A Brief History of Ketamine Therapy
with Dr. Tasnim Khan of ShaMynds Healing Center

ketamine molecule

Ketamine is a Schedule III substance and currently is the only legal psychedelic with a widening array of off label indications. It disrupts ones ‘normalized’ and habitual ways of thinking and responding to the world.

It creates a sort of  BRAIN RESET – allowing one to objectively examine negative thought processes, obsessive dysfunctional preoccupations and ruminations.

This can be experienced within a few hours or a few days. Yet, ketamine therapy alone is not enough. Combining this psychedelic with depth-oriented psychotherapy in a warm, therapeutic setting achieves more optimal and persistent recovery than ketamine alone.

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Ketamine has been shown to be quite effective in addressing a variety of chronic and treatment resistant mental health conditions such as depression, post traumatic stress, obsessive compulsive, chronic pain and more. Ketamine is distinguished from other currently available medications (SSRI’s) used for mental health by its rapid onset.

At ShaMynds, we are committed to offer psychedelic therapy for mental health issues where there is research that shows ketamine has a favorable treatment profile.

ShaMynds does not advise our clients to seek care involving psychedelics and other substances that have not been legalized.

The Healing Process of Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP)

STEP #1
Preparation Intake

These sessions are required for all initial intakes and are vital to your success and recovery.

STEP #2
Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy

Your specific ketamine administration session is facilitated by a mental health provider.

STEP #3
Integration-Psychotherapy Sessions

These are psychotherapy sessions after ketamine session.

What is Included in My Ketamine Psychedelic Therapy Sessions?

  • Monitoring by board certified physicians with experience and certification in psychedelic and ketamine therapy.
  • Customized tailored ketamine dosing and schedule
  • Preparation guidelines
  • Close monitoring of vital signs and response
  • Curated sounds and playlists specific for psychedelic sessions
  • ShaMynd Eyeshades
  • Supplemental medications as needed- Anti nausea, blood pressure and allergic reactions
  • Constant attention to your “set” and “setting” and presence during your session
  • After care instructions and guidance

How is Ketamine Administered?

People undergoing ketamine therapy can take the drug in various ways. Ketamine can be administered by medical professionals:

  1. Oral (Lozenges) which dissolve in mouth
  2. Into muscle (IM)
  3. Intravenously (IV)

Am I Eligibile for Ketamine Therapy?

Before you undergo Ketamine therapy we first interview you carefully to find out if you’re eligible to receive this medication.

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  • Assessment of Your Medical and Psychiatric History
  • Review of Your Psychiatric and Medical Records
  • Physical Examination
  • Short Psychological Screens
  • Laboratory Screening (specific to the client)

You may not undergo the treatment if you belong in one (or more) of these categories:

(There are specific criteria that would make you ineligible for Ketamine depression therapy.)

Nursing Mothers and Pregnant Women – Ketamine may have potentially unwanted effects on the nursing child or the fetus. Data from the study published in Nature suggests that prenatal exposure to Ketamine impairs the neuronal development of the prefrontal cortex.

Untreated Cardiovascular Problem–Hypertension, especially if it’s untreated, is a contraindication to the use of Ketamine. The drug causes a rise in blood pressure. Individuals with a history of heart problem, therefore, may not be eligible to take this treatment.

Untreated Hyperthyroidism – People with this condition should not take Ketamine. The drug increases the risk of tachycardia and hypertension.

Conditions that are Excluded in Ketamine therapy

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Absolute Exclusions to KAP

  • Allergy to Ketamine
  • Active Substance Abuse
  • Recent Traumatic Brain Injury
  • History of Psychosis

Relative Exclusions

  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea
  • Uncontrolled Hypertension or Cardiac disease
  • Respiratory Issues
  • Personality Disorders
  • Very Acutely Suicidal Ideation

Is Ketamine Therapy Safe?

When used in a supervised setting at appropriate dosing, Ketamine therapy is quite safe. You will have fully trained health professionals at your side throughout your treatment journey. As with any treatment, there are potential risks and side effects. Before beginning your treatment with us, you will meet with our medical team to ensure it’s a good fit for you.

Ketamine is listed as a schedule III drug by the Drug Enforcement Agency or DEA. It can only be administered by licensed providers who are trained and have experience with its responsible use. In this setting, Ketamine is safe and well tolerated therapy and benefits many people. The use outside of a clinically prescribed setting is considered illegal. When used or abused in this manner, people have experienced extreme effects that include not only extremely distressing disassociation but also, uncontrolled blood pressure, dizziness and fast heart rates. Any side effects or dosage adjustments that can occur, will be monitored by licensed medical doctors and professionals.

How is Ketamine with Psychotherapy (KAP) More Effective and Long-lasting?

The largest study ever done on depression called NIMH(National Institute of Mental Health) STAR*D Medical Trial in 2006, Rush et al. Read more

This study was unique because it measured outcomes of depression treatment in real people in real medical practices.

They were looking to see if antidepressants could result in remission of depression, not just suppression of symptoms. What they found was that most people did not significantly improve or achieve remission on conventional medication. Furthermore, the more sequential antidepressants prescribed to achieve symptom improvement or remission the even more lower likelihood of improvement. In the meanwhile, studies were emerging that ketamine had greater and more immediate effects in depression remission.

Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy or KAP is considered to be a game changer. Data has shown that KAP can alter the course of depression in about 70% of people.

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People stay better longer and can actually experience complete resolution of their symptoms. For many of us in medicine, we have not seen this kind of response ever.

Unlike antidepressants, that “suppress” symptoms, KAP experiences tend to be “evocative”- activating your own ability and inner healing to take place with the support of the medicine and our treatment team.

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Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy - Type of Response KAP

How Does Ketamine Make You Feel?

Each person’s response can vary by dose and depth of the ketamine’s effect. The experience has been described as “euphoric,” “calming,” and “mystical. You may experience a sense of disassociation—that you are observing your mind and body from outside rather than within.

The experience can also feel “empathogenic”- where one’s typical defense mind mechanisms are relaxed.

Higher doses of ketamine can provide a profoundly transcendental experience- that can result in amenable ways to self exploration and deeper therapeutic insights.

The effects of improving mood, depression, anxiety, and inner knowing can extend for weeks to months.

How Does Ketamine Work in the Body?

Ketamine interacts with some of your brain’s neurotransmitters. Its effects can include relieving anxiety and pain relief, and acting as an antidepressant.

Under medical supervision, lower doses of Ketamine can relax your mind and allow you to temporarily disengage from your routine thought patterns.

Ketamine can raise blood pressure temporarily. Your blood pressure, heart rate, and breathing are also monitored to ensure your safety.

If any effects of Ketamine effect you during the session, such as nausea, this is monitored and treated.

What Does Ketamine Work in the Brain?

The antidepressant effects of ketamine were first described over two decades ago. Many prominent researchers and institutes have studied the neuroscience of ketamine and the neural basis of stress-related and trauma in many psychiatric conditions. There is a the physical effect of persistent toxic stress leads to neuronal changes, reduced synaptic connectivity between neurons and communication. This is especially prominent in the prefrontal cortex and the hippocampus of the brain.

In depression and other psychiatric disorders resulting from toxic stress, a reduction in prefrontal and hippocampal connectivity has been observed in functional MRI imaging studies. Other chronic stress mental states (e.g., PTSD, generalized anxiety disorder, OCD) have similar patterns of decreased connectivity and maladaptive effect brain architecture.

Ketamine and soon to be approved other psychedelics has demonstrated:

 

  1. Normalization in the connectivity pattern,
  2. Expansion and of new pathways
  3. Increased plasticity of former restrictive brain patterns.
  4. The degree of connectivity is also proportional to the clinical response to the treatment.

Tom Insel MD, National Institute of Mental Health Director’s Blog 2014

“Recent data suggest that Ketamine, given intravenously, might be the most important breakthrough in antidepressant treatment in decades. First and most important, several studies demonstrate that Ketamine reduces depression within 6 hours, with effects that are equal or greater than the effects of 6 weeks of treatment with other antidepressant medications.”

 

  1. Aan Het Rot M et al. Ketamine for depression: where do we go from here? Biol. Psychiatry. 2012 Oct 1;72(7):537-47

Privacy & Disclaimer

We Value Your Privacy

If you are eligible and will be undergoing our Ketamine therapy, you can be at ease knowing that we’ll keep your records confidential. Our records are secure and stored and protected as per HIPPA Compliant requirements. A signed release form is required if you want to allow others, such as medical professionals, to access your files.

Disclaimer on Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy

We want to remind you that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) hasn’t established the use of Ketamine as “off-label” and has not certified the appropriateness of the Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy. Your awareness of this information is vital to understanding any liability related to your use of the medication. Your signed, informed consent signifies your knowledge of this situation.

Your decision to go through Ketamine therapy, therefore, is 100 percent voluntary. We encourage you to ask us questions before saying yes to the treatment.

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" ...The Wound is the Place Where the Light Enters" (Rumi)