Ketamine treatments can be an effective tool to treatments PTSD – with the possibility of immediate and lasting effects.
PTSD is often associated with veterans of the armed forces or emergency services personnel, but it also affects men and women and children of all kinds and from all walks of life – with an estimated lifetime prevalence of around 7% of all adult Americans. PTSD can result from car accidents, abuse, or traumatic incidents of any kind. Experiencing trauma is common, but when your response develops into PTSD, relief can be hard to achieve.
Ketamine treatments have been shown to effectively treat PTSD for many patients, whether occurring alone or with other symptoms. Ketamine independently improves the symptoms of PTSD as well as improving the symptoms of depression and anxiety that often occur with PTSD.
Ketamine treatments may be able to help with PTSD even when other treatments haven’t worked, or haven’t worked well.
There are many options or tools for treating PTSD including processing therapies, exposure therapies, desensitization therapies, other psychotherapies, behavior modifications, and medication management. Ketamine treatments can be an exceptional option to add to this toolbox.
The most appropriate infusion option to treat psychiatric symptoms, including depression, is typically a one-hour low-dose infusion. This includes 40 minutes of active infusion and a 20-minute active recovery before being released to go home. In total, patients spend about an hour and a half with us at each visit.
The low-dose infusions typically start around 0.5mg/kg/hr and may be adjusted to the response of the patient. Patients frequently describe the experience of a low-dose infusion as floating or “floaty” and may experience mild visual hallucinations and other similar mild side effects that wear off quickly after the infusion. We work hard to avoid any uncomfortable experiences. Although serious side effects are unlikely we provide physician administration, continuous monitoring, safety equipment, and protocols consistent with best practices for the procedure and with the Texas Medical Board Codes for office-based anesthesia.
A series of infusions followed by maintenance treatments provide greater and longer-lasting relief – with each subsequent infusion in a series building upon the last. We often start with a series of 6 infusions, administered once or twice a week, over several weeks. The initial series is followed by maintenance treatments as needed. Maintenance treatments often start about every 3 to 5 weeks. Over time we work with patients to extend the length of time between these infusions.
Ultimately, the number and frequency of treatments is variable from patient to patient depending on such factors as the severity of the symptoms, the other medications a patient may be on, and the patient’s response to the treatments.
For treating PTSD alone, we have found that less total infusions may be required than treating depression or than treating depression with PTSD. For patients treating PTSD alone, it may be appropriate to start with a short series of infusions followed by infusions on an as-needed basis to address symptoms including around triggering times or events.