Ketamine for PTSD

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Ketamine for PTSD

For some patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), ketamine has been reported to alleviate symptoms within just a few hours, as opposed to the weeks or months psychotherapy and some medications require. While each patient’s situation and conditions are different, approximately 75% of patients using ketamine therapy for PTSD experience relief from symptoms. This is exciting news for sufferers of this crippling condition.

What is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health condition that can occur after someone experiences or witnesses a traumatic event. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, and depression. PTSD can lead to social isolation, alcoholism, addiction, and suicidal ideation.

The primary cause of this condition is some type of traumatic event, such as childhood abuse or sexual or domestic violence, that alters the brain, thereby causing psychological and neurological changes. Researchers are still trying to determine why some people develop post-traumatic stress disorder after a trauma or stressful experience while others do not.

Symptoms of PTSD

Symptoms of PTSD involve a range of symptoms with one of the most common being disruptive flashbacks. Flashbacks can involve hallucinations of a particular event from the past. It is also common to daydream about the trauma. You may also have experience night terrors or have nightmares.

Avoidance is yet another symptom. PTSD sufferers go so far as to avoid locations or people that act as a trigger for PTSD symptoms. Avoidance also includes refusing to talk to others about the traumatic experience that you went through, which can severely limit your ability to heal.

Additional symptoms of PTSD can include:

  • Outburst of anger or irritability
  • Feelings of shame or guilt
  • Loss of appetite or nausea
  • Constantly feeling “on edge”


Symptoms of PTSD often begin shortly after experiencing a traumatic event. However, there are some people that go years without issues until something in their life triggers a PTSD response. This tends to occur in people who suffered childhood abuse where that person may have suppressed painful memories or events from earlier years.

Traditional Therapies for PTSD

The current model for treating PTSD uses a combination of psychotherapy and antidepressants and/or anti-anxiety medications. Some of the most common types of psychotherapies used are:

  • Exposure Therapy – Exposure therapy is a type of behavioral therapy that involves exposing a person to the thing they are afraid of. The goal is to help the person learn to cope with their fear and eventually overcome it. 
  • Cognitive Therapy – Cognitive therapy is a type of psychotherapy that helps people change their negative thinking and behavior patterns. It is based on the premise that our thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are all interrelated and that our thoughts can influence our emotions and actions.
  • Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) – EMDR is a therapeutic technique that uses eye movements or bilateral stimulation to help the patient process traumas. This process is thought to help the brain process and store memories more effectively, which can reduce stress and anxiety.


Studies have shown that 46% of people reported improvement after 6 weeks of psychotherapy, with 62% who receive medication reporting improvement. Unfortunately, these numbers reveal that many people do not respond to psychotherapy. In addition, relief provided by medication is better than no relief at all but it is a “band aid” approach to a bigger problem. Truly healing the trauma in such a way that you can release and be free of PTSD is what Daytryp Health strives to achieve.

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Ketamine Treatment for PTSD

A traumatic event can significantly affect the way the cerebral cortex functions. The cerebral cortex is partially responsible for thought processes that take place during and after a traumatic event. Our current understanding is that that specific synapses in the brain fail to operate properly following a traumatic event, which leads to the misfiring of neurotransmitters. Using ketamine for PTSD regulates glutamate into the brain. Glutamate is believed to help with the regeneration and regrowth within these neural synapses.

Studies have shown ketamine’s effectiveness in reducing the rate of suicide, specifically for individuals who struggle with  PTSD. It’s very effective for treating war veterans who suffer from some of the most intense symptoms. Those who have multiple mental health conditions, such as alcoholism, addiction, or depression may also experience relief from symptoms when receiving ketamine for PTSD.

Is Ketamine for PTSD Right for You?

If you are in good health and have been clinically diagnosed with PTSD, ketamine may help you achieve relief of symptoms. Ketamine for PTSD is especially of value to those who are suffering from symptoms that have not responded well to other treatments.

Living with untreated PTSD can wreak havoc on your ability to function in everyday life and take a toll on your relationships. If you or a loved one is struggling with PTSD, please contact us today to see if ketamine treatments for PTSD are right for you.

Ketamine for PTSD FAQs

Research shows that ketamine is highly effective in treating PTSD, in addition to depression, addiction, alcoholism, anxiety, chronic pain, suicidal ideation, migraines, and eating disorders. A study published in 2016 found that a single dose of ketamine was associated with a reduction in symptoms of PTSD, including re-experiencing, avoidance, and numbing.

One potential mechanism of ketamine’s therapeutic effects in PTSD is through its action as an NMDA receptor antagonist. This means that it can block the NMDA receptor, which is important for memory formation and consolidation. By blocking this receptor, ketamine may help to reduce the fear response and prevent the formation of traumatic memories. Additionally, ketamine has been shown to increase levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is important for neuronal growth and survival.

The VA limits its prescription of ketamine to Spravato, a nasal spray approved for use with an oral antidepressant to treat treatment-resistant depression. The VA also states that they prescribe on a case-by-case basis.