Skip to main content
What is PTSD, and How Can Ketamine Help Treat It?
December 10, 2023 at 8:00 AM

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric condition triggered by experiencing or witnessing a terrifying or life-threatening event. Symptoms of PTSD include flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, uncontrollable thoughts about the event, emotional distress, physical reactivity, feelings of hopelessness, and avoidance of reminders related to the trauma. PTSD can be extremely debilitating and disrupt daily functioning and quality of life.

PTSD is thought to stem from disruptions in brain circuits and neurotransmitters due to trauma. Imaging studies reveal changes and abnormalities in areas of the brain responsible for fear and stress responses in PTSD patients. Currently available PTSD treatments like psychotherapy and SSRI medications aim to help patients process memories and manage symptoms, but they do not directly address these underlying brain changes.

This is where ketamine infusion therapy offers new hope for those suffering from PTSD.

How Ketamine May Work for PTSD

Ketamine is a unique drug that operates differently than traditional antidepressants and anxiety medications. As an NMDA receptor antagonist, ketamine blocks glutamate, restores synaptic connections, and facilitates “neuroplasticity” – the brain’s ability to form new neural pathways in response to experiences.

Research over the past two decades demonstrates ketamine’s rapid reduction of PTSD symptoms and its potential to help “rewire” disrupted brain circuits. In PTSD, the areas of the brain responsible for fear extinction learning are impaired, making it difficult to process and integrate traumatic memories adaptively. Ketamine is postulated to “reset” these neural circuits - allowing the brain to better control fear responses to triggers after treatment.

Beyond impacting neural remodeling, ketamine also increases levels of BDNF - a protein vital for learning, memory, and higher thinking in the brain. It also stimulates the growth of synapses and serves to “fertilize the soil” prior to psychotherapy. New experiences and perspectives gained during counseling can then take better root to support healing and recovery.

Benefits of Ketamine Infusions for PTSD

The benefits of ketamine infusions for PTSD include:

Rapid relief of symptoms like panic, anxiety, nightmares, and flashbacks - Most patients experience improvement within hours of their first infusion. Effects continue to build with 6-8 initial treatments spaced 3-5 days apart.

Increased safety, self-confidence, and emotional stability - PTSD sufferers often feel unsafe and on high alert. Ketamine allows patients to relax, build coping skills, and feel in control again.

Reduced avoidance and dissociation - Ketamine allows patients to confront painful memories from a grounded, calm emotional space to work through trauma.

Increased motivation, sociability, and re-engagement in life - Isolation, withdrawal, lack of joy or purpose plague many with PTSD. Ketamine promotes positive mood and interest in relationships, work, hobbies again.

Prevention of relapse when combined with therapy – Talk therapy helps cement gains made with ketamine by reframing perspectives on past events and developing healthy coping strategies for the long term.

Ketamine and Psychotherapy: An Ideal Combination Treatment

While ketamine offers amazing progress on its own, psychotherapy combined with IV ketamine infusions may provide even better outcomes for PTSD recovery. The heightened neuroplasticity and stable mood produced by ketamine constitute a “sweet spot” where talk therapy can really make an impact.

During this window between infusions, trauma-focused psychotherapy provides critical guidance. Trained counselors assist in processing memories, shifting unhelpful thought patterns, and adopting new coping mechanisms. With reduced fear and anxiety, patients can gain insights into their own behaviors and make positive changes – without feeling overwhelmed.

Consistency is key when combining these PTSD treatments. Ongoing infusions plus weekly counseling maximizes potential to relieve current symptoms while developing long-term resilience. Together, psychotherapy and ketamine work to both “reset the system” biologically while updating emotional patterns and perspectives mentally.

Get in touch with Long Island Ketamine Infusions to seek ketamine for ptsd treatment!

If you or someone you love suffers from PTSD, finding an effective treatment should be a top priority. This devastating disorder takes an immense toll both physically and emotionally when left untreated. The longer PTSD persists, the more deeply entrenched and harder to alleviate symptoms become.

The caring and experienced providers at Long Island Ketamine Infusions understand the strains PTSD places on individuals and families. We utilize cutting-edge ketamine therapy tailored specifically to target stubborn PTSD symptoms when traditional methods fail. Whether used on its own or in combination with psychotherapy, ketamine offers new hope to gain back your sense of safety, control, and joy when nothing else has worked. Please reach out for a consultation today to discuss how we can get you or your loved one on the path to healing. Our entire staff is ready to guide you toward the more peaceful and promising future you deserve. We are eager to develop an effective, integrative treatment plan to help you or your loved one overcome PTSD and thrive once again.