Does Ketamine Really Work?

Michael J. Miletic, MD

Ketamine has reached wide acceptance in the medical community, but the majority of ketamine use seems to ignore its true power.  Today, we see it uses is as a stand-alone therapy using pills, nasal sprays or injections.  Users often report some short term relief from their mental health symptoms, but really this is just a short acting legalized high.  As it too often does, the medical community is looking for a magic pill – a ‘one size fits all’ solution where the patient is passive and the profits are high.  Rather than seeking a cure (which would end the revenue stream), let’s just invite the patient to get on a never ending cycle of medication and occasional office visits. 

Yes, I’m fed up.  I’ve treated too many patients who have been on this merry go round for years without real progress.  I see real potential when Ketamine is done right, and I don’t want to see it relegated to the ever growing pile of “somewhat effective” medications.  When used correctly, Ketamine works for depression, anxiety, trauma and has shown promise for addiction and other ailments.  

So, how do we use Ketamine for real, powerful results?   Ketamine inhibits NMDA receptors, and has powerful effects on neurotransmitters, neural circuits, and even stimulates estrogen receptors.  It is this latter effect, once fully employed in Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy, that can produce profound and potentially permanent changes.   Both patient and doctor must be highly committed and ready to dig in.  Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy is intensive, demanding and rewarding to both patient and therapist.  It starts with the right environment, putting the patient at ease. Then, skilled practitioners create the unbreakable trust that is at the heart of trauma psychotherapy.  Attachment wounds begin to heal in a reliable and compassionate environment. This is discussed in great detail by renowned psychiatrists Bessel Van Der Kolk, Gabor Mate and  John Bowlby, if you’d like to do further reading on trauma.

And then, the hard work begins. The patient and therapist join in an emotionally intimate journey to understand the unconscious, from the pain and sorrows that grip their lives, to the joys and beauties that are possible.  Both hard and heartfelt, there is no shortcut to releasing the patient from the prison of depression and anxiety.

To learn more about Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy, please talk with our Nurse Practitioner, Kim Erison.  She will answer your questions and help you know if you are a good candidate for this. To schedule, call (248) 593-8540.