Ketamine: Why It's a Game-Changer for Patients with PTSD

Nov 14, 2022
Ketamine: Why It's a Game-Changer for Patients with PTSD
Post-traumatic stress disorder affects millions of Americans, and while some are helped with medication and therapy, these traditional approaches are ineffective for others. That’s when ketamine can help.

Nearly 7% of Americans will experience the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) at some point during their lifetimes, including symptoms that can interfere with daily activities and even sleep. While therapy and medication can help, today there’s a new treatment with significant potential for relieving PTSD symptoms: ketamine therapy.

As a top-rated ketamine clinic in Fitchburg, Wisconsin, Revival Infusion Madison offers ketamine therapy for patients with PTSD, tailoring each treatment plan to the individual’s needs and responsiveness. Here’s what certified registered nurse anesthetist Sarah Wilczewski, CRNA, APNP wants you to know about this innovative, effective treatment.

PTSD: The basics

Most people associate PTSD with military veterans and other people who have been involved with or witnessed extremely stressful, traumatic situations. But the fact is, anyone can develop PTSD as the result of exposure to traumatic events — or even from hearing about those events. Assaults, natural disasters, and vehicle accidents are all potential triggers of PTSD.

PTSD can cause a variety of symptoms, including:

  • Flashbacks of the event
  • Nightmares
  • Avoiding situations that remind you of the event
  • Sleep problems
  • Trouble focusing or concentrating
  • Irritability and other mood problems
  • Feeling detached or “numb”
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Feeling like you’re always “on alert”

To be diagnosed with PTSD, you must meet specific criteria, including experiencing avoidance symptoms, re-experiencing symptoms, and reactivity symptoms, as well as changes in mood or cognitive abilities (like memory) related to your PTSD trigger or event.

Traditionally, PTSD has been treated with medication and therapy. While these methods are helpful for some people, they don’t always work to relieve symptoms. Ketamine has emerged as an alternative for people with treatment-resistant PTSD.

Ketamine and PTSD

Traditionally, ketamine has been used as an anesthetic to help you relax and fall asleep before surgery. Over the past decade or so, researchers have begun exploring the effects of ketamine in smaller doses — specifically, the benefits ketamine offers for patients with PTSD, depression, and anxiety.

Most medications used for PTSD and depression focus on chemicals called neurotransmitters. But ketamine is different: it acts on a chemical called glutamate, which plays a major role in PTSD symptoms, as well as other anxiety disorders.

Glutamate helps stabilize and regulate your mood. When glutamate levels are irregular or the brain doesn’t use glutamate appropriately, feelings of anxiety and depression can increase. Ketamine helps control glutamate production and function for significant — and rapid — improvement in symptoms.

At the same time, researchers believe ketamine helps improve nerve-to-nerve communication in the brain, which is often impaired in people with PTSD. Some studies show ketamine also promotes the development of new nerve connections, improving nerve communication and relieving anxiety.

What to expect during and after your session

Ketamine is administered through an IV that’s inserted in your arm. During your infusion, you’ll be in a relaxed, calming room, and you’ll be continuously monitored. As the ketamine takes effect, you can expect to feel very relaxed — some people describe the sensation as “floaty.”

Treatment takes about 40 minutes. Afterward, you’ll be a bit groggy, and you’ll need someone to drive you home. For most people, grogginess wears off within an hour. You can also expect to feel more relaxed and less anxious.

Most people with PTSD benefit from a series of ketamine infusions to help them manage their symptoms effectively. Your treatment plan will be based on your needs and how well you respond to your infusions.

Learn more about ketamine and PTSD

PTSD symptoms can wreak havoc on your health and your life, making it difficult to maintain relationships and interfering with work and other activities.

To learn more about ketamine therapy and how it could help you feel better, call 608-405-6824 or book an appointment online with the team at Revival Infusion Madison in Fitchburg, Wisconsin today.