Did you know that one in 13 Americans suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD?
It’s essential to be able to manage it the right way to live a normal, happy life. Treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder are incredibly varied. From therapists to medications to visual aids, many people find a new way to manage their struggles with PTSD.
Traditionally, medications such as antidepressants are prescribed for PTSD. But many veterans are finding relief from ketamine therapy.
If you’re struggling with PTSD or know someone who is, you’ve come to the right place. Keep reading to learn how ketamine therapy is helping veterans.
Veterans may experience a number of different symptoms. They can vary from person to person, even if they experienced similar trauma. Here are a few common PTSD systems that ketamine-assisted psychotherapy can help:
- thoughts/actions of self-harm
- trouble sleeping
- difficulty maintaining and creating relationships
- aggressive behavior
What is Ketamine
You’ve probably heard of people using ketamine illegally as a party drug, but it’s used legally for many other reasons. It was originally used as an anesthetic for animals and then later for people.
It was first discovered to assist with reducing PTSD symptoms during the Iraq war in the 1990s. Soldiers who had in and received ketamine as an anesthetic had significantly fewer symptoms of PTSD than those who didn’t.
Ketamine reacts to the chemicals in the brain, causing disassociation. It’s becoming popular because it provides instant relief.
Currently, there isn’t a way to use ketamine as a preventative drug for soldiers in battle. It’s also not as effective for people with mild PTSD. However, those with moderate to severe symptoms will benefit the most from ketamine treatment.
Ketamine can be beneficial for a variety of people, including those who have extreme depression and anxiety. Those who have experienced childhood and adult trauma can also have positive ketamine treatments.
How It Works
There are many ways to take ketamine; however, iv infusion and nasal spray are how medical professionals administer it. While ketamine therapy in Arizona reduces and sometimes eliminates all symptoms immediately, it’s also been proven to be effective long-term.
It allows the brain to rebuild and heal its neural connections that were damaged by prolonged stress and depression. It also affects the glutamate system, which is the neurotransmitter in the nervous system. This allows the mood hormones to move more naturally through the mood.
Chronic inflammation can cause depression, and ketamine has properties that help with reducing inflammation. This is a major reason why ketamine treatments are used for vets with depression.
Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy (KAP) typically takes about an hour. You’ll receive monitoring the entire time by a professional, and you’ll listen to medication or watch nature shows or something else calming to you.
You’ll have access to a therapist for support through the whole process, even after you leave the clinic. You’ll consult with a therapist or nurse to talk about your goals and concerns.
They will also be able to answer any questions. Your vitals will be taken before, during, and after treatment, as your health is the primary focus.
Each person’s treatment is different. A doctor will decide how many sessions you need.
Usually, it’s about six times over the span of a few weeks or months. They will also decide the dosage you receive, and it may change during the treatment based on your reaction and needs.
During your session, you’ll likely feel disconnected and possibly have an altered sense of yourself. Some people report feeling heavy and extra sensitive to sounds and light. You’ll be conscious and awake the entire time.
You’ll feel extremely relaxed. The goal of the session is to help distract you from your trauma so your brain can heal. These effects don’t last long after the iv fusion is done; side effects subside in about 15 minutes.
Ketamine benefits many veterans, but it’s important to know about other side effects that may occur during or after treatment. There’s a chance you’ll experience an increase in your heart rate and blood pressure. You may also face tiredness or drowsiness following each session.
Becoming addicted to ketamine therapy is unlikely. However, if you struggle with addiction, it’s important to tell the therapist or doctor before treatment.
If you’re on other medication, whether it be blood pressure medicine or antidepressants, it’s important to tell the therapist or nurse. Ketamine could infer with your other health programs.
While most of the side effects don’t last long, some can linger longer than others, and for that reason, it’s not safe to drive right after the session. Have someone drive you to and from your appointment, so you don’t have to worry and stress about finding a ride after your relaxing ketamine experience.
Treatment costs can vary, but they typically cost from $500 to $800. However, the VA will help cover some, if not all of it. If you have other insurance, be sure to reach out to them for support.
Don’t let finances be the reason you continuously live in pain and in a depressive state. There are many resources that can help you get the care you deserve.
Find a Therapy Center
When you’re searching for a place to get ketamine treatment, you need to be on the lookout for a few things. The place you decide to go to should be reputable. The first step would be to talk to your doctor or therapist; they may have suggestions.
You can also talk to fellow veterans and ask them if they have ketamine-assisted psychotherapy. If they have, be sure to ask them about their experience and where they went to get it.
You can also look at online reviews. The doctors and therapists should be licensed and certified; don’t be afraid to ask to see their qualifications. It’s important that you feel comfortable, and you should ask about their experience working with veterans as your struggles can differ from other people’s.
While ketamine for veterans is a fairly new treatment route, there have been many studies that show its benefits of it. The school of medicine at Yale performed a study specifically on veterans who suffer from PTSD.
The purpose of their study was to find out the effects of different dosages. They randomly placed participants into three groups, low dose, standard dose, and placebo. Each veteran received two dosages a week for four weeks and were then evaluated for four more weeks.
Another study published in the National Library of Medicine took a group of 30 veterans with PTSD. They each were administered ketamine via iv infusion for one hour six different times.
Each veteran received a series of questions at the beginning and the end of the treatment. The purpose was to observe how the ketamine treatment affected their depression, PTSD, and possible substance abuse.
The results showed a decrease in the participants’ depression and PTSD. However, the ketamine infusion didn’t have a large effect on substance abuse.
This particle study didn’t have a long follow-up process in place. If the veterans’ PTSD and depression came back after a while is unknown in this study.
The disassociating part of the treatment is the most important. It allows many veterans to change their mindset, their beliefs, and the way they think about their traumatic experiences.
It’s also important to know that the setting of the sessions and studies can make a big difference in the results. Each veteran had someone with them; it was a doctor, nurse, or therapist to help through the disassociating process.
The more studies that are performed, the better. Overall, the research so far does support a decrease in PTSD symptoms for veterans.
The medications used to treat PTSD can be ineffective, produce adverse side effects, and even become a crutch for the patient against his or her best interests. Many veterans end up avoiding other activities for fear of triggering symptoms.
For many veterans, PTSD can also lead to suicide. Fortunately, scientists are discovering new treatment options for this crippling condition. As you can see, a breakthrough was made when researchers started studying ketamine therapy.
While it can be overwhelming to try a new form of therapy, it’s worth it, and ketamine therapy may be able to get you some relief. We hope you found this article helpful. Contact us with your questions.