Many individuals seek out, or are recommended, ketamine therapy with hopes of relieving symptoms of their mood disorder. Ketamine can help individuals with Anxiety, Treatment Resistant Depression, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder by creating new neural pathways and allowing individuals to reach a dissociative state where they can gain a new perspective.
At Avesta, we administer ketamine through an IV that drips from forty minutes to an hour. During this time, most individuals experience some form of disassociation. Ketamine is dissociative; we explain what dissociation can feel like in another one of our blogs.
The mood disorder protocol consists of an induction phase, which is a series of six, sometimes eight to twelve, ketamine infusions in a short period of time (one to four days in between each session).
Many people start to feel significant effects on their mood between sessions five and six; however, for some it takes several more sessions for a noticeable difference.
After you notice significant changes in your mood from the induction phase, you enter the maintenance phase. “Booster” sessions start at once per week for about two weeks, then gradually spread further apart. Boosters are good resets and help you maintain the good feelings from the induction phase.
Anxiety disorders are often disabling and frightening. They can be characterized by “having intense, excessive and persistent worry and fear about everyday situations” (1). Individuals with anxiety disorders can experience regular anxiety and panic attacks that have real physiological effects on the body (i.e., blood pressure and heart rate increases).
See our blog, Will Ketamine Alleviate Symptoms of my Anxiety Disorder, to better understand why we feel anxiety and why ketamine can help reduce feelings of anxiety, and to read one of our patients’ answers to questions about their ketamine journey.
What if the Idea of Ketamine Therapy gives me Anxiety?
Ketamine therapy is becoming a popular option for individuals with mood disorders due to its high efficacy rates and safeness when administered appropriately. While ketamine has been scientifically proven to relieve symptoms of anxiety, the idea of going in for an infusion can be anxiety inducing. People with anxiety disorders like to have a sense of control, and with a dissociative drug, you have to allow your mind to give up control-that is part of the healing process.
How to Minimize Pre-Treatment Anxiety
Some anxiety before a new experience is inevitable; however, there are ways to prepare yourself and minimize your anxiety.
- Educate yourself: read studies that have been conducted on ketamine therapy and testimonials from individuals who have gone through it. The New York Times recently published an article titled, The Ketamine Cure. We also have a few research articles on our website.
- Schedule a phone consultation with one of our practitioners to go over protocols and your specific history with mental health.
- Create a playlist with gentle, pleasant instrumental music to listen to during your infusion. Music will guide your ketamine trip, so it is important to come into your session knowing what you are going to listen to. If you are not sure where to start, there are numerous ketamine playlists available on Spotify and Apple Music, including one for our clinic and one created by Jon Hopkins.
- Dress comfortably.
- Look at our website, see pictures of our spaces and practitioners so you are a little more comfortable coming in.
- Consider and journal about why you are coming in and what you hope to gain from the therapy?
Coauthored, in alphabetical order by: Dr. Ladan Eshkevari, PhD, CRNA, FAAN, and Stephanie Gordon, BA