Anxiety, often responds very quickly to ketamine treatment.
Ketamine treatments may be helpful for a variety of anxiety symptoms – including generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, and specific phobias – Whether anxiety is present by itself, accompanying depression or other mood disorders, occurring with other diagnoses such as Autism Spectrum Disorder and Aspergers, or precipitated by factors such terminal illness or end-of-life care.
Many studies on low-dose ketamine treatments for mood disorders have examined, and shown good results for, the treatment of both depression and anxiety. This is likely because these conditions frequently occur together. According to one analysis: “Between 10% and 20% of adults in any given 12-month period will visit their primary care physician during an anxiety or depressive disorder episode …; more than 50% of these patients suffer from a comorbid second depressive or anxiety disorder.”
While many anti-anxiety medicines just cover or mask the symptoms without treating the underlying causes, ketamine appears to work differently. Ketamine appears to improve healthy neural function and brain activity.
We have successfully treated patients who have lost their jobs, families, and have spent years burdened with extreme anxiety. Patients and their treating physicians describe improvements from the treatments including reductions in negative thoughts, and improved sleep.
The most appropriate infusion option to treat psychiatric symptoms, including anxiety, 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.