Ketamine for Trauma and PTSD

"Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) continues to make headlines given multiple military engagements across the world and civilian traumas, and resultant PTSD development continues at an even pace. Currently, antidepressant and cognitive-behavioral therapy have the greatest evidence base but still do not yield a remission of PTSD symptoms in many patients. Off-label and novel treatments continue to be considered for more refractory and disabling cases of PTSD. Ketamine is one such treatment that has been discussed and utilized more often for treatment-resistant major depressive disorder (MDD). "

Ketamine Can Help Process Traumatic Memories

Ketamine, traditionally known as an anesthetic, has been explored in recent years for its potential therapeutic effects on mental health, including its use in addressing trauma-related conditions. It’s important to note that the use of ketamine for trauma is still an area of active research, and the clinical evidence is evolving. 

7 Key Considerations Regarding Ketamine as a Treatment for PTSD

  1. Off-Label Use: Ketamine is not currently approved by regulatory agencies, such as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for the treatment of trauma-related conditions. However, it is sometimes used off-label in clinical settings where other treatments have not been effective.

  2. Mechanism of Action: Ketamine is thought to work through its interaction with the glutamate system, a neurotransmitter involved in learning and memory. It may also have anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective effects.

  3. Clinical Settings: Ketamine for trauma is typically administered in controlled and supervised clinical settings. This can be in the form of intravenous (IV) infusions, intramuscular injections, or even intranasal administration.

  4. Rapid Effects: One of the notable characteristics of ketamine is its rapid onset of action. Some individuals report feeling relief from symptoms shortly after treatment.

  5. Types of Trauma: Ketamine has been studied in the context of various trauma-related conditions, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and treatment-resistant depression. Research is ongoing to determine its efficacy and safety for these conditions.

  6. Integration with Psychotherapy: Ketamine treatment is often combined with psychotherapy (talk-therapy) sessions. The idea is that the drug’s effects may help individuals engage more effectively in therapy and process traumatic memories.

  7. Individual Responses: Responses to ketamine can vary widely among individuals. Some people may experience significant improvements in symptoms, while others may not respond as well.

It’s crucial for individuals considering ketamine treatment for trauma to consult with qualified mental health professionals who can assess their specific needs and provide guidance on the potential risks and benefits based on the latest scientific evidence. DayTryp invites you to schedule a consultation with one of our physicians to determine if this advanced treatment option is right for you.


Liriano, F., Hatten, C., & Schwartz, T. L. (2019). Ketamine as treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder: a review. Drugs in context8, 212305.

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