We’ve written before on this blog about how effective ketamine infusions are for treating depression and chronic pain, but did you know that ketamine is also frequently used to treat symptoms of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD? PTSD is often described as a state of hyperarousal that occurs in people who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. People suffering from PTSD have intense, disturbing thoughts and feelings long after the event has occurred, which can take the form of flashbacks and nightmares. Approximately 70% of people around the world have been exposed to at least one lifetime traumatic experience and around 5% develop PTSD from that trauma. These traumatic experiences can take many different forms, including, but not limited to, military combat to natural disasters, interpersonal violence, and childhood trauma. If you have experienced trauma and are suffering from PTSD, know that you’re not alone. And if you have had difficulty treating your symptoms with medication like SSRIs, know that you have other options. Ketamine infusions are a new, alternative treatment for PTSD, especially for those who have not responded well to other treatments for their symptoms. Continue reading to learn more about ketamine infusions for PTSD, visit our Research & Press page to browse articles, and if you’d like to learn more about what Karitas Ketamine Clinic can do for you, get in touch today or visit us in West Covina!
Challenges of Treating PTSD
PTSD is difficult to treat, and there is currently only one class of medication approved to treat the symptoms of this psychiatric disorder. The SSRIs currently used usually have few side effects, but people using these medications have a very hard time fully relieving their symptoms. As such, these medications become a way of coping with the symptoms without getting to the source of the anxiety. Beyond the lack of multiple medication options, there are also personal and cultural barriers to treating PTSD. There are many barriers to mental health care and even when a provider is found, they may not be trained in trauma-informed treatments. Many survivors have difficulty admitting that they’re struggling with symptoms of PTSD, especially vetan populations. One of the core symptoms of PTSD is avoidance, and survivors of trauma often avoid disclosure of traumatic experiences. The first step in finding relief, though, is disclosing that you are suffering. If you are experiencing any of these PTSD symptoms, talking to a healthcare professional can help with:
- Nightmares of traumatic events or insomnia
- Avoiding situations or other triggers that may bring back memories of the trauma
- Heightened reaction or response to situations and agitation, irritability, and hypervigilance
- Intrusive flashbacks, fear, and severe anxiety
- Loss of interest in activities that used to bring you joy
- Emotional detachment
Ketamine Therapy – A New PTSD Treatment
Current antidepressants focus on serotonin or serotonin and norepinephrine, which is why they are categorized as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). Serotonin and norepinephrine are two neurotransmitters that help the brain communicate. The dominant theory is that depression is caused by insufficient amounts of these transmitters in the brain. Though more research needs to be done, ketamine works by engaging a different neurotransmitter — glutamate. Ketamine is thought to work by pushing the brain to produce more glutamate, the most abundant neurotransmitter in the brain and central nervous system. Glutamate is involved in nearly every major excitatory brain function. Ketamine is an NMDA receptor antagonist. That receptor is used to control glutamate, which excites the brain. Ketamine can slow that down at higher doses, helping to calm your brain. Because glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter, it’s role it to help neurons fire. If you think of the brain as a circuit, glutamate helps complete that circuit. In the brain of someone with PTSD, the circuit has been overwhelmed by the stress of experiencing a traumatic event. This can cause the circuit to break or short out in some areas. Glutamate can help calm a brain that is overactive and stress, helping the brain form new connections, new circuits. When we’re put under severe stress, or suffering from anxiety and depression, the brain can get into certain patterns of thought. Ketamine infusions can help the brain break out of those patterns and, with a comprehensive mental health treatment plan, help those suffering from PTSD find relief. You can learn more about the importance of having a comprehensive mental health treatment plan and how ketamine infusions can fit into your plan here in our previous blog post. The ketamine experience can be very powerful, and it’s important to feel comfortable with the people who are administering the ketamine infusion. Here at Karitas Ketamine Clinic, we firmly believe that you almost have to feel like family when you come in, so you can feel comfortable and achieve positive results. Stop by our West Covina ketamine clinic and see what makes us different.
While more research needs to be done on the effectiveness of ketamine infusions for treating PTSD, the current findings are promising. Based on research done in animal studies, randomized and controlled trials, and case reports — summarized here on the NCBI website — ketamine has been shown to result in a near complete resolution of PTSD symptoms over the short term. Ketamine infusions work quickly, and can provide relief from symptoms for some patients within a single session. It has also been found to be an effective tool for those who have not been able to find relief through other treatment methods. Here at Karitas Ketamine Clinic, we’ve seen first hand how ketamine can change people’s lives, that’s why we started our West Covina ketamine clinic in the first place. And it’s also why we strive to provide clients with the most affordable ketamine infusions possible. We want to make this treatment accessible to everyone who needs it. Follow our blog to learn more about the illnesses ketamine infusions can help treat — including severe anxiety, bipolar depression, and chronic pain. Visit our FAQ page, explore further ketamine research and press, and contact us today to set up an appointment. If you’ve found this blog post useful, explore our other blog posts about how ketamine infusions can help improve your quality of life:
- Ketamine for Neuropathic Pain
- Benefits of Ketamine for Depression
- Ketamine for Chronic Pain
- How Ketamine Works to Help Severe Depression