April 22, 2024

Unlocking Hope: What Ketamine CAN and CAN’T Do for Mental Health and Chronic Pain


Ketamine has received significant recognition for its ability to help people with treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, PTSD, suicidality, chronic pain and more. Its unique ability to regrow neuronal synapses, increase neurotransmitters, increase growth factors in the brain and reduce inflammation has allowed many individuals to “take their life back”. While ketamine can be a very helpful medication for individuals who feel like they have tried everything and nothing has worked, it is important to understand what the capabilities and limitations of ketamine therapy are.

What Ketamine Can Do

To start, let’s discuss all the things ketamine can do for both mental health and chronic pain. Ketamine is an NMDA antagonist that rapidly reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety, while also acting as an anesthetic to reduce chronic pain.

IV Ketamine Therapy can:

  • Reduce anxiety and symptoms of depression, PTSD, OCD and suicidality
  • Provide individuals with the resources and energy to set and reach goals, increase motivation and improve outlook on life
  • Inhibit the activation of chronic pain pathways
  • Reduce inflammation
  • Increase neurotransmitters like GABA and glutamate, which then activate other neurotransmitters
  • Regrow neuronal synapses

What Ketamine Cannot Do

Ketamine therapy can help provide individuals with the tools to accomplish goals but it cannot create the goals or perform the tasks for you. If one of your goals is to “get back into shape”, ketamine may provide you with the energy, perspective, and motivation to get to the gym, but it is up to you to put in the work through creating a workout plan and staying consistent. Ketamine is able to help shape your perspective to make better choices and help overcome some of the mental hurdles that you may encounter. But, you still have to take the necessary actions. Ketamine will not reach out to a loved one for you, or get you out of a negative situation. That being said, if those are some of your goals, ketamine treatment can help provide you with the tools to succeed. 

How To Know If Ketamine Is Working

Symptom relief looks different for everyone and may not always feel like a complete “life altering” experience. For some, it may be more subtle and may be noticed initially by people around you before you notice it. You may begin to notice subtle changes in your day-to-day functioning before having noticeable changes in mood. For others, the experience may be less subtle and they may notice the effects quickly.

That being said, it is important to trust the process while also understanding that the process takes time. It is best to start making progress assessments about two days after your last stabilization session and then continue to track your progress after each maintenance session. Always continue to create goals and reach out to your ketamine provider with any questions or concerns, or if you feel like you are not seeing the benefits you would like to see. 

How Long Will Ketamine Last?

Along with its rapid onset, a single IV ketamine session has been shown to provide long lasting effects. After a stabilization period, patients may feel symptom relief from anywhere between 1 month to several months. In contrast to standard antidepressants which need to be taken daily, ketamine provides patients with prolonged symptom relief with much fewer side effects. That being said, it is recommended to stay consistent with monthly maintenance sessions for at least 6 months after a stabilization period before trying to push sessions out longer. Many ketamine patients who were formerly using traditional antidepressants find monthly maintenance sessions to be much easier to keep up with than having to remember to take a pill every day.

Ready to explore the potential of Ketamine Therapy for yourself? Schedule an appointment with Mind Body Centers today by calling us at 1-855-481-9605 or visiting our website at https://mindbodycenters.com. Take the first step towards reclaiming your life.

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