Ketamine has been used as an anesthetic in hospital operating rooms and veterinary clinics for decades. Today, it’s becoming a popular breakthrough drug for treating severe depression, anxiety, PTSD, other mood disorders, chronic pain, and even migraine headaches. While traditional treatment medications and methods for these conditions typically take weeks or months to have an effect on the patient, ketamine produces instant results in low doses.
If you’re thinking about getting ketamine treatments but aren’t sure what to expect, read on to learn about the ketamine treatment process for depression and other mood disorders.
Schedule a Consultation
The first step in the ketamine treatment process for depression is to schedule a consultation with a clinic or medical provider that offers this treatment option. Since the FDA does not yet approve ketamine for treating depression or mood disorders, many healthcare providers don’t offer it, and many insurance companies don’t cover it.
Once you find a clinic or medical office that offers ketamine treatments and make an appointment, you’ll head in for your consultation. During this appointment, the doctor will go over your medical history and answer questions. Then, they will put together a personalized treatment protocol that will include the duration of treatment, the dosage amount, and the rate.
On the day of your treatment, you will meet with a patient care coordinator 30-minutes prior to the treatment’s start time. They will go over integration coaching sessions and discharge instructions as well as offering other viable ketamine-enhancing services that can be added on following the treatment to ensure healing efficacy.
Following the preparatory session, clinical staff will guide you to your spacious private infusion suite where you will be connected to an EKG, heart monitor, and blood pressure cuff as well as an oxygen saturation machine.
Vitals are monitored by clinical staff every 15 minutes. Numbing spray is used to allow for a pain-free IV experience for patients. With each infusion, the dose is gradually increased based on the patient’s original body weight. Each treatment lasts a total of 45 minutes, however, recovery time is increased with each raised dose.
Once everything is hooked up, the ketamine will be administered into the IV in your arm. When it starts, you’ll feel cool liquid entering your bloodstream and instantly fall into deep relaxation. Then, most patients experience out-of-body sensations due to the mind remaining active while the body is sedated. Patients also experience feelings of intoxication, euphoria, and happiness. Once the treatment ends, you’ll have time to relax before you leave with a designated friend or family member who will need to be present to drive you home.
It’s common to worry about the possible side effects of ketamine treatment. The effects are minimal, and since the treatment is administered in a controlled environment by healthcare professionals with a predetermined plan to follow based on your specific medical history, there are no extreme side effects to worry about.