Christine Ryan is Chief Clinical Officer at Ketamine Wellness Centers
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD has many causes. Military service experiences, childhood abuse, sexual violence, physical assault, and even accidents and injuries can cause a person to experience traumatic stress. When that stress starts to interfere with a person’s ability to function and affects the quality of their life, ketamine infusion therapy can help.
It is known that 4% or more of the US population suffer from some form of PTSD. Symptoms vary from person to person, but may include:
- Intrusive memories
- Avoidance of places, activities, or talking about the event
- Negative thinking or negative mood
- Detachment from family and friends
- Difficulty maintaining close relationships
- Always on guard, easily startled
- Self-destructive behaviors- alcohol or drug use, risk-taking
- Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
- Overwhelming guilt or shame
- Suicidal ideation
So, How Does Ketamine Help those Suffering from PTSD?
Ketamine is an anesthetic agent that has been around since the 1960s. Along with its anesthetic uses, it is now used to lessen the symptoms of Treatment-Resistant Depression (TRD), Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), PTSD, and many other mental health and chronic pain conditions. Ketamine is a glutamate NMDA receptor modulator that is associated with neuroplasticity and synaptic remodeling. This means ketamine can help the brain reorganize synaptic connections after experiences or injuries and helps to “rewire” the brain.
A recent study by the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Hospital found that repeated doses of IV ketamine significantly improve PTSD symptoms among adults in their randomized clinical study. In the study, ketamine was given to 30 participants meeting the diagnostic criteria for chronic PTSD. Each was given six infusions of either ketamine or midazolam, another anesthetic agent with no psychoactive action. Participants were then assessed weekly for the side effects of treatment. By the end of the study, results showed repeat administration of ketamine was beneficial for rapidly reducing the symptoms and severity of symptoms of PTSD. Resulting effects were lasting for several weeks, without serious adverse events.
“This randomized controlled trial provides the first evidence of the efficacy of repeated ketamine infusions in reducing symptom severity in individuals with chronic PTSD. Further studies are warranted to understand ketamine’s full potential as a treatment for chronic PTSD.” According to Adriana Feder and her colleagues.
If you or a loved one suffers from PTSD, know you are not alone. Reach out to Ketamine Wellness Centers for information on how our ketamine infusions can help at 855-KET-WELL. If it is an emergency and there is a fear of self-harm, please dial 911 or the Suicide Hotline at 800-273-8255.