Ketamine: An Introduction

Ketamine: An Introduction

More than ever, the world needs mental health treatment. There’s no mistaking the mental health crisis the entire world is going through. Just look at these stats from the National Alliance on Mental Illness: in the United States alone, nearly 1 in 5 adults experience mental illness, and 16% of American youths experience mental health disorders as well.

Countless studies in the last few decades confirm exactly what we have feared: levels of anxiety and depression are higher than they have been in a long time. This 2012 study, this 2015 study, and this 1989 study all show that levels of depression have been rising consistently since the ‘60s and ‘70s, and have in a sense plateaued at their current level.

Of those suffering, not even half receive the treatment they need. Additionally, there is not a single practicing psychiatrist to be found in more than half of the counties in the United States.

In the midst of this mental health crisis, new treatments are being examined for those suffering. For the last few decades, the most common solution has been to put a band-aid on the pain – prescribe another antidepressant to dull the symptoms.

With the eventual erasure of the stigma against psychedelics and other new treatments looming over the horizon, hundreds of providers around the world are now using ketamine to treat mental health disorders like depression, PTSD, anxiety, OCD, and more.

What is ketamine?

Ketamine is a medication first discovered in 1962. It was quickly tested and approved for use in the United States within a decade and saw extensive use as a surgical anesthetic in the Vietnam War. It is still used for anesthesia today, even finding its way onto the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines.

New research in the last two decades indicates ketamine may actually be an important treatment for mental health disorders as well as chronic pain conditions.

One common method of administration is via intravenous (IV) infusion. IV ketamine infusion treatment consists of a series of low-dose infusions over a period of two or three weeks.

Unlike antidepressants, ketamine treatment can begin to offer relief rapidly after the first infusion for some patients.

What does ketamine treat?

  • Depression: Major depressive disorder, also known as clinical depression, is a serious and common mental health condition. As much as 16 million adults suffer from depression in the United States each year.
  • Bipolar Disorder: Also known as manic depression, bipolar disorder is a mood disorder that affects your ability to concentrate or perform everyday tasks. People with bipolar disorder experience changes in mood and energy, switching between manic episodes and episodes of depression.
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Many of us will go through traumatic events at some point, and some of us will go on to develop PTSD. The symptoms of PTSD do not go away on their own and may only get worse as time passes, so do not be afraid to seek treatment.
  • Anxiety Disorders: Anxiety is a normal human emotion, especially felt during stressful periods. However, if you experience anxiety that goes past the normal level, you may have an anxiety disorder like generalized anxiety disorder or obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD).
  • Chronic Pain Disorders: Chronic pain is any pain that lasts for longer than three months at a time. Chronic pain conditions include arthritis, fibromyalgia, neuropathy, and more.

Why is ketamine so important?

Ketamine is simply a new treatment option with impressive and inspiring results that can help 70% or more of patients on their path to overall wellness.

That said, we should remain excited about the potential ketamine has a treatment option. In the words of Thomas Insel, former Director of the National Institute of Mental Health – ketamine may be the “most important breakthrough in antidepressant treatment in decades.”

How do I find a ketamine infusion clinic?

Fortunately, new clinics open nearly every day and the number is rapidly increasing. If there’s no clinic or provider near you, there may be one soon.

Check out some helpful directories like our sister site, Ketamine Directory, dedicated to connecting you with a provider near your location.

Final Thoughts

With any medication or treatment option, you should always consult your primary care physician or a licensed practitioner on any questions you have about your overall care or an innovative new treatment like ketamine. If you’re interested in learning more about the clinical use of ketamine, we would encourage you to do your own research or reach out to trusted healthcare providers in your area. You can also consult free resources like Ketamine Directory to find care near you.

The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained on or available through this web site is for general information purposes only.

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