Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy

Treatment Options - Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy

Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy (KAP) is a non-traditional therapy tool for people with persistent depressive symptoms. Over the past few years, ketamine has been used in psychiatry as an intervention for treatment-resistant depression.

Ketamine is known for its pain relief and psychedelic use. In fact, in 2019, Ketamine became the first FDA-approved psychedelic drug for use in treatment-resistant depression. KAP is also known as Psychedelic Assisted Psychotherapy.

At Options MD, our therapists have successfully used Ketamine for its psychedelic properties. Ketamine can place patients in a hypnotic, dream-like, or fully dissociative trance-like state, reducing inhibitive walls that limit progress for patients with depression.

Uses for
Ketamine-Assisted Therapy

Over the last two decades, Ketamine has been successfully used to treat chronic pain, depression, and other mental health concerns, such as post-traumatic stress, addiction, and anxiety.

Ketamine can generate quick antidepressant effects, providing immediate relief from emotional and physical pain. Although the effect of the drug is temporary, multiple sessions can have a cumulative effect and alleviate symptoms for patients with treatment-resistant depression.

How Ketamine-Assisted
Psychotherapy Works

Psychotherapy, as a practice, aims to equip you with the tools needed to cope with your emotional response to past and present life challenges.

When memories or situations trigger overwhelming emotions, they can induce anxiety and trigger your defense mechanism. Psychotherapy provides an environment where you can feel safe and work towards changing maladaptive defense mechanisms. However, this can be a fairly slow process.

At Options MD, we have seen how Ketamine-assisted treatment can boost and intensify the results of psychotherapy. This is because Ketamine lowers your default emotional self-defense mechanism. In other words, Ketamine may lower the “walls” you may have made in your mind and this allows for deeper self-reflection during psychotherapy. Ketamine is also thought to stimulate new neurons in the brain, so the effects can be long lasting.

The combination of Ketamine and psychotherapy creates an intensely cathartic experience and gives impetus for change. In this state, a memory or emotion that was previously overwhelming may seem less staggering.

What to Expect

When you go into a KAP session, you will be asked to relax in a quiet room while you take the prescribed dose of Ketamine. Your therapist may play soft music and have you put on an eye mask to make your experience calm and therapeutic.

The drug takes about 10 minutes to take effect, and you will likely experience its dissociative effects. Your therapist will then guide you through a psychotherapy session for the next 45 minutes or so. For many people, the experience can act as a strong catalyst for change.

Ketamine can be administered in any of the following forms.

  • As a lozenge that dissolves under the tongue
  • As a nasal spray
  • As an intramuscular injection
  • As an injection into your vein

Expected side effects of ketamine can include dizziness, nausea, and rapid heartbeat.

Use Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy to Get the Help You Need

Finding the proper treatment when you have treatment-resistant depression can be challenging. Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy is one of the 200 treatment options our expert team can consider when developing your treatment plan.

If you want to explore using Ketamine assisted therapy, Options MD is here to help. 

Text us to get all your questions answered. 

Join our Facebook community, where you can connect with others with treatment-resistant depression. 

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