How To Get the Most Out of Ketamine Therapy

FEATURED
October 24, 2022

Nue Life

Nue Life
7 MIN READ

When it comes to treatments for mental health, the therapeutic course typically follows a combination of cognitive-behavioral therapy and medications, such as SSRIs.

However, other therapy options are available for those looking for therapeutic alternatives to traditional antidepressants. One of those is ketamine therapy.

Here, we’ll explore some of the advantages of ketamine for treatment-resistant depression and how you can make the most out of ketamine therapy.

What Is Ketamine?

Historically, ketamine is a short-acting drug that is most commonly used in the clinical setting as a general anesthetic. Since it has some dissociation effects, it is often labeled a psychedelic or hallucinogenic drug. It was first introduced into clinical practice in the 1960s.

Ketamine’s legal classification is as a Schedule III drug, which means it does maintain its use as an FDA-approved analgesic drug used in hospital settings. This also means it has a moderate to low risk for dependency with minimal side effects when used in medical settings.

In recent years, research into ketamine’s effectiveness as a treatment option for mental health conditions has grown substantially. Most research focuses on its efficacy related to major depressive disorder (MDD), PTSD, anxiety, and other mood disorders.

For example, studies have shown a rapid antidepressant effect from a single intravenous (IV) infusion of ketamine in at least five randomized controlled trials.

Based on a 50% or greater reduction in baseline depression severity, these single IV ketamine infusions resulted in a 50% to 70% response rate.

Ketamine effects were seen within 40 minutes of infusion, lasting as long as seven days — some felt prolonged effects beyond a week.

Both off-label and open-label studies into the effects of repeated ketamine infusion sessions offer similar findings. For example, an open-label study examined the effects of up to six IV infusions over two weeks — the response rate was over 70 percent.

This research is extremely promising, especially as a rapid-acting and breakthrough treatment for suicidal ideation and other symptoms of depression. Furthermore, it has positive implications as an effective therapeutic alternative to traditional antidepressants.

How Is Ketamine Used in Therapy?

Aside from ketamine infusion therapy, ketamine can also be administered as an intramuscular injection. Of course, these methods tend to be most often used in ketamine clinics or hospital settings and are typically time-consuming and expensive.

An enantiomer of ketamine can also be found as a nasal spray (medication known as esketamine or Spravato®). This FDA-approved method is used to treat MDD and other treatment-resistant forms of depression.

Nue Life uses oral ketamine in the form of a sublingual tablet that dissolves under your tongue. This allows you to ingest ketamine in the comfort of your home — no needles, pill-swallowing, or discomfort needed, and all under the virtual supervision of a trained clinician.

Supports Balanced Mental Health

Ketamine has come a long way in recent years, branching out from the clinical setting as an analgesic into the therapeutic world of mental health. Its use as a new antidepressant and alternative to SSRIs is well-established.

Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses worldwide. Traditionally, treatments for this disorder involve some form of talk therapy and antidepressant medications, the two most common forms being SSRIs and SNRIs.

But, these antidepressants don’t work for everyone. This is commonly known as treatment-resistant depression. Thankfully, ketamine therapy may be an option to bring balance to those with treatment-resistant depression and other mental health issues like PTSD who have not found success with traditional medications.

Supports Brain Recovery

The causes of depression, and other mental health disorders, are multifaceted. However, it is well-documented that depression affects the brain and is responsible for both chemical and physical changes.

Some believe this is partly due to overactivation of the glutamate receptors. Over time, this can lead to a decline in neuroplasticity — also known as the brain’s ability to change, modify, and adapt.

Ketamine can also help support brain recovery. As an N-methyl-D-aspartate type glutamate (NMDA) receptor antagonist, ketamine helps induce brain-derived neurotrophic factors, aiding neuronal healing and recovery.

Fast-Acting Results

As mentioned above, the effects of ketamine therapy are quick. In some cases, traditional antidepressants can take weeks to alleviate symptoms — but this is not so with ketamine.

For many, ketamine often works within 24 hours of the first dose. This can be extremely valuable for those who’ve been battling the effects of major depression for a long time.

What Are the Benefits of Ketamine Therapy?

As a safe, legal, and effective form of mental health treatment, the effects of ketamine can help alleviate the symptoms of many mental health conditions.

These conditions can include depression, anxiety disorders, PTSD, and BPD. Finding balance in your mental health can be a cascade that trickles down to other aspects of life, including physical and emotional well-being.

Of course, the extent of the benefits of ketamine therapy depends on the person. Getting the most out of ketamine therapy starts before the process even begins.

How Can You Get the Most Out of Ketamine Therapy?

Preparation is important when it comes to ketamine therapy. This process is intentional and involves both mental and physical preparation.

Eat a Balanced Diet Beforehand

A healthy mind should go hand and hand with a healthy body. Before starting ketamine therapy, it is a good idea to focus on a healthy, balanced diet to support your overall wellness. However, it is recommended to avoid big meals before your session to help minimize mild side effects like nausea.

Stay Hydrated During a Session

Hydration is also important before and during a session, so be sure to drink plenty of water. This can, again, help minimize any of the mild side effects you may experience while also serving to support your health overall. It is beneficial as well to avoid stimulants prior to a ketamine therapy session, which can include caffeinated drinks.

Reduce Stress Before and During Your Session

Working to ease stress before and after a ketamine session can help you make the most of your experience. Before a session, and even during, meditation and mindfulness practices may be beneficial. This could involve wearing an eye mask and listening to your favorite playlist, or anything else that helps you relax and get into a positive and calm frame of mind.

Practice Self-Care After Treatment

Self-care is extremely important after treatment. This can simply involve making healthy lifestyle choices and focusing on self-monitoring and self-management of your feelings and emotions. Your sessions will be most effective if you are striving to care for yourself outside of the experiences as well.

Combine With Behavioral Therapy

Due to its ability to improve things like neuroplasticity, ketamine therapy works well with forms of behavioral therapy. In fact, ketamine treatment used in conjunction with psychotherapy can help individuals be more receptive and open to therapy demands. These demands could include changes to lifestyle or behavioral changes.

Furthermore, Nue Life is committed to the integration process. This occurs through preparation groups, a confidential space where you can ask questions and receive support while preparing for the ketamine journey.

Much like group therapy, integration groups allow individuals to talk about and share insights from their ketamine experiences with others.

This process allows our ketamine clients to both prepare and process their experiences and integrate key takeaways from each session into their daily lives.

The Bottom Line

Ketamine has been used for over 50 years in clinical and hospital settings as a general analgesic for operations and issues of chronic pain. However, in recent years, its efficacy as an alternative treatment for mental health disorders has been on the rise.

Ketamine therapy has been found to be an effective alternative to traditional antidepressants for treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other mental health disorders.

If you’re looking for an alternative treatment to address your depression, our ketamine therapy program may help you find a way forward. You can get started today by scheduling a free evaluation where we can discuss how our treatment plans and program might work best for you.

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 of our programs. 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:

Ketamine: 50 Years of Modulating the Mind | NIH

The promise of ketamine for treatment-resistant depression: current evidence and future directions | NIH

Antidepressant Efficacy of Ketamine in Treatment-Resistant Major Depression: A Two-Site Randomized Controlled Trial | NIH

The Role of Ketamine in Treatment-Resistant Depression: A Systematic Review | PMC

How Depression Affects the Brain | Yale Medicine

Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor: A Key Molecule for Memory in the Healthy and the Pathological Brain | NIH

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