Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy

Ketamine Assisted Therapy

A Brief History of Ketamine

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.

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 disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, chronic pain, and more. Ketamine is distinguished from other currently available medications (SSRIs) used for mental health by its rapid onset.

At ShaMynds, we are committed to offering 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

Complete medical and psychological evaluation to prepare a personalized treatment plan with you.

Goals are to understand your:

  • Medical and psychological history
  • Struggles and challenges
  • Alliances and support

An after-meeting with our treatment team discusses your care plan, readiness for ketamine therapy, dose, and route of administration.

STEP #2

Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy
  • You receive ketamine in either oral, intravenous, or intramuscular route.
  • We monitor your vital signs and response, and a provider stays with you during the entire session.
  • After treatment care and guidance are provided.

STEP #3

Integration-Psychotherapy Sessions

After ketamine, your minds is more open to new ways to processing. This is due to the activation of novel neuronal pathways that when combined with psychotherapy leads to healthy neuroplasticity.

This brain remodeling results in opening your mind and discover new ways to integrate positive change in your life.

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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 Eligible for Ketamine Therapy?

Before you undergo ketamine therapy, we first interview you carefully to find out if you’re eligible to receive this medication. The doctors provide:

  • An assessment of your medical and psychiatric history
  • A review of your psychiatric and medical records
  • A physical examination
  • A short psychological screens
  • A laboratory screening (specific to the client)

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
  • Pregnancy
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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. Ketamine is safe and well-tolerated therapy in this setting 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 extremely distressing disassociation, 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-Assisted 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.

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 the remission of depression, not just suppression of symptoms. They found 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 lower the likelihood of improvement. In the meanwhile, studies were emerging that ketamine had greater and more immediate effects in depression remission.

Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy (KAP) is considered to be a game changer. Data has shown that KAP can alter the course of depression in about 70% of people.

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.

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 disengage from your routine thought patterns temporarily.

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 affect you during the session, such as nausea, this is monitored and treated.

How 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 affect brain architecture.

Ketamine and soon to be approved other psychedelics have demonstrated:

  1. Normalization in the connectivity pattern
  2. Expansion 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

Conditions Ketamine Can Treat

Anxiety

Are you constantly feeling on edge? Ketamine infusions can help you relax and find the courage to face life once more.

Depression

There is hope! Ketamine has a rapid antidepressant effect and can quickly alleviate symptoms of severe depression.

PTSD

Ketamine therapy can help you deal with past traumas and break the cycle of intrusive thoughts and flashbacks.

Chronic Pain

Ketamine infusions have proven to be a fast and efficient solution for those seeking relief from various pain conditions.

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

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 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.

Therefore, your decision to go through ketamine therapy is 100 percent voluntary. We encourage you to ask us questions before saying yes to the treatment.

Request Your Consultation Today

If you are a patient who is dealing with a treatment-resistant mood disorder or chronic pain condition, then you may be a good candidate for ketamine infusion therapy. Contact our experts today and request your free consultation or would like more information about how we can help you.