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Ketamine Therapy: How It Is Being Used to Treat Chronic Pain and Mental Health

Medically reviewed by: Dr. Peck
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Millions of people suffer from chronic pain and mental health conditions today.

Conventional treatments exist, but many leave much to be desired in terms of effectiveness, and some are even addictive.

Ketamine therapy offers hope for those struggling with chronic pain, as well as conditions such as PTSD, treatment-resistant depression, anxiety disorder, and more.

What is ketamine therapy?

Ketamine is an FDA-authorized anesthetic. However, since its discovery in the 1960s, it has been explored as a potential treatment for not just alleviating physical pain from conditions ranging from surgery to burns, but also psychological pain and discomfort, such as depression.

Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic delivered intravenously (via an IV drip). However, it can also be delivered in other ways, including intramuscularly, orally, and through the nasal passages.

It is fast-acting, has a high rate of success, and can even deliver lasting relief from symptoms with as few as one treatment.

In most cases, the average patient will have just six infusions over two to three weeks. This may be followed with occasional booster infusions as needed over time, but many patients feel profound results after just one or two sessions.

Ketamine works very differently in the brain than other drugs.

It stimulates the formation of new neural connections, which helps to make the brain more adaptable and flexible while supporting the development of new behaviors and even new thought pathways.

Ketamine also blocks glutamate, which has been shown to cause depressive symptoms.

How was ketamine therapy developed?

Ketamine was originally developed as an anesthetic and an alternative to phencyclidine, which caused serious side effects. However, ketamine was found to be safe, effective, and short-acting.

It was extensively tested on animals before finally being approved by the FDA for use in humans in the 1970s (and remains a veterinary anesthetic to this day).

What can ketamine therapy treat?

Ketamine therapy is being explored for its value in treating conditions that prevent Americans from living their everyday lives freely and without pain or discomfort.

Some of the conditions currently being treated include the following:

Why choose Nepenthe Wellness?

Dedicated to helping our patients thrive, Nepenthe Wellness Center is one of the pioneers of ketamine therapy in Texas.

Dr. Trevor Peck brings a compassionate view to treating physical and mental health conditions and believes that any successful treatment must encompass the whole person, including physical, nutritional, environmental, emotional, social, spiritual, and lifestyle elements.

Our ketamine therapy process

Every treatment we deliver is customized to the patient, so your experience will begin with an in-depth consultation. Once we get to know you, we will develop a customized treatment plan. Most patients will have up to six ketamine therapy sessions spread across two to three weeks.

Those sessions will take place in our home-like environment delivered by caring, compassionate nurses. You’ll sit back in a recliner, covered with a warm blanket, as the IV delivers ketamine to your system.

We also provide high-quality headphones and a TV with streaming services so you can relax and allow the treatment to do its job.

Ketamine and talk therapy – a recommended combination

Ketamine therapy can be used as a standalone treatment, but we recommend that it be coupled with traditional talk therapy.

Our patients thrive when they have both forms of support and can develop new mental pathways and behaviors while working through past traumas.

Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy is more effective than talk therapy or ketamine therapy alone.

Talk therapy can augment the outcomes for patients struggling with depression, PTSD, OCD, substance abuse, and other conditions.

Our new patient welcome offer

Why choose ketamine therapy over traditional treatment options?

Why consider ketamine therapy when there are well-established, traditional treatments available? Simply put, it comes down to effectiveness. It was hailed as the “biggest breakthrough in treating depression in 50 years” and it has lived up to that claim.

  • Ketamine is not a daily medication that must be taken every morning and evening. Instead, it’s delivered in a series of sessions that gradually provide longer-lasting relief from symptoms.

  • Ketamine infusion uses sub-anesthetic doses to minimize potential side effects (side effects include grogginess, fuzzy vision, and mild hallucinations).

  • Ketamine does not “numb” the brain. Instead, it helps the brain form new neural pathways and begin to heal itself.

  • Ketamine is only provided after a comprehensive evaluation, so it is tailored to your unique needs.

  • Ketamine works on both a physiological and psychological level, providing relief for a wide range of conditions.

However, ketamine must be received in a ketamine-certified clinical setting, and an experienced provider must administer the drug and monitor you throughout the treatment session. Nepenthe Wellness Center is certified to provide ketamine treatment, and our staff is very experienced.

A wealth of research

Patients need to choose treatments backed by real-world research and study. Ketamine has been extensively studied for decades, dating back to the 1960s.

Since then, it has been studied by the US government, medical associations, Yale’s psychiatry department, and many more.

Extensive clinical studies have been published in notable medical journals detailing the drug’s mechanisms of action and powerful healing effects.

Case studies: real-world results from ketamine therapy

Results of a female patient struggling with anxiety, her PHQ-9 scores over the course of her treatments at our clinic.

Results of a male patient struggling with treatment-resistant depression, his CES-D scores over the course of his treatments at our clinic.

A path forward

Ketamine has been around for many years, but it offers a new path forward for patients struggling with conditions not easily treated through conventional methods.

From treatment-resistant depression to PTSD, chronic pain, and even substance abuse, ketamine therapy has a great deal to offer. That is particularly true when coupled with conventional talk therapy.

At Nepenthe Wellness Center, our goal is to help you move forward with your life. Contact us today to schedule your consultation to learn more about ketamine therapy and how it might be able to improve your symptoms. You don’t have to “just deal with it”.

Source:

https://www.resetketamine.com/blog/2018/10/14/a-brief-history-of-ketamine

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5126726/

https://www.yalemedicine.org/news/ketamine-the-new-miracle-drug

https://www.tmsbrainhealth.com/ketamine-therapy/ketamine-infusion/the-real-pros-and-cons-of-ketamine-infusions/

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