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Ketamine FAQs

1) What is ketamine? Ketamine is a medication, most known for maintaining anesthesia and pain relief during and following surgery. Ketamine was first developed in 1962. Ketamine is a safe and useful drug that has few side effects and risks for addiction. For many years, this medication has been used by physicians as it is exceptionally safe and versatile. In recent years, ketamine has been used as an immensely effective treatment for psychological disorders.

2) How does ketamine differ from other traditional medications? Mental illnesses include a wide range of conditions that can have many interweaving causes– affecting mood, thinking, and behavior. When medications targeted at specific neurotransmitters proved to have positive effects, they became widely used as a form of treatment. However, the benefits from these forms of treatment, in many cases, have proven short-lived. Many patients reported short-term relief, followed by a return of symptoms and limited long-term improvement. Ketamine works in an entirely different way, revolutionizing mental treatment from a whole new perspective. Rather than targeting neurotransmitters in the brain, ketamine focuses on altering neural passageways to build and strengthen healthy neurons. In doing so, ketamine treatment has proven to be far more effective for patients. Ketamine infusion therapy can also change the way that the brain responds to medications, so it can be useful in conjunction with already prescribed drugs. Ketamine works not only as an effective form of treatment on its own but can enhance the benefits of any prescription one is already taking.

3) What treatment is ketamine infusion therapy used for? Ketamine is one of the biggest breakthroughs in mental illness treatments. Psychiatrists are using ketamine to help treat depression, suicidality, anxiety, bipolar, PTSD, OCD, BPD, sleep disorders, and pain disorders including fibromyalgia and complex regional pain syndrome.

4) Is ketamine addictive? Ketamine belongs to a class of drugs called dissociative anesthetics. There is no evidence that ketamine can lead to addiction, however, there have not been many widespread studies on this. The clinical setting in which ketamine infusions are administered hinders the possibility of addiction. In addition, the doses provided are far lower than when taken recreationally.

5) Am I a candidate Ketamine Therapy ? Ketamine therapy is typically reserved for patients who have not responded to traditional treatments (antidepressants or therapy). However, your doctor may consider this therapy for patients experiencing severe symptoms, such as suicidal ideation or severe anxiety.

6) Are ketamine infusions safe to use with other medications? Benzodiazepines (such as Xanax, Klonopin, Librium, or Valium), if taken at a high dose, can interfere with ketamine treatment. If this is the case, our doctors will provide advice on how to proceed safely, such as avoiding Benzodiazepines 4-6 hours prior to ketamine infusion sessions.

7) Is there an age requirement for treatment? This is determined on a case-by-case scenario, however, we typically do not perform infusions on children younger than 12 years old.

8) Am I able to eat/drink prior to my infusions? Yes. You can eat and drink prior to infusions, but we recommend a light meal.

9) What is the ketamine infusion process like? To start, we offer a free 15-minute consultation, followed by an appointment with medical staff. This will help you learn more about the process, and decide if it is something you want to look into. If you feel this is a good fit for you, we can schedule your first appointment right away. Once our medical staff has determined that an individual is an ideal candidate for ketamine therapy, they will work with this patient to develop a customized treatment plan. Ketamine therapy is typically administered through intravenous (IV) infusion; it can also be given through an intranasal spray or oral medication. However, these methods need more research to study their efficacy compared to IV infusion.

10) How quickly will I feel relief from my symptoms? Patients typically feel an immediate relief in just a few hours or a few days. Often, patients struggling with self-harm or suicidal thoughts notice these feelings go away first. Over the course of treatment, people report feeling a gradual and consistent improvement from their disorder.

11) Should I arrange transportation following my infusion? Yes. Patients can feel tired or groggy after an infusion, although this goes away completely after a night of sleep. We recommend arranging a ride after infusions, and not driving or operating dangerous machinery until the next day.

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