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How long does Ketamine last for OCD

Medically reviewed by: Dr. Peck
Reading Time: 4 minutes
How long does Ketamine last for OCD

Approximately 19 percent of the adult population and 46 percent of teenagers suffer from mental illness in United States. These people could be a part of your family, friends, or neighbors. It is undeniable that not only patient’s life but also the people living with them get terribly affected due to their abnormal behavior.

Even in advanced times like ours, mental health is often mistreated or remains untreated at all. Only half of such patients get a proper and timely diagnosis and treatment, while others remain untreated either due to unawareness or misdiagnosis.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is one of these severe mental illnesses. Its symptoms include troublesome obsessive thoughts and compulsive actions as their results. These symptoms get worse if they remain unattended and greatly affect the quality of life and productivity of the person.

Treatment options for OCD:

The first-line method of treatment for the obsessive-compulsive disorder is a combination of anti-depressant medications such as serotonin reuptake inhibitors and clinical and behavioral therapy (CBT) of the patient. But there is always an exception.

Some patients would not show any signs of getting better with those practices. And there comes a need to find a more advanced method of treatment for those people. Recent studies show that glutaminergic neurotransmission imparts in the pathophysiology of this mental health condition. In this situation, ketamine could be used as an alternative treatment option since it is a strong N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor antagonist and also a great glutamate modulator.

How does Ketamine Rapidly Reduces OCD Symptoms?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder, also known as OCD, is a mental health illness typically identified by unwanted obsessive thoughts which are followed by relentless compulsive habits.

Selective Serotonin reuptake inhibitors, shortly called SSRIs, are used as the first line of treatment for this issue, but return rates are not up to the mark.

Ketamine, on the other hand, is a non-selective NMDA receptor antagonist, and studies show that it has rapid and long-lasting therapeutic effects in treating OCD symptoms. However, the exact mechanism of action behind it is still unclear and under investigation.

So, how does it work for OCD?

Studies give evidence that ketamine is effective in increasing the elasticity of brain cells, and it was majorly studied for the treatment of depression which proved to be highly effective. Then this success led researchers to look for its use to treat other mental impairments as well.

It was assumed that it might prove effective for OCD as well because depression patients sometimes also suffer from OCD. For some patients, ketamine therapy has proven to be effective with regular sessions of psychotherapy, and there is no need for a constant follow up.

This treatment is also called KAP or ketamine-assisted psychotherapy. Studies prove that KAP is very beneficial in treating many mental disorders such as OCD, PTSD, substance abuse, race-based trauma, and anxiety disorder.

What are the benefits of ketamine treatment?

The typical method of treatment for OCD is taking oral anti-depressants. But it does not work for all patients, maybe because OCD patients don’t need to show depression symptoms. However, it takes weeks or even months to figure out whether the medicines are providing any relief to the patient or not.

While on the other hand, ketamine treatment works in a matter of hours instead of days. It is a kind of treatment that feels straight out of heaven. Some patients even start to feel better within 40 minutes duration of drip. And it can last for up to a few weeks or even 3 to 4 months, depending on the severity of the patient’s symptoms.

What is the dosage regime?

Normally SSRIs (anti-depressant medications) and cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) are provided to OCD patients, but 2 out of 3 patients fail to achieve adequate symptom relief from these conventional treatment methods. Also, the patient has to take medicines for two to three months to get the results, and sometimes there are no results at all.

For such patients, ketamine infusion works very well as it is an NMDA receptor antagonist. Ketamine is the primary glutamate receptor in our brain; therefore, it is effective in the treatment of OCD.

Ketamine is used in very low dosages if it is to be used for OCD treatment. First of all, they inject it intravenously into your body in the same dose as for patients of depression which is 0.5mg/kg, and researches prove that patients feel better within a few hours of receiving this therapy.

Ketamine therapy sessions are adjusted according to the patient’s symptoms. If the symptoms are severe, it may call for a series of six infusions every day for two weeks.

Once it is over, your doctor will assess your symptoms and adjust the schedule according to your requirements.

How long do its effects last?

According to a study, its effect last for more than a week after getting the infusion. If the patient’s symptoms are mild, then its effect could last for a month or even more. But it varies from person to person.

Are there any side effects?

Side effects of this treatment are very rare but do occur in some cases. Such as:

  • Nausea
  • Headache
  • Dissociation
  • Feeling high
  • Vomiting

But the good news is that these are mild side effects and go away on their own in a few hours.

When should you consider it as an option?

If you are a patient of OCD and are resistant to other standard treatment methods, then Ketamine therapy for OCD can give you relief from the symptoms of this mental disease.

But you must consult with your family doctor or psychiatrist before making an appointment for the treatment.

How to get help?

When you are ready to get treated for OCD with this alternative treatment method, Nepenthe Wellness Center is here to help you and guide you about everything that how ketamine infusion therapy works. We totally understand that you will have a lot of questions and queries; therefore, please feel free to call us for a free consultation or book an appointment with us at any time, according to your schedule.


  • Ketamine in the Treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: . . . : Harvard Review of Psychiatry. (n.d.). LWW. Retrieved October 20, 2022, from
  • NHS website. (2022, March 8). Overview – Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Retrieved October 22, 2022, from
  • Chen, H. S. V., & Lipton, S. A. (2006, June). The chemical biology of clinically tolerated NMDA receptor antagonists. Journal of Neurochemistry, 97(6), 1611–1626.