Understanding Ketamine Therapy in Arizona

nurse connecting an intravenous ketamine infusion drip in hospital room

There’s a lot of hype around ketamine-assisted psychotherapy as it has proven extremely popular since the pandemic in assisting patients with managing their anxiety and coping with their depression.

It’s been used as a sedative for pets by veterinarians for decades, and it remains a common anesthetic for humans and is used regularly in hospitals and trauma units the world over. 

Extensive clinical trials in the past two decades have seen ketamine-assisted psychotherapy play an ever-increasing role in treatment centers such as Camelback Recovery, where we embrace a holistic approach to our client’s well-being, drawing on several therapeutic modalities when devising the appropriate treatment plan.

If you have proven resistant to traditional antidepressants, then ketamine-assisted psychotherapy may be just what you are looking for. Likewise, if you are suffering from PTSD, bipolar depression, suicidal ideation, eating disorders, OCD, or general anxiety, then ketamine might prove lifesaving.

Ketamine has been approved as an anesthetic by the FDA since 1970, but its use (in moderation) in a controlled environment has made it more popular as a tool for treating depression.

What makes ketamine stand out from other psychiatric medications that affect our emotions and our moods is that it effectively makes us more open-minded and receptive to new ways of thinking.

It does this by influencing a neurotransmitter in our brain called glutamate. Glutamate plays a major role in shaping learning and memory, and it keeps our brain functioning properly. A dose of ketamine triggers a cascade of changes to the glutamate receptors in our brains, causing ‘neural plasticity’.

It sounds dramatic, but in a simple way, we are learning to rewire our brains. A dose of ketamine can last for up to an hour, and it’s normally given intravenously at a dosage much lower than that which would be used for sedation.

Young lady undergoing ketamine psychotherapy in PhoenixA client will lie down (or sit in a chair) and the experience is akin to floating, or leaving your physical self behind. In this heightened, slightly euphoric state you may feel more willing and able to look at past trauma or the root cause of your depression.

While no two people’s experience with ketamine can be said to feel the same, there is a general feeling of peace and serenity. Colors may appear brighter, and music may speak directly to you.

It’s important that you are carefully monitored while undergoing ketamine therapy as your blood pressure may rise and you might also struggle with feelings of disassociation. This can present as nausea, drowsiness, dizziness, and poor coordination.

Even clients that have not enjoyed their first treatment session have been known to come back and repeat the experience (albeit with an adjusted dosage) as the positive, mood-enhancing side effects are immediately noticeable and long-lasting, whereas the adverse side effects quickly wear off. Ketamine doesn’t stay in the human body for more than an hour or two.

A ketamine-assisted psychotherapy treatment may involve taking ketamine twice a week for the first month, and then once a week for a second month. The client remains under observation for some time after the dosage has worn off (usually lasting an hour) to ensure that there are no negative side effects.

During this time, talk therapy is encouraged. Your behavioral patterns become easier to rework as you are buoyed with this new way of experiencing the world. Feelings of shame and the desire to self-harm are greatly reduced. It’s as if you have been stuck in a room with the curtains drawn, and ketamine affords you the opportunity to let in some light.

One’s entire medical risk needs to be taken into account before prescribing ketamine. It’s not recommended for people suffering from psychosis and some people find the psychedelic side of the drug too much to handle.

It’s also not advised that you do anything stressful after ketamine-assisted psychotherapy treatment (such as driving your car or returning to a stressful work environment), and clients are advised against self-administration too.

Phoenix Arizona Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy Treatment at Camelback Recovery

Ketamine’s popularity has seen a proliferation of wellness centers popping up offering ketamine therapy in Phoenix, and you can even get mail-order ketamine subscriptions. The route that Camelback Recovery takes is more pragmatic and considered. We take a holistic approach to each client’s wellness, drawing on a wide range of therapeutic modalities that can best serve your particular needs.

Doctor talking to the patient about the ketamine-assisted psychotherapy treatment in Phoenix.

It’s no good being given the keys to the kingdom, but then not knowing what to do with them. Which is to say that ketamine-assisted psychotherapy treatment with Camelback Recovery begins with getting the client to see and appreciate life from an elevated position, dragging them out of the depths of their depression and anxiety.

That’s what the initial sessions are for. But our support network and therapeutic care continue with finding ways in which you can then integrate your psychological insights gained while on ketamine into your everyday life so that you start living a life of purpose and meaning. One where drugs of any kind are more of a distant afterthought as you choose to embrace life, with kindness toward yourself and a willingness to learn and grow.