People often balk when they hear someone is undergoing ketamine treatment. Although ketamine has valid medical purposes, it has become a popular party drug in recent years, which is what most people associate the drug with. Ketamine treatments are perfectly safe and are a valid treatment option for people with depression, PTSD, or other mood disorders. It provides fast and effective results, but there are a few side effects and risks psychiatrists want patients to know before undergoing an infusion.
After receiving the drug, most patients report experiencing a “dissociative” feeling. It feels as if you are having an out-of-body experience. The way things look and sound may be different than usual. The dissociative feeling lasts for about an hour after the infusion finished, and then wears off. Your doctor will ask that you remain at the ketamine clinic until this has worn off.
Ketamine can also cause blood pressure and heart rate to spike. For most people, this is the equivalent of walking up a flight of stairs, but this spike can be riskier for people with heart disease or other heart conditions. If you have a history of heart problems or other related medical conditions make sure your doctor is notified ahead of time so they can monitor you.
There isn’t much data on the long-term effects of ketamine. Most studies on ketamine focus on its use as an illicit drug. Regular ketamine use has been linked to memory issues and other problems related to thinking. However, these side effects aren’t an issue with the low doses used to treat mental disorders.
Some doctors have raised concerns about the potential of patients developing an addiction to the drug, leading to substance abuse issues. While there are no long-term studies, so far this hasn’t been proven. Because of the low doses used, patients don’t experience the intense high that the people get when they take illicit ketamine.
Ketamine is a valid depression treatment option that can provide quick and effective results to people that desperately need it. The side effects and risks are minimal, but if you have any further questions or concerns feel free to contact us. We’re more than happy to discuss it with you.
Since 2003, the Delray Center for Healing has provided exceptional psychiatric and therapeutic care for mental health, eating, and substance use disorders. To learn more about our philosophy and treatment approach, download our free e-book, “Psychiatry Redefined,” written by our founder and medical director, Raul J. Rodriguez, MD.