Feeling anxious or worried about your first ketamine infusion is normal, when performed by a qualified healthcare provider, this is a safe and easy procedure. Your first treatment at KWC will be a low, manageable dose carefully administered by your care team. Ketamine is a widely used, evidence-based medication, and many patients find their infusions to be a rewarding and enjoyable part of the healing process.
How do I prepare for my ketamine infusion?
It’s always best for the day of your treatment to be as calm and stress-free as possible. If you can, you might want to make arrangements in the days leading up to your appointment so you can return home without errands or responsibilities to worry about. To set you up for the best possible experience, your care team at Ketamine Wellness Centers will review guidelines with you ahead of time, including when to take other prescribed medications, when to eat, and when to drink fluids.
Food & Drink: Make sure to hydrate in the days leading up to your treatments. Abstain from food 6 hours prior to your appointment time and avoid all liquids two hours before your appointment.
Medications: Unless otherwise advised by your care team, you may take your regular medications up to 2 hours before your appointment.
Driving: You will not be able to drive yourself home after your infusion. Arrange for a ride to and from your appointment with a family member, friend, or rideshare. Anyone accompanying you may wait in our lobby or be present in the room during treatment if you choose.
Dress for comfort: Wear clothing you’ll be comfortable in. You will be resting in a recliner in a private treatment room with pillows and blankets available upon request.
Media: Consider whether you want to listen to music, watch a documentary, or just relax during your infusion. Your treatment room will have a smart television equipped with Netflix, YouTube, and other streaming services for movies, shows and music.
What is the treatment room like?
As a patient at Ketamine Wellness Centers, you will receive ketamine therapy in a private treatment room. If you bring a friend, relative, or support animal, you can choose to have them stay with you during your infusion. Your nurse will also stay in the room during the entire treatment to monitor the procedure and keep you feeling safe and comfortable.
Our treatment rooms are designed to be relaxing and customizable to your specific needs. You will have access to:
- A large recliner to sit or lay in during treatment
- Blankets and pillows
- A light-blocking sleep mask
- Dimmed lights
- Soothing music
- Smart TV with Netflix, Spotify, and other streaming services
Some patients enjoy watching peaceful nature scenes or listening to positive affirmations during ketamine treatment. Your comfort is important, and our staff is committed to making sure you receive care suited to your personal needs.
What does ketamine feel like?
On average, it takes 5-10 minutes to feel the effects of ketamine infusion. Unlike other forms of ketamine therapy, the dosage of your infusion can be controlled and adjusted at any time during your treatment session.
Some of the most common experiences on ketamine include:
- Deep relaxation or dissociation. Patients describe feeling “floaty,” “light,” or like they are dreaming. Dissociation from ketamine infusion tends to be a pleasant or neutral experience, and it is believed that this state of mind allows for processing emotions without feeling overwhelmed.
- Feeling happy or euphoric. Ketamine may make you feel happy or blissful. For patients suffering from depression, the euphoria from ketamine treatment can feel like a sudden relief from the daily weight of pain and worry.
- Heightened senses. You may become more aware of instruments in the music you’re listening to, the softness of your blanket, or the intensity of different colors.
- Safely revisiting past memories or trauma. One way ketamine therapy works is by allowing us to process the difficult feelings or memories we usually avoid. Although this can be challenging, it is also an important step towards processing feelings and beginning to heal.
While no two experiences are the same, most patients find that ketamine feels pleasant. Ketamine treatment is sometimes compared to the feeling of being tipsy after having a cocktail.
If you do feel side effects like anxiety or nausea, your care team can lower your dose or administer additional medication to relieve these symptoms.
The length of ketamine infusion varies from person to person. Patients seeking treatment for mental wellness should plan to be at their appointment for around an hour and a half, while infusions for chronic pain typically last around 4 hours.
How will I feel after my infusion?
Once your ketamine infusion is complete, you will need to stay at the clinic for around 20 minutes. This waiting and observation period is just to make sure you are ready to go home safely.
The time it takes for the sensation of the infusion to fully wear off is different for everyone, but you should expect to feel tipsy or “off” for at least a few hours. Because ketamine can stay in your system for several hours after your treatment, you should plan to avoid driving or anything else that requires you to be fully alert for the rest of the day.
In the days after ketamine therapy, it is common to feel a “glow” of hopefulness or relief. As feelings of depression and anxiety fade, you may find yourself feeling more social, picking up an old hobby, or taking care of work you have been putting off.
Take it easy: Plan on spending the rest of your day resting at home.
Food & Drink: Continue to eat and hydrate yourself, especially if you have more infusions in the coming days. If you are experiencing nausea, eat bland and easily digestible foods.
Hang in there: You may feel temporarily dizzy or unsteady after treatment. Remember that this is a temporary side effect and be sure not to over-exert yourself. Both fatigue or bursts of energy are both normal. Take a nap if you’re fatigued.
Medications: Continue taking all prescribed medications as directed by your primary care physician. Do not discontinue any without supervision. If you develop a headache, feel free to use your preferred over-the-counter pain reliever.
Emotional well-being: You may feel more emotional, depressed, or anxious during this time. This is normal and the intensity of the emotions will begin to lift in approximately three days. You may also want to schedule a visit with your therapist and spend extra time with supportive loved ones.
The days and weeks after ketamine therapy are a good time to check in with a therapist. Without ongoing support, the benefits of ketamine therapy can eventually decline. By using integration therapy, you can turn your short-term symptom relief into long-term lifestyle and mood improvements.
Need a therapist? KWC offers a free directory of ketamine-friendly integration professionals. Our expert Health and Wellness Coordinator can also work with you to create a Facilitated Treatment Support Plan.
Unlike typical antidepressants (which must be taken daily), ketamine therapy can be used as-needed. Some patients receive maintenance infusions every month, while others only need it once or twice a year. There is no one-size-fits all solution, and your care team can help you find a treatment schedule that works best for you.
Successful ketamine therapy does require a commitment, but our patients often find it provides the breakthrough relief they’ve been waiting for. No matter what your struggles are, there is hope—and treatment can help.
Further reading: Insurance Coverage for Ketamine Treatment