I Have PTSD: Can Ketamine Infusion Therapy Help?

I Have PTSD: Can Ketamine Infusion Therapy Help?

Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can have a devastating impact on your life. It manifests following a live-threatening traumatic event, such as physical or sexual assault, a natural disaster, or a war.

If you or a loved one suffers from PTSD, the consequences can be severe. You may find yourself plagued with a constant re-experiencing of the trauma and avoidance of situations that remind you of the experience. 

Men and women suffering from PTSD are more likely to experience depression and anxiety, and to have a lower quality of life compared to those who don’t have PTSD.

The team at Renew Infusions and East Valley Serenity Health in Gilbert, Arizona, offers novel treatment for PTSD and other mental health disorders. Ketamine, a well-known anesthetic with dissociative properties, is showing benefits in treating symptoms of PTSD, as well as depression and anxiety. 

Keep reading to learn how ketamine can help you get relief from your distressing PTSD symptoms.

Your brain and PTSD

Traumatic events alter the structure of your brain and can have devastating consequences. Your brain is complex, and its structure and function have been studied for centuries. The areas impacted by PTSD are the amygdala, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex. These areas play a key role in mood, thinking, judgment, and decision making.

The amygdala, the brain's threat detection region, increases in volume when you have PTSD. The hippocampus, where memories are stored, decreases in volume; and the prefrontal cortex, which controls judgment and decision making, helps calm the amygdala but can also decrease in volume as PTSD symptoms worsen. 

These complex structural changes can make PTSD challenging to improve with conventional treatments.

What is ketamine?

Ketamine was first developed as a general anesthetic in the early 1960s and was later approved for human use by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It’s still used today as an anesthetic for patients undergoing minor surgical procedures, as well as for light sedation. 

Since the 1980s, ketamine has been the subject of extensive research regarding its efficacy in treating mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and PTSD — and it has exciting results.

Ketamine as a novel treatment for PTSD

Repeated intravenous (IV) ketamine infusions significantly reduce symptom severity in individuals with chronic PTSD, according to a study conducted by researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine. What’s more, the improvement is rapid and sustained for several weeks following treatment.

The study, which was published in the January 2021 issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry, is the first randomized, controlled trial evaluating the effectiveness of repeated ketamine administration for PTSD. Other smaller studies have shown similar results in the past.

How does ketamine improve PTSD symptoms?

A growing body of evidence suggests that glutamate, an amino acid produced by your body, plays a role in the stress response and formation of traumatic memories. Ketamine blocks the glutamatergic N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor, which is theorized to contribute to its benefits in improving PTSD symptoms.

Its antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects are thought to work by increasing a family of proteins linked to mood control called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), as well as by reducing a regulatory protein called glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK3).

There’s a link between GSK3 dysregulation and susceptibility to PTSD, as well as mood disorders. Inhibiting GSK3 appears to also be an important component of the therapeutic actions of ketamine.

Although some anti-depressants may impact these chemicals, it can take 6-12 weeks before you feel any relief. Ketamine, on the other hand, may provide relief in as little as a few hours following your infusion. This means rapid relief from debilitating symptoms.

PTSD relief with ketamine infusions

If you’re struggling with symptoms of PTSD and other treatments have failed to provide adequate relief, there is hope. We invite you to learn more about the potential benefits of ketamine infusions for PTSD. 

To get started, call our office to schedule a visit with one of our providers or book an appointment online today. We’re here to help you recover and get relief from chronic symptoms of PTSD so you can thrive again. 

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