July 3, 2024

Understanding Ketamine Therapy: Why Do I Need Maintenance Treatments?

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As a groundbreaking treatment for depression, PTSD, chronic pain, anxiety, and countless other mental and physical challenges, ketamine is one of the most versatile medications used in modern medicine.

As you might expect, one of the reasons ketamine stands out is that it works differently from standard treatments most of us are used to. Because it belongs to a distinct class of medications, it’s important to follow a specialized treatment protocol to get the most out of ketamine therapy.

In some ways, ketamine is like any other medication you might use to manage pain or treat depression: clinical studies tell us who it can help, then medical professionals prescribe it to patients who need it. However, ketamine is also unique: unlike many medications that treat long-term issues, it is not taken every day. The benefits of ketamine treatment can last long after the medication leaves your body, which is why an effective treatment model should use occasional “maintenance” infusions instead of daily or even weekly use.

Phase 1: What is stabilization?

Unfortunately, many patients just beginning ketamine therapy suffer from symptoms that have become severe after years of ineffective treatments and mounting challenges to daily life. Because our patients are facing significant challenges, the first goal of treatment is to bring immediate relief from serious symptoms. 

At Mind Body Centers, our treatment model begins at the “stabilization” phase. Stabilization refers to your initial series of treatments, which will consist of 3-6 infusions over a short time period (usually a week or two). This cluster of ketamine sessions can have profound effects, often drastically reducing the intensity of symptoms and improving quality of life seemingly overnight.

The goal of stabilization is to help you feel more like you. Receiving multiple infusions within a short time frame won’t “cure” a medical or mental health condition, but it can give you the stability needed to work towards long-term fulfillment in your life. By alleviating the symptoms that usually weigh you down, stabilization can be a building block that supports large-scale changes and improvements you want to make to your life.

Phase 2: What is maintenance?

After completing your stabilization treatments, you will probably notice changes in how you feel. As depressed feelings fade and your body lets go of stress and tension you once carried, it may even feel like you have been “cured.”

The results of ketamine therapy can be truly life-changing. However, it’s important to remember that without a long-term healing strategy, these changes can’t last forever. Although ketamine can play a profound role in healing the brain, without maintenance, these benefits can fade over time.

You can think of maintenance treatments as a sort of tune-up for your brain. Ketamine doesn’t require the same rigid schedule as other medications, but similarly to scheduling maintenance for your car, it’s a good idea to schedule treatment before a major problem arises.

The length of time you should take in between maintenance treatments will vary based on your needs and individual situation. At Mind Body Centers, our maintenance patients might come in anywhere from once a month to once a year.

You may feel good for a long time after your infusions, but if you start to notice your symptoms returning, it’s a good indicator that you might be overdue for a maintenance treatment as a “booster” to your wellness.

Sustaining wellness

MBC rigorously structures our treatment protocol around research-backed practices and a growing body of scientific studies on ketamine. Through our years of experience working with expert healthcare providers and patients from all walks of life, we have found that the transformative benefits of ketamine therapy can be sustained when carefully combined with a thoughtful long-term plan.

Taking a holistic approach to wellness means that health isn’t about how much you exercise, what you eat, your social life, what medications you take, or what you do in your free time. Rather, holistic wellness is what you get when all parts of your life work together in sync. When combined with tools like talk therapy, a solid support network, and the coping skills that work best for you, occasional ketamine infusions can be a pillar of wellness to support continued healing in all parts of your life.

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