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What Is Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy?

Over the past decade, as mental health becomes more mainstream to talk about, people have been looking for alternative solutions to relieve both physical and mental health problems.

Ketamine-based solutions have exploded onto the scene, especially when paired with psychotherapy.

So what is ketamine-assisted psychotherapy?

In today’s blog, we’ll dive into everything there is to know about ketamine-assisted psychotherapy and break it all down so you can understand why this is becoming such a popular treatment option.

What Is Ketamine?

Ketamine is a medication that has been used for many years, dating back to the Vietnam War. It was initially used as an anesthetic for soldiers injured in battle.

It wasn’t until the 1990s that ketamine started to be studied for its potential antidepressant properties. 

Since then, it has been shown to be an effective treatment option for major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Ketamine is currently the only psychedelic drug approved by the FDA for treatment-resistant depression.

Ketamine, when administered by a medical professional as part of a treatment plan, is usually given intravenously (through an IV) or intramuscularly (with a shot). It can also be taken in pill form, but this is not as common. 

Many people who suffer from various mental health disorders who have undergone ketamine treatments report the experience as one that can offer relief from their symptoms within a few hours.

What Is Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy is a general term used to describe therapy that uses psychological 

techniques to help treat mental illness.

It can be conducted one-on-one, in a group setting, or even online. Some of the most common types of psychotherapy are cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, and family therapy.

Psychotherapy works through sessions, usually once a week, where patients talk to their therapist. The therapist then helps the patient to understand their thoughts and feelings better and find new ways to cope with them.

What Is Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy?

Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy, or KAP, is a type of therapy that uses ketamine as a tool to help treat mental illness.

Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy is usually conducted in an outpatient setting, which means that patients do not have to stay overnight in a hospital or treatment center.

Patients start by sitting down to discuss a treatment plan, and ask their own personal  questions to the medical professional. A plan is then made about when treatments will take place, usually done in multiple sessions over a month or two. 

During KAP, patients are typically given a low dose of ketamine intravenously. The therapist then talks to the patient while they are under the influence of ketamine.

The therapist will help the patient explore their thoughts and feelings during this time.

The idea behind KAP is that ketamine can help break down the barriers preventing patients from freely talking about their thoughts and feelings. This relieves their minds of these burdens, but it can also help them see their thoughts and feelings from a different perspective.

KAP also helps take the edge off many disorders that involve consistent pain or negative symptoms. This makes it easier for patients to talk about their experiences without feeling overwhelmed and provides them with relief after they are finished with their session.

What Are Some Side Effects of Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy?

The most common side effect of ketamine is dizziness, which usually goes away after a few minutes. Other side effects can include nausea, vomiting, headache, and fatigue.

These side effects are usually mild and go away within an hour or two. Some rare but more severe side effects can occur, such as high blood pressure, elevated heart rate, and heightened respiratory rate.

These side effects are usually only seen in people who abuse ketamine or take it recreationally. When used for KAP, the ketamine is given in low doses, and these side effects are rare.

How Long Has Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy Been Studied?

Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy has been studied for over two decades. In that time, it has shown to be an effective treatment option for mental illness, with a low risk of side effects.

Ketamine also provides a quick-acting time compared to other psychedelic treatments being studied. This means that patients can return to their daily lives relatively quickly after a session.

Other forms of treatments being studied, like LSD and MDMA, have a higher potential for abuse and longer-lasting side effects.

Is Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy Safe?

Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy is considered safe when used in low doses and under the supervision of a trained medical professional.

A 2022 study reported that after a 12-week KAP program, of the 94 patients involved:

  • 91% reported improvements in generalized anxiety
  • 79% saw improvements in depression
  • 86% of those who screened positive for PTSD now screen negative

The feedback from countless studies like this has all come back overwhelmingly positive with little or no long-term side effects.

Denovo Therapy Can Help You Discover KAP Safely

At Denovo Therapy, we understand that everyone’s experience is different. We offer ketamine-assisted psychotherapy treatments that can provide you with the care and support you need.

We believe that ketamine-assisted psychotherapy is a safe and effective treatment for different physical and mental illnesses, and we are here to help you every step of the way.

Our experts will work with you to create a custom treatment plan that fits your needs. This includes walking through all of your questions surrounding ketamine-assisted psychotherapy and what you can expect.

We have created a unique setting for all KAP patients to fully immerse themselves in their experience and feel comfortable and safe.

If you’re interested in learning more about ketamine-assisted psychotherapy or how it could help you, please give us a call or book your free consultation and discover how KAP can help you or a loved one find the healing you need.

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