider ketamine to help you achieve mental wellness.

How Long Do the Effects of Ketamine Last?

Ketamine’s antidepressant effects may last for several days. You may have about two treatments per week at the beginning of your program. After a few weeks of this schedule, you will likely be able to space them out more, up to twice a month. 

The end goal is to no longer require ketamine treatment. Ketamine can allow you to establish positive thought patterns and reframe your mind to focus on positive things to find the healing you need. 

Ketamine can be a catalyst for healing, but you are the one that is driving the change. And one day, you can achieve the right headspace to be healthy again.

The Bottom Line

Ketamine therapy is a revolutionary treatment for mental illnesses. It can not only provide relief to your symptoms, but it can get you to a place where you can take your mental health into your own hands, work through your past, and find true healing and wholeness. 

So consider ketamine therapy for your depression. It might just be the treatment you need to help you complete your journey to mental wellness.

Treatment at Nue Life

Nue Life believes in holistic treatment, which means that what happens before and after your ketamine experience is equally as important as the experience itself. We want to ensure you have meaningful takeaways from your experiences and help you establish positive new neural pathways.

That’s why we provide one-on-one health coaching and integration group sessions with each program. We’re here to help map out the mind and body connections in your brain and help you discover the insights that lead to true healing.

Sources

Depression Statistics | DBS Alliance

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) | Mayo Clinic

How New Ketamine Drug Helps with Depression | Yale Medicine

Ketamine: 50 Years of Modulating the Mind | National Institutes of Health

Ketamine for major depression: New tool, new questions | Harvard Health Publishing

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