Intravenous (IV) ketamine therapy is well-known for its role in addressing treatment-resistant depression, but that’s not the only condition treated with ketamine. Ketamine therapy, which includes IV therapy and nasal sprays, can also alleviate symptoms of anxiety disorders.
If you have post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) 一 a type of anxiety 一 you might wonder if ketamine can help ease your anxiety associated with PTSD. The answer is yes.
Below, Dr. Hadi Estakhri explains how ketamine therapy can help with PTSD and what you can expect from ketamine sessions here at Allied Psychiatry & Mental Health in Newport Beach, California.
The effects of PTSD
While PTSD is often thought of as a condition that affects veterans, the reality is that this condition can happen in any person of any age or gender who experiences (or even witnesses) a traumatic event.
About 12 million Americans experience PTSD in any given year, and this includes individuals who experience or witness:
- War or combat zone fighting
- Car accidents
- Domestic abuse
- Sexual abuse
- Natural disasters
These are just a few examples of trauma that can lead to PTSD. Regardless of the initial trigger, PTSD can cause profound anxiety, nightmares, sleep disturbances, insomnia, and irritability. Some symptoms, such as avoidance, can profoundly impact your quality of living if you reroute your entire life to avoid anything that triggers unwanted thoughts or visions.
Unmanaged anxiety can also impact your work performance and your ability to enjoy relationships with friends and family.
How ketamine therapy helps alleviate anxiety
Although PTSD can seem overwhelming, it’s important to focus on the fact that there are many evidence-based treatments for this condition. In other words, there are many treatment options to help you feel better, including medication, therapy, support groups, and ketamine therapy. All of these treatments work together to help you overcome the complexities of your trauma.
While anxiety medications help to alleviate your PTSD-related anxiety symptoms by targeting certain areas of your brain (such as monoamine neurotransmitters), ketamine infusions focus on a different part of your brain. Ketamine infusions target a chemical messenger called glutamate.
Knowing that ketamine targets glutamate, we can understand how ketamine is effective in reducing anxiety. First, if your glutamate receptors are overstimulated, it can trigger anxious feelings. Ketamine blocks those overstimulated receptors, which then creates a cascade of events, namely a surge in glutamate and the activation of your AMPA receptors.
This series of events 一 blocking overstimulated glutamate receptors, the surge of glutamate, and the activation of AMPA receptors 一 helps your neurons communicate better. All of this has a positive impact on your cognitive function, mood, and thoughts.
Ketamine infusions help reduce anxiety associated with PTSD in another way. Ketamine repairs synapses (connections) in your brain, and the more connections you have, the better cognitive function you have.
The takeaway: ketamine therapy treats anxiety by focusing on the elements (specific receptors and synapses) in your brain that support healthy mood and cognition.
Effective relief when you need it most
Ketamine therapy produces effective relief quickly. Researchers found that ketamine therapy improved PTSD symptoms significantly and rapidly even just 24 hours post-infusion. For those who struggle to find relief, the thought of a reprieve in anxiety in just 24 hours is nothing short of great news.
Ketamine therapy doesn’t replace other treatments, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, but rather, it complements those treatments quite well.
What does ketamine therapy for PTSD look like?
While ketamine therapy can be administered via an intravenous infusion, Dr. Estakhri also offers ketamine in a convenient nasal spray, Spravato®. Both the IV infusion and the spray are administered here at Allied Psychiatry & Mental Health.
After your infusion or spray, simply sit back and relax while we monitor you for approximately two hours before you head home with a friend or family member.
You might consider ketamine therapy if:
- You’ve already tried anxiety medications without relief
- Therapy alone isn’t working
- Your symptoms are affecting your quality of life
- You don’t have any of the contraindications for ketamine therapy
To learn more about your treatment options for PTSD, including ketamine therapy, book an appointment with Dr. Estakhri today. Call our office at 949-945-0927 or schedule using our online form.