Get ready to have your mind bloom
Psychedelic medicine is here. Let's celebrate.
So I was recently introduced to ketamine therapy and I am fascinated and feel that everyone needs to know about this. Let's raise awareness for this amazing psychedelic drug that helps people move past severe depression, ptsd, ocd and anxiety.
So according to Wikipedia:
Ketamine is a medication mainly used for starting and maintaining anesthesia. It induces a trance-like state while providing pain relief, sedation, and memory loss. Other uses include sedation in intensive care and treatment of pain and depression. Heart function, breathing, and airway reflexes generally remain functional. Effects typically begin within five minutes when given by injection, and last up to approximately 25 minutes.
Common side effects include agitation, confusion, or hallucinations as the medication wears off. Elevated blood pressure and muscle tremors are relatively common. Spasms of the larynx may rarely occur. Ketamine is an NMDA receptor antagonist, but it may also have other actions.
Ketamine was discovered in 1962, first tested in humans in 1964, and approved for use in the United States in 1970. It was extensively used for surgical anesthesia in the Vietnam War due to its safety. It is on the World Health Organization's List of Essential Medicines. It is available as a generic medication. Ketamine is also used as a recreational drug for its hallucinogenic and dissociative effects.
FYI: Ketamine is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA)
Ketamine Infusion Therapy can be administered in 3 different ways. You can have it done via injections, nasal spray, or via pill. The more common form of ketamine infusion is the pill form so that's what we'll be diving into. There is this amazing service called Mindbloom. Please do check them out if you are feeling at the edge.
How does MINDBLOOM work?
You start off with an online assessment and video consultation to see if you're a good fit for the drug. You will then schedule your first session. Normally, these are done in the clinic but due to co-vid you now have the option of doing this in the comfort of your home. The drugs are mailed to you and you check in with the clinician before you go under. Some people prefer to do this in their bedroom, but if you need more space (for example, if your home causes you distress) then it's probably a good idea to check into a hotel.
To prepare yourself, you cannot eat or drink 3 hours before your session, you will need a friend in the room with you, and you will need to write down some intentions. There is some journaling involved and it helps you resolve inner turmoil and lead you to greater self-awareness and a revised perception of the world. You will go over these intentions with the clinician before you take the drug. When you check-in you will be asked to take your blood pressure and heart rate. Take note, that you will have to do this after the treatment as well.
After your check-in with the clinician, you take the pills (you usually start off with 2). You do not swallow the pills, you let them dissolve and foam in your mouth. After 7 minutes you spit the solution out. This is where your friend comes in, they will be making sure you stay on track and on time. Thow an eye mask on and relax on your bed for about an hour. After that, your friend will tap you to let you know the hour is over.
For first-timers, try not to resist the effects of the drug. Surrender to it, let it envelop and dissociate you. You'll start to see things more clearly after a day or 2 ;) Give it some time to work its magic.
After your session, you will have an integration therapy session where you will talk to a therapist about the experience and breakthroughs, and any other thoughts you have. If you do not take the drug at your home, you need to have your friend bring you home. No driving cars, making big decisions, operating heavy machinery, or any potentially risky activities until the following day at the earliest. You do not necessarily have to have a friend be with you but it's probably a good idea for your first session just to make sure everything goes smoothly. Remember this is a powerful drug.
Depending on how your first session went, you will be given a personalized plan for the next 3 sessions. So in total, you will undergo 4 sessions of ketamine infusion therapy.
What does it feel like?
You won’t be unconscious, and your experience won’t be like a trip. When on ketamine people feel dissociated. The ketamine disrupts the action of the neurotransmitter (a brain chemical) known as glutamate and the patient feels dissociated. As a result, the patient will feel floaty/loopy and will experience a temporary elevation of heart rate and blood pressure According to Dr. Eli Kolp there are 4 types of experiences or states. Check them out below:
Awareness of body
Comfort and relaxation
Reduced ego defenses
Empathy, compassion, and warmth love and peace
OUT-OF-BODY EXPERIENCE (OBE)
Complete separation from one’s body
Significantly diminished ego defenses
Re-experiencing the birth process
NEAR-DEATH EXPERIENCE (NDE)
Departure from one’s body
Complete ego dissolution/loss of identity
Experienced physical (body) and psychological (mind) death
Experience being a single point of consciousness simply aware of itself
Reliving one’s life aware of how actions have affected others, with moral judgment of self
EGO-DISSOLVING TRANSCENDENTAL EXPERIENCE (EDT)
Ecstatic state of the dissolution of boundaries between the self and external reality
Complete dissolution of one’s body and self (soul)
Transcending normal mass/time/space continuum
Unity with Nature/Universe
During these experiences, a patient will be more able to process hurtful memories or repressed feelings. Ketamine opens the opportunity to work through these issues and allow for effective healing.
Other the dissociative effects you may experience the below:
Fatigue: You may feel groggy and fatigued after treatment. It's a good idea to have a person with you to make sure you are ok and make it back home ok.
Dizziness / Nausea: You may experience some dizziness or nausea but this can be countered by anti-nausea medication before or during the treatment.
Ketamine is not usually covered by insurance. The cost can range from anywhere from $150-$450 per treatment. At Mindbloom, the cost is $250 per session. Check this link for a break down of the price. FYI, after your first program, you may be eligible for additional programs starting at $150 per session.
There is no potential for addiction as the drug is given infrequently and in low doses.
What does ketamine do to the brain?
Ketamine allows physical growth in the brain's prefrontal cortex. It helps establish new connections between neurons while simultaneously repairing damaged cells. It increases neurotransmitters like glutamate which aid in building new pathways, and thus improve other aread such as mood and sleep.
In other words, ketamine has a much more rapid effect on increasing neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the ability of neural networks in the brain to change through growth and reorganization. These changes can range from individual neurons making new connections, to systematic adjustments like cortical remapping.
Ketamine vs SSRI's?
Ketamine seems to be a much more effective treatment than SSRI's. SSRI's working by fixing the chemical imbalance in our brains, they do not repair the damage caused by long-term stress and anxiety.
I hope you enjoyed reading about ketamine therapy! Now that you know so much about it, would you consider giving it a shot? How do you feel about ketamine? Please let me know your thoughts in the comments!
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