Are you in a crisis? Call or text 988 to speak to a crisis counselor.

Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy Is Safe, Here’s Why

Summary

This blog explores why ketamine-assisted psychotherapy is safe. Our ketamine therapists are MAPs certified and ready to help with this psychedelic form of therapy.

It’s estimated that 16 million Americans are living with depression. Of these 16 million, about one-third are considered treatment resistant. Due to this, many people are seeking alternatives. One promising alternative is Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP). But readers may be wondering… is Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy safe?

What is Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy?

In short, KAP is the use of ketamine in therapeutic settings to produce an emotional breakthrough, preceded and followed by therapy sessions with a licensed provider. By using ketamine to affect one’s state of consciousness, mental health professionals have been able to achieve better and more lasting results for their patients. Though ketamine is a dissociative medication, it has some psychedelic properties that aid in achieving personal insight. And because ketamine works on different receptors in the brain than psychedelics, it’s safe to be taken alongside existing medications.

In a typical KAP program, a person would be screened to see if KAP makes sense for them from a medical perspective. One of the indications for KAP is if the patient has not had significant benefits from at least two antidepressant medications. After being screened for KAP, the client would have 2 or more preparation sessions with their therapist.
Each infusion or injection of ketamine is followed by an integration session with the therapist. Please note that the therapy session does not happen while the client is under the effects of ketamine.
Furthermore, the treatment program usually consists of 6 ketamine IV infusions or IM injections, followed by integration sessions with a trained therapist. Contrastingly, Esketamine – the intranasal form approved by the FDA – can be used. After each IV infusion, IM injection, or intranasal spray, the patient has time to integrate her experience with the help of a trained
professional.

What is Ketamine?

Ketamine is a drug which was first discovered in the 1960s. As researchers sought a painkiller that could be used on animals, they discovered ketamine. It was derived from phencyclidine (PCP). After testing the drug on humans, researchers reported that it seemed to be safe.
Later, first responders began to give ketamine to their patients on the way to the hospital. After enough of these patients reported feeling like their depression had lifted ever since getting ketamine, the first responders began to suspect ketamine was the reason. Nowadays, ketamine is used in therapy for treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), among other diagnoses.

Is Ketamine Safe?

In the right dosage and with the right medical support, ketamine can be safe. And it has been shown to have benefits on emotional and mental health after use. Many patients who undergo KAP report feeling unburdened from stressors, that they were able to face emotions that they previously avoided, and even found a sense of purpose in life.
There are many misleading labels that contribute to stigma around ketamine which harms its acceptance in society broadly. For example, ketamine has long been derided as a “horse tranquilizer.” Yes, ketamine is still used as an analgesic and anesthetic for pain, however when used in smaller doses, it has so many more benefits. Ketamine’s tolerability and efficacy for emotional health concerns has been demonstrated for the last 50 years.

Another reason ketamine has a negative stigma is due to its immature use in party settings. Called “Special K,” “Vitamin K,” or simply “K,” Ketamine has been abused by many which has led to mostly negative connotations around this drug. Luckily, this is changing, and the benefits of ketamine are being delivered to more and more people who need it. After all, it is an FDA-approved drug!

What Does Ketamine Feel Like?

Some benign symptoms that ketamine can feel like include:
• Dreaminess
• Floating sensation
• Euphoria
• Intense relaxation
• Laughing
But there are also unwanted effects to be aware of. These include:
• Nausea
• Dizziness
• Drowsiness
• Vomiting
• Dissociation
• Double Vision

Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy is safe, and isn’t intended to be about the “trip” so to speak. It’s about getting the deep benefits and enhanced brain pathways that lead to relief from symptoms.
As the clinic NY Ketamine points out, KAP “works by stimulating… growth between the neurons connecting our mood centers… It is not dependent upon what you experience during the infusion.” The effects of ketamine are quite strong for seeing oneself with objectivity, analyzing one’s thoughts, experiences, and emotions, and recovery from the effects of trauma. These effects can be prolonged with the help of integration sessions after each infusion or injection, which is our protocol at Hopemark Health. By using ketamine to break past internal blockages, shift mindsets, and meet goals, therapists can deliver highly effective treatment.

Furthermore, ketamine’s effects aid in stopping depression, healing the negative effects of prolonged stress on the brain, and allowing deep, long-lasting healing.

Benefits Indicate Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy is Safe

Ketamine is praised for its general lack of side effects and speed of recovery. While some may be afraid of using medications for diagnoses like depression due to side effects, there is little fear of using ketamine. This is because it hasn’t been shown to be addictive and is a very potent treatment under the right circumstances. KAP helps you unpack emotional baggage that weighs you down. And for an estimated 70% of people who take ketamine to relieve a diagnosis, the benefits of ketamine continue after the trip has ended. Ketamine has even been shown to have anti-suicidal effects.

Why Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy Is Safe

Of the 16 million Americans who are diagnosed with depression, a significant portion would like to avoid being dependent on antidepressants. This is due to common side effects such as nausea and sexual dysfunction. More and more Americans wake up to the opportunity ketamine-assisted therapy offers.
For those seeking ketamine-assisted therapy in Illinois, we have locations ready to help in Naperville, Chicago, and Oak Brook. Contact us to schedule an appointment and get to a good-feeling place soon.

1200 630 Taylor Carter

Taylor Carter

Taylor Carter is a dynamic Senior Marketing Manager with a passion for crafting compelling narratives and driving impactful campaigns. She has been an integral part of the Hopemark Health team for the past two years. By combining industry insights and medical facts with a deep understanding of the patient experience, Taylor continuously seeks to uplift and empower individuals on their journey to well-being.

Article by: Taylor Carter