Life-changing, fast-acting healing for those suffering from chronic mental health and pain syndromes.
Ketamine has been proven safe and effective over decades of widespread use. The drug has a minimal effect on breathing, blood pressure, and heart rate, making it an ideal anesthetic. Ketamine was first synthesized in 1962 by a professor of Chemistry, Calvin L. Stevens and it was first FDA-approved for anesthesia in 1970 as a wartime anesthetic for the Vietnam War. Given ketamine’s safety, it is on the World Health Organization’s List of Essential Medicines.
Although ketamine has been used for over 50 years in medicine, its mental health applications are still considered “off label” – meaning the FDA has not formally approved them. Ketamine’s use with depression and other conditions has been extensively researched with many promising results so far. Studies confirming benefits for treating depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, bipolar disorder, migraines, and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) have been done at Yale University, The National Institute of Health, Harvard University, and Johns Hopkins University.
As safe as ketamine is, it should always be given only under supervision from a licensed physician or medical professional specifically trained in administering ketamine safely. At Illumma, you will be fully monitored by a trained paramedic at all times, as well as overseen by a nurse practitioner in the clinic and our medical director, Dr. Ken Adolph. As a board-certified cardiac anesthesiologist with over 25 years of experience, his depth and breadth of knowledge allow you to know you are receiving the highest level of care possible.
How does Ketamine Infusion Therapy work?
While ketamine is the most researched psychedelic medication, how it exactly works is still being investigated. Studies have shown that it has a multilayered effect that targets dozens of systems in the brain and has a psychological and spiritual impact on clients. This creates a “reboot,” resetting the mind’s innate ability to heal itself.
Biologically ketamine targets the most common neurotransmitter, glutamate. Glutamate is used in the brain for neurons to communicate. At high doses, ketamine seems to block glutamate, making it an effective anesthetic. But at low doses, glutamate production is enhanced while also increasing BDNF, a vital protein. An increase in BDNF results in increased neurogenesis and neuroplasticity. This helps those with chronic pain and depression restore their neuronal activity and synaptic strength, restoring and resetting their brain to a healthier state.
Another way ketamine works is to down-regulate the Default Mode Network, DMN, which controls our inner dialog and where our ego resides. What research has shown us is that the DMN isn’t designed to make us happy. Its evolutionary purpose is to protect us. When ketamine is given, this area becomes less active, relaxing the mind and breaking it from cyclical thoughts and stories. This detachment from the ego aids in the healing process and allows us space to reexamine the stories we have of ourselves.
Ketamine provides a space for patients to explore their traumatic memories in a new light. Psychologically ketamine allows you to explore your subconscious, the part of the mind that is not entirely aware but influences one’s actions and feelings. Accessing the subconscious explores memories, emotions, and stories containing unprocessed or repressed feelings like pain. Analyzingeverydaythis part of your mind can help you heal from past trauma by cleaning it up so that these negative experiences don’t linger on in our minds forever. The dissociative effect of ketamine often leads people who have been through trauma or unpleasantness, where they may see things from an entirely different perspective and come out with newfound insight about themselves as well as the world around them.
Lastly, ketamine works on a spiritual level by helping you reconnect with yourself and the larger whole. Whether or not you believe in God, Universe, or Humanity, we all have a deep desire to connect. The loss of this connection creates suffering, which ketamine can help to reestablish. This shift reminds us that we are not alone and can open us to trusting that we are supported and looked after.
Ketamine is a unique drug because it works on many levels. Ketamine does not have one action but many mechanisms working together in harmony. Together, they are more than the sum and make a complete picture that may never be fully understood by studying any part alone.
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