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Ketamine Treatments for PTSD

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Ketamine Treatments for PTSD

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder


What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder/PTSD?

PTSD is a psychiatric disorder that can occur in people who have experienced or been part of a traumatic event in their life. There are numerous types of traumatic events that can result in PTSD, whether it was a horrible accident of some kind, an assault, a serious injury, or something that happened during war or combat, PTSD can affect anyone, regardless off age, culture, or ethnicity.

While everyone who suffers from PTSD may exhibit different symptoms, the American Psychiatric Association has grouped symptoms into four main categories:

  • Intrusion: This refers to involuntary memories, flashbacks, disturbing dreams. Intrusion can mentally put someone right back into the trauma that caused them to have PTSD. It may be so real that they feel as though it is happening to them again and again.
  • Avoidance: People who suffer from PTSD will try and avoid things that cause them to have memories of the traumatic event or ‘triggers’. This may include avoiding people, activities, objects, situation that are triggers.
  • Alteration in Mood or Cognition: Inability to remember part of the event, distorted thoughts about the even or its consequences, being unable to express positive emotions, blaming yourself or others, loss of interest in activities, distorted feelings towards yourself.
  • Alteration in Arousal or Activity: Having angry outbursts, being self-destructive or reckless, having problems with sleep or concentrating. Being hyper-vigilante in observing your surrounds or easily startled. These are all symptoms that can arise from a traumatic event.

How does Ketamine help treat PTSD?

There is compelling research that suggests that the traumatic event led to changes in the neurochemistry of the brain. That the function of synaptic connectivity, which is mostly mediated by glutamate (an excitatory neurotransmitter) and GABA (an inhibitory neurotransmitter) has been severely impaired. Ketamine acts on the N-methyl-D-aspartate-type glutamate (NMDA) receptor as an antagonist (inhibitor). The intrusive thoughts that accompany PTSD sufferers are linked to NMDA activity and the use of ketamine helps by reducing that over activity.

That being said, our goal for patients is not that they change their PTSD treatment to simply Ketamine. Nor do we want our patients to have to take Ketamine for the rest of their lives. We are offering Ketamine to patients who suffer from PTSD in the hopes that along with other treatments they may have an increase in their overall quality of life. Ketamine is not a standalone treatment for PTSD and its use in this setting must be carefully monitored. Patients with PTSD who seek out Ketamine infusions have often failed with other treatment modalities such as Anti-Depressants, Anxiolytics, Anti-psychotics, Psychotherapy, Meditation, Exposure Therapy, Eye Movement Desensitization, etc. Ketamine therapy offers a chance for the restoration of the balance, but its effectiveness is enhanced through continued therapy and we want it to be part of a larger plan to restore overall mental health. If your Mental Health Provider has recommended Ketamine as a treatment option, feel free to contact our office or have your provider contact us directly.

Take the first step towards reducing your PTSD symptoms.