Does ketamine therapy get you high?

A closer look at common ketamine therapy questions.

Over the past decade ketamine has undergone a significant re-brand. For years, ketamine was mostly recognized for its recreational effects—even though the FDA approved ketamine as a general anesthetic in the 1970s.

But in 2000, the Yale School of Medicine published a randomized controlled trial demonstrating its antidepressant effects, setting off a wave of clinical studies and research focused on the effect of ketamine on the brain.

And in 2019, the FDA approved Spravato nasal spray, made from a derivative called esketamine. In the five years since, ketamine therapy for major depressive disorder has moved closer into the mainstream of mental health.

What is Ketamine?

Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic that interacts with neurotransmitters in the brain. Medical professionals typically administer ketamine treatments through intravenous (IV) infusions in a controlled medical setting. But it’s also available as an injection, nasal spray, or tablet.

Chronic stress and depression can harm brain pathways, but ketamine may help repair connections and enhance communication between different brain areas. Low-dose ketamine treatments restore affected or inactive neural circuits by stimulating the production of Glutamate, which then stimulates BDNF, a protein that prompts neuroplasticity.

Does ketamine get you high?

As a dissociative anesthetic, ketamine may induce an altered state that is sometimes referred to as tripping. People experience these dissociative effects in different ways—some people feel as though they are detached from themselves (and their bodies) which gives them the chance to view their lives from a completely new perspective.

Others may have a dream-like experience with enhanced visuals, bright colors and surreal shapes. And some report feeling as though they are floating. No two ketamine journeys are the exact same.

It’s also important to remember that these dissociative feelings are only temporary, and the effects of ketamine start to wane within an hour or so of your treatment.

Other ketamine therapy side effects are mild, but may include dizziness, nausea, and increased blood pressure. If you receive ketamine therapy under the guidance of a clinician, they will monitor your side effects after your treatment.

Is ketamine therapy safe?

Numerous studies indicate that when administered under the guidance of a licensed medical professional, ketamine is a safe and well-tolerated treatment. Though ketamine is considered safe and efficacious, it is still a substance and should be administered with care.

Environment plays a significant role in the safety of ketamine. This medication is not right for everyone, and it takes a trained clinician to ask the right questions about symptoms and medical history before recommending the treatment. Additionally, not everyone responds to ketamine in the same way. Clinicians in a medical practice monitor a patient’s physical reactions and mental progression throughout the course of their treatment.

Is ketamine addictive?

Studies do indicate that long-term recreational use may lead to addiction. Anyone who has battled addiction or substance use disorder in the past may be especially susceptible if they self-administer ketamine without the guidance and consent of a doctor.

Receiving ketamine therapy at a medical clinic and under the guidance of a board-certified psychiatrist limits the potential for recreational use and misuse.

Does ketamine actually help depression or is it placebo?

Ketamine therapy essentially operates on two levels: the experiential and the physiological. The experience of ketamine may uncover profound insights that had been buried deep in your subconscious. Although these insights can be helpful, they may not necessarily alleviate symptoms of depression, especially when combined with ketamine integration therapy.

But ketamine’s physiological impact does play a direct role in symptom reduction. As mentioned above, chronic stress and depression have an effect of the brain’s neural pathways.

But research indicates that ketamine induces neuronal activity in regions of the brain associated with mood. When neurons communicate more, it can change how we think and help alleviate depression symptoms. That’s why ketamine therapy can be helpful when used with integrative therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy.

What are the benefits of ketamine therapy?

Research suggests that ketamine therapy can offer significant benefits for individuals with treatment-resistant depression (TRD) or anxiety. Some research indicates thats a single dose of ketamine therapy can reduce suicidal ideation.

Beyond symptom relief, ketamine may help revitalize energy levels, regulate sleep patterns, and mitigate persistent feelings of sadness. Moreover, ketamine therapy could potentially repair damage caused by chronic stress hormones, offering a holistic approach to mental health treatment.

Ketamine therapy represents a novel approach to addressing mental health challenges, particularly for individuals who have not responded to conventional treatments. Under the guidance of trained healthcare professionals, ketamine therapy can provide relief, hope, and healing for those navigating the complexities of mental illness.

It is important to consult with a qualified healthcare provider before deciding to pursue ketamine therapy. They can assess your individual needs, risks, and treatment goals. By encouraging open conversations and empathy, we can keep discovering how ketamine therapy can improve mental health and overall well-being.

In medical treatment, it is important to prioritize safety, informed consent, and personalized care for the best patient outcomes. Safety should always be a top concern in medical care. Informed consent means patients understand and agree to their treatment. Personalized care tailors treatment to each patient’s specific needs.