Did you know that since the COVID-19 pandemic, anxiety and depression have increased by 25% globally? The rates of mental illnesses are higher than ever, and more people need effective treatments.
Unfortunately, it can take weeks to months to see a specialist, and antidepressant medications are notorious for taking their time working. What if you end up months later and still haven’t found a solution?
Ketamine assisted psychotherapy is a more natural approach to treating mental health conditions. Are you interested in learning how you can get started?
Don’t let anxiety keep you from living your life. Instead, read our complete guide on ketamine therapy and find out how you can find the help you need.
The Science Behind Anxiety
Anxiety is a normal human emotion that most people have close experiences with. Everyone feels anxiety to different extents and frequencies.
This simple but well-known fact is primarily what distinguishes it from a mental health disorder and regular emotion. Anxiety disorders are mental illnesses characterized by:
- Excessive nervousness
Severe anxiety can affect more than just how a person feels. It can cause several physical symptoms and limit daily function. Anxiety triggers your ‘fight-or-flight’ response. To a degree – this response is necessary for survival and managing stressful situations.
Anxiety disorders stem from abnormal fight-or-flight responses. This person may have many physical symptoms such as nausea, high blood pressure, insomnia, and restlessness.
The causes of anxiety are more complex than genetics, although that is a contributing factor. Other reasons anxiety disorders may develop are:
- Environmental stressors
- Other medical diagnoses
- Misaligned hormones or electrical signals
- Substance abuse
There are seven main anxiety types, but in this guide, it isn’t as important to target individual mental health conditions. Some of the more common anxiety disorders are generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder.
There are two main anxiety treatments:
Medication has primarily been the gold-standard treatment for anxiety management. Recently, more self-care options are also getting mixed in.
Self-care is an important part of mental health and wellness. Some examples of self-care for anxiety include:
- Sleep management
Eliminating lifestyle factors that contribute to anxiety can also help, such as smoking or excessive alcohol use. Most medications fall under the antidepressant or sedative categories.
Lastly, psychotherapy is a tool for depression and anxiety. Psychotherapy involves counseling with skilled and qualified medical clinicians.
Anxiety Medication Pros and Cons
The most common anxiety medications are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). This class of medication helps the brain have more available serotonin and is the first line of medication used when treating anxiety. The most common examples of these medications are:
The positive aspect of these medications is that they are non-habit-forming and can positively affect anxiety symptoms. However, they take weeks before you can start noticing a difference, and some people have uncomfortable side effects. There are other forms of anxiety medications, such as:
- Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
- Tricyclic antidepressants
These medications all have similar downsides. They each have their risk of side effects and are not helpful for everyone. Some of the more common anxiety medication side effects include:
- Blurred vision
- Weight gain
Drugs such as benzodiazepines have a risk for addiction and dependence. Additionally, opting for beta-blockers can affect your cardiac health and heart rhythm. For some, medications may be helpful in conjunction with counseling or therapy.
What Is Psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy is a form of talk therapy or counseling. Unlike general counseling, psychotherapy aims to find the root of mental health struggles. Psychotherapy is primarily used for treating the following conditions:
- Self-esteem issues
- Bipolar disorder
Typically, these sessions are run by skilled professionals. These individuals could be psychologists, psychiatrists, or licensed social workers. During psychotherapy, many different approaches may be taken, such as:
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Interpersonal therapy
- Psychodynamic therapy
- Family therapy
- Group therapy
- And more
It largely depends on the clinician’s expertise and the patient’s symptoms. CBT is an excellent tool for many mental health illnesses. Most studies have focused on its role in treating:
- Eating disorders
It isn’t uncommon for a therapist to combine multiple approaches or suggest using medication too. The benefit of psychotherapy is that you can create positive, long-term results. Health experts have suggested that patients could notice an improvement in as little as six to 12 sessions.
What Are the Benefits of Psychotherapy?
Psychotherapy’s benefits include helping a person work through underlying causes of anxiety. A qualified therapist can help patients view circumstances and situations in a new light.
They can also help them brainstorm solutions. Ultimately, the patient will benefit from a new perspective and attitude on:
- Goals and values
- Coping skills
Most of the long-term benefits reside in a participant’s willingness and the quality of therapy. Each therapist may have a different technique and relationship with the patient. It is important to explore therapist-to-patient tactics that work for you.
Let’s look at CBT as an example. The goal of CBT is to help a person identify negative thought patterns. The focus on negative thought patterns is that it contributes to behavioral issues.
These thoughts can also impact your mood. The benefit of CBT is it helps you engage in healthy and positive thought patterns, it is a short-term treatment, and it is more cost friendly.
How Does Ketamine Help Anxiety?
Now that you know a little more about the benefits of psychotherapy, let’s dive into what ketamine is. Ketamine is a non-narcotic drug that is FDA-approved for anesthesia.
Off-label, ketamine is also used for treating depression and other mental health conditions. The FDA has not approved its use for mental health diagnoses, but some studies have proven it is helpful.
Research on anxiety and depression with ketamine shows anti-anxiety and depressive effects. Some of the common side effects of ketamine are:
Recent studies have looked at ketamine and depression, determining it helps reduce symptoms and suicide ideation. As a bonus – treatments started working after one session!
Outside of a more immediate effect than antidepressants, the results also lasted long after the session finished. The current research has led to an FDA approval for esketamine for depression.
Esketamine is similar in its molecular makeup to ketamine. It is a dissociative hallucinogen that is primarily used for general anesthesia. Researchers hope that a similar prescription brand will be available for ketamine soon.
Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy
As the name sounds – ketamine assisted psychotherapy combines the best of both worlds. It uses ketamine infusions with psychotherapy sessions.
During a ketamine assisted session, a skilled clinician will administer a ketamine infusion. Experts recommend that infusions last between 40 and 55 minutes. You may need up to six sessions.
With an infusion, a skilled practitioner will constantly monitor you. This ensures that your vitals and physical health are not negatively impacted.
Unlike ketamine for anesthesia, the patient remains awake. It is common to have feelings such as:
- Limb heaviness
You can close your eyes or listen to meditative music. The calming effects of ketamine can help ease feelings of depression and anxiety. Ketamine assisted psychotherapy also includes sessions with a psychotherapist.
These professionals will constantly monitor your mental and physical state throughout the infusion. You will also have time to discuss your concerns and expectations regarding treatment.
Is Ketamine Therapy Similar to Microdosing?
Microdosing is commonly used with psilocybin. Psilocybin is a natural psychedelic that may be better known under the name ‘shrooms.’
Your body naturally produces some psilocybin, although many users take psilocybin for a psychedelic experience. Microdosing is a term that entails only using a small portion of psilocybin.
The psychedelic experience is not the goal of microdosing. It is used for more awareness and mood improvement, which is why many people use microdosing for:
- Other mood disorders
Ketamine is often misconstrued as a psychedelic. It is not considered a classic example of psychedelics, but it produces many similar results. Since it can have a dissociative effect, many experts think the FDA approval of esketamine will help pave the way for other forms of psychedelic treatments for mental health conditions.
Ketamine and psilocybin treatments can be useful for treating anxiety, so talk to a skilled clinic before starting treatment about which one is best for you.
Finding Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy in Arizona
Have you wondered how you can find ketamine assisted psychotherapy near you? Luckily, there are plenty of highly qualified clinics that can help you treat your anxiety.
Ketamine has shown positive results in reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression in shorter periods compared to medications. Combined with psychotherapy, you can have long-lasting and positive results!
What are you waiting for? Contact us today and find out how ketamine infusions can help you!