Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a highly prevalent condition with numerous symptoms and possible treatments. Because the diagnosis is given when someone is suffering a wide range of debilitating symptoms due to a severely emotionally and/or physically traumatic event, these symptoms and their potential treatments are as varied as the events that cause them. When you believe you or a loved one may be suffering from PTSD, you must seek help as soon as possible. Some treatments are more immediate than others, but the sooner you start seeking help, the less you will be left to suffer. Ketamine has become one of the up-in-coming treament options for PTSD and in this article we will dive into the importance of ketamine treatment for PTSD.
Treatment options for PTSD often include both psychological and medical therapy, usually in tandem. Depending on the severity of the symptoms and the state of the patient’s mental health, a psychiatrist or physician may decide to start with an SSRI. This affects the reuptake of serotonin in the body, or an SNRI, which affects the same for norepinephrine. Either of these can be effective treatments for depression and anxiety, but if they fail to cause substantial improvement in someone who has PTSD, the doctor may recommend either a benzodiazepine or ketamine therapy.
What Is Ketamine?
Ketamine is a commonly used anesthetic drug that has shown positive results when used as a treatment for PTSD patients. In larger doses, it serves as a general anesthetic without negatively impacting breathing functions. In lower controlled doses, it neither results in loss of consciousness nor hallucinations. Instead, it stimulates the growth of neurons and synaptic connections within the brain, which have been shown to treat anxiety symptoms positively.
By using a different dose of ketamine during ketamine therapy, the patient often feels immediate and consistent relief from some of the most severe symptoms. The drug has a calming effect on the nervous system and has had the most favorable results when used in tandem with cognitive-behavioral therapy and other psychotherapies.
One of the most significant points in favor of ketamine therapy is how quickly the patient responds to it. As opposed to with SSRIs and SNRIs, where a patient may take weeks or even months to react to it adequately and know whether or not it’s going to help them, patients respond to ketamine therapy within a matter of hours or days. This cuts out vast waiting periods where the patient may only be suffering without knowing whether or not the treatment they’ve been given is even going to work for them.
If the patient turns out to be treatment-resistant (which is an infrequent occurrence), they will know within the first two treatments. Unlike treatments that involve oral medications, patients undergoing ketamine therapy will not have to worry about potentially wasting weeks of time, money, and suffering before having an answer. Additionally, once they have completed the typical recommendation of 6-8 weeks of IV ketamine infusions, patients often see long-term results.
Thanks to the prevalence of PTSD among the military and victims of sexual abuse and assault, a vast number of studies have been conducted in order to determine ketamine’s viability as a consistently effective treatment. The consensus has been that ketamine therapy resulted in a rapid reduction of symptoms, which lasted over the course of medicine itself.
One of the most extensive studies done, which took place at Mass General Hospital, shows that over 70% of PTSD patients who had resisted other treatments found positive results with IV ketamine infusions. This has been the most common result in other studies, providing a wide range of support for the use of ketamine as a treatment for PTSD. Additional studies have shown positive results in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and bipolar depression.
Should I Give Ketamine Therapy a Chance?
Ultimately, you should listen to your physician and/or psychiatrist for that answer. However, know that ketamine therapy has been shown to have very fast, very positive results for those who can’t seem to find relief through oral medications or therapy alone. You do not deserve to suffer. You deserve to find genuine, lasting relief that allows you to live your life without constant fear and pain. If other medications have not worked for you, ask your doctor about ketamine infusions. See what it might be able to do to help you.
What Causes PTSD?
PTSD is most highly reported in both victims of sexual abuse and in soldiers who have seen combat. Still, it can affect anyone who has experienced any severe trauma that continues to change them long after the event itself is over. These events are often life-altering, violent, and emotionally damaging. They typically harm the victim mentally, emotionally, and physically to the point that the victim is reminded of the event periodically as they go about the rest of their life, causing them to develop PTSD.
Symptoms of PTSD
PTSD can present in any number of ways, so it’s essential to watch for any behavior that differs from the victim’s usual behavior patterns. The most commonly reported symptoms include:
- Irrational behavior
- Suicidal behavior and suicide ideation
- Self-destructive behavior
- Drastic mood swings
- Hypervigilance or complete detachment
- Panic attacks
- Isolation from family, friends, and peers
If someone you care about is exhibiting these kinds of behaviors after a traumatic event, it may be worth having a conversation with them about possibilities for treatments.
As mentioned, these symptoms do not cover the full spectrum of possibilities, though they are the most common. Spikes of anxiety, extreme depression, violent behavior, and inability to sleep on a nightly basis are all severe symptoms that should not be taken lightly, as they can and often do result in increasingly destructive behaviors, thoughts, and feelings.
Schedule a free COMPLIMENTARY consultation today with MindScape Ketamine & Infusion Therapy, PLLC so that we may help you Live Life Again.