An Introduction to Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy

In the US, ketamine has been used as an anesthetic in medical settings since 1970. It is a psychoactive medication that was first produced in 1962. Ketamine’s rapid onset antidepressant effects, which can sometimes provide almost instant relief from emotional and physical pain, have led to its off-label use at sub-anesthetic doses for the past 20 years to treat chronic pain, depression, and a range of other mental health issues.

What is Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy?

A novel treatment approach called ketamine-assisted therapy (KAT) is used to treat a range of mental health issues, such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, severe pain, addictions, and some types of anxiety. The therapeutic process is enhanced and deepened with ketamine, and the curative effects of the drug are amplified and prolonged through psychotherapy and other integrated types of care.

Ketamine can assist psychotherapy in modest doses because it offers a chance for a brief thinning out of psychological barriers, allowing for more in-depth self-reflection and psychotherapeutic processing.

Ketamine produces psychedelic effects in modest dosages, which have been proven to promote significant transpersonal experiences. These encounters can benefit individuals in several ways, including providing crucial clarity and understanding of one’s difficulties, bringing a spiritual perspective to ongoing psychotherapy, and fostering a feeling of purpose and interconnectedness.

How Effective is Ketamine Therapy?

Because it interacts with a few of your brain’s neurotransmitter receptors, ketamine is a psychoactive drug. As well as functioning as an antidepressant, its benefits may include reducing anxiety and pain. Lower doses of ketamine, when taken under medical supervision, can help you relax and momentarily break away from your habitual mental patterns. Studies have shown that ketamine can effectively lower anxiety and depression in conjunction with psychotherapy.

How Does Ketamine Therapy Feel?

Ketamine is gaining popularity as a treatment for mood disorders such as sadness and anxiety. Suicidality is considerably reduced by it. This is presumably due to the brain’s numerous neurochemical and structural changes brought on by ketamine administration. For instance, ketamine increases the levels of glutamate and GABA, two crucial neurotransmitters that simultaneously reduce anxiety and increase the ability to feel excitement once more.

Since every individual may experience the effects of ketamine differently, it is challenging to describe how it feels to take it. You can feel disconnected as if you are looking at your body and thoughts from without rather than from within. Other words used to describe the feeling include “euphoric,” “calming,” and “mystical.”

What are the Potential Outcomes of KAP?

Often, avoidant, nervous, and self-isolating behaviors accompany clinical depression. As with dissociative disorders, trauma victims frequently feel cut off from others and occasionally even from different parts of themselves. Theoretically, loss of control illnesses like addictions, disordered eating, and repetitive body-focused behaviors may also be connected to isolation and dissociation.

Therapy is seen as a collaborative process, and ketamine is seen as a catalyst for recovery. Patients and therapists identify adaptive actions to promote a meaningful existence based on the patient’s values during ketamine-assisted psychotherapy. Then, while the neuroplastic properties of ketamine facilitate behavioral changes, patients are encouraged to apply these habits.

Some patients can maintain their ketamine results indefinitely by continuing these behaviors and other integrative therapies. Others might gain from sporadic ketamine booster procedures.

To learn more, reach out to Ryan Hicks, LPC, LMFT for a consultation. Ryan is available and very glad to walk you through what KAP can look like for you and help you choose a long-term effective strategy that’s just right for what you are looking for and needing.