1) What is ketamine?
Ketamine is a medication, most known for maintaining anesthesia and pain relief during and following surgery. Developed in 1962, Ketamine was originally created as a safe and useful drug, that had 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) What are the possible side effects?
Ketamine side effects are limited, and if present, usually only last for the duration of the infusion. During infusion, symptoms including nausea, temporary hallucination, lack of appetite, blurred vision, and drowsiness may appear.
6) Do I need a referral?
It is important to work with your psychiatrist to determine if ketamine infusion therapy is right for you. If your current psychiatrist is providing mediation management, we will collaborate with them to determine whether or not ketamine infusions are the right course of action for you.
7) Are ketamine infusions safe to use with other medications?
Our psychiatry team are experts at medication management and will work with you to evaluate your medical history and current medications to determine if ketamine infusions are safe for you. 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.
8) 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.
9) 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.
10) What is the ketamine infusion process like?
To start, we offer a free 15-minute consultation, followed by an appointment with a psychiatrist. 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.
During the infusion, you will be seated in a comfortable chair and given shades and earbuds. Every eight minutes, our experienced nurses take your vitals and check in on you to see how your treatment is going. If at any point during the treatment you feel uncomfortable, we can stop the IV drip. Ultimately, we recommend going into the ketamine infusion appointment with your goals for treatment in mind. This will help your brain relax as it works to repair itself during the dissociative phase.
11) 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.
12) 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.
Want to Learn more about Ketamine Infusion Therapy?
If you have any more questions about whether or not ketamine is right for you or your loved ones, we are more than happy to talk to you! Our expert staff at Ballen Medical and Wellness in Denver, CO, are overseen by an MD, and all IV therapy treatments are administered by a Registered Nurse (RN) or a Certified Registered Nurse of Infusion (CRNI). All Ketamine Therapy infusions are offered in a safe, private, and nurturing environment, where you will be well taken care of. If you any additional questions or want to learn more, then call us today at (720) 222-0550 or schedule a free consultation by filling out the form below.