A broad range of treatments uses Biological therapies to treat the targeted biological-based issue of mental health disorders. Currently, Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy stands as one of the most innovative approaches for treating mental health disorders and depression symptoms. Psychiatrists use a powerful approach that combines the therapeutic advantages of psychotherapy with the distinct effects of ketamine.
Innovative therapies transform the lives of countless people. Ketamine-enhanced therapy provides a solution to people battling depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders for a lifetime.
Patients will be treated by experts in TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation) or ketamine psychiatrists. This article explores the power of ketamine-enhanced therapy and its enormous impact on mental health treatment.
Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP)
While advancements in Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) have been in the news more lately, most people still don’t know what to expect from a KAP session. KAP is a holistic therapeutic modality that takes into account our modern understanding of how trauma and stress influence the function of the brain and utilizes ketamine to assist in the treatment of a range of different issues, including but not limited to:
- Chronic Pain
- PTSD \ Trauma
- Bipolar Disorders
Ketamine was originally synthesized in the 1960s and approved by FDA in the 1970s as a dissociative anesthetic drug during surgical procedures. It is crucial to know the level of dosage of this drug to be injected based on the individual health condition. Individuals can seek out clinics like Ketamine Clinic Boston, which offer innovative treatments for mental health conditions.
However, in the early 2000s, researchers began to notice its potential beyond anesthesia. Studies show that when ketamine is administered in monitored and controlled doses, it produces profound and rapid antidepressant effects.
Due to its ability to balance certain neurotransmitters, generate strong neural connections, and modify the brain’s control over mood, it is now used to support mental health care. It is important to note that ketamine is a versatile medication and is available in various formulations. Different types of ketamine include Ketamine hydrochloride, ketamine nasal sprays, S-ketamine, and racemic ketamine.
How Actually Ketamine Works?
- It is believed that in contrast to most commonly prescribed antidepressants, ketamine works on glutamate, a prominent neurotransmitter in the brain that is responsible for learning, memory, and mood-related regulation and disorders rather than serotonin.
- Enhances the neurotrophic factor (BDNF) that supports ketamine’s antidepressant properties after encouraging synaptic plasticity in the prefrontal cortex of the brain.
- As overactive brain receptors, MDArs are responsible for general distress and elevated levels of depression, Ketamine blocks the activity of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) that is involved in pain perception, cognition, and regulation of mood.
- It also acts on the mTOR pathway, AMPA receptor, and even on opioid receptors in brain cells. However, how these receptors work with each other, ketamine-derived growth on new neural connections, and which path is most important is still obscure.
Mechanism of Action of Ketamine
So as a whole, ketamine being a non-competitive NMDA antagonist, stops the glutamate to activate the NMDA receptor and causes the build-up of free glutamate in lateral habenula. The lateral habenula, a part of the brain, is mainly responsible for encoding anti-reward cause-and-effect and negative relationships.
Its overactivity can lead to an increase in symptoms of anxiety and depression. The free glutamate activates the AMPA receptors that in turn increase the release of BDNFs which leads to the rerouting of the brain from the lateral habenula, thus providing long-term relief from depression and other mental disorders.
What to Expect From Ketamine-Enhanced Therapy?
- Once the symptoms are reviewed, and the patient evaluation is complete, the clinics create a personalized treatment plan that includes talk therapy and dosing sessions based on their therapeutic goals. The number of KAP sessions varies from person to person. The clients are then moved to the therapist for some preparatory sessions to time to assess the therapist whether KAP therapy is beneficial for them or not.
- Ketamine can be administered using different methods including nasal sprays, injections, IV infusion, or by a sublingual lozenges form taken orally. However, from dosage to completion, a typical session usually lasts one to two hours in total. During the season, the therapist guides the clients to explore feelings and thoughts in a comfortable and safe environment.
- Under the effects of ketamine, which usually lasts for 45 minutes, the patients have a deep feeling of relaxation and peace, letting their minds wander freely in a dissociative state as the brain is primed for rejuvenation and healing. To comprehend patients’ ketamine experiences and how they can facilitate progress, dosing sessions are typically followed by integration therapy sessions.
Efficacy of Treatment
It has been found that even a single dose of ketamine results in noticeable and quick antidepressant effects lasting up to a week. Also, there is a moderate to large effect in reducing suicidal thoughts in patients with suicidal ideation.
Acute Side Effects of Ketamine-Enhanced Therapy
As with other treatments, KAP therapy also has some acute side effects associated with it. These symptoms may arise during the session. However, these effects go rapidly after the completion of treatment. The most common side effects reported by patients include:
- Altered mental status
- High blood pressure
- Slurred speech
- Blurred vision
Ethical Considerations and Future Directions
Ethical considerations are most important when using any treatment, while ketamine-enhanced therapy is highly promising. It is important to make sure that patients are well-informed about the benefits and risks of treatment.
Moreover, adherence to professional guidelines is essential. As further research in this field is going on, there must be a need to explore long-term effects, and development of personalized treatment plans, and optimal dosing.
Therapy administered before, during, and after ketamine sessions can optimize and sustain the benefits of working with ketamine. Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy can enhance the brain’s ability to use different pathways (neural networks).
These heightened abilities can encourage ease in learning to engage with your emotions as a source of wisdom about your experiences, connect bodily sensations with emotions, or develop a relationship to your emotional experiences that feels supportive and manageable.
Experiencing relief while simultaneously engaging in therapy can create more space for developing insights and plans, encouraging more rapid change, enhancing the ability to be present in the process, and fostering a greater capacity to learn, grow, and change.