Q: What is Ketamine, and how does it work?
A: Ketamine is a medication that has been FDA-approved since 1970. It has historically been used as an anesthetic and analgesic during surgeries, and is well known for its safety and efficacy. More recently, it has been studied at much lower doses for a variety of psychiatric disorders, including depression, PTSD, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, and addictions. Ketamine is primarily thought to work by blocking the N-methyl-D-Aspartate (NMDA) receptor, which modifies the effects of glutamate in the brain.
Q: What are the routes of Ketamine administration?
A: Ketamine can be given intravenously (directly into the veins), intramuscularly (as a shot into the muscles), intranasally (as a nasal spray which is inhaled), and orally by mouth. At Centerspace, we administer Ketamine orally, intramuscularly, and intranasally, depending on the patient’s unique treatment plan.
Q: What is Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy?
A: There is increasing evidence that when provided in a safe and controlled environment, Ketamine may be a powerful tool for improving mental wellness. While the medication by itself has psychiatric effects, we believe that this treatment is most effective when paired with psychotherapy. One way to think about Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy is that it catalyzes psychological change. Our treatment process includes visits that will prepare you for your Ketamine sessions. After the medication sessions, we continue to work with you to help you integrate your experience and insights into your daily life.
Q: What does the Ketamine experience feel like?
A: When given at approximately 1/10th the standard anesthetic dose, Ketamine produces a temporary, unusual experience, noted for its dissociative, anti-anxiety, and anti-depressant qualities. This experience is sometimes referred to as a “Non-Ordinary State of Consciousness” and shares similarities to being in a deep meditative state and how the brain works during vivid dreaming.
Q: How long does the Ketamine session last?
A: A typical visit for Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy takes 2-3 hours. The time that it takes to begin feeling the effects of Ketamine varies by method of administration, but effects typically subside within 90 minutes. After the visit, it is important to arrange for someone to take you home safely, as you may still feel somewhat drowsy after the session.
Q: What are the most common side effects of Ketamine?
A: The side effects of ketamine depend on the dose that is given. The most common side effects include temporary feelings of nausea or upset stomach, anxiety, and elevated blood pressure. At Centerspace, we take every precaution to reduce the frequency of side effects. Our protocol includes starting at conservative doses to reduce these risks, and individuals who have side effects may be offered medication to further limit the chance of nausea or anxiety.
Q: How does COVID-19 impact the process of receiving Ketamine treatment and what are Centerspace’s protocols handling in-person sessions?
A: We want to assure our patients that we are committed to their safety and well-being. This includes the current COVID-19 crisis. We are staying up to date and implementing all of the recommendations of the CDC and following the guidelines that MUSC’s COVID response team has developed to keep our patients safe and healthy at all times. Non-medication sessions can be conducted via telehealth. Necessary precautions are taken for all in-person visits at the center.
Q: What is the cost of Ketamine treatment and do you accept insurance?
A: The price of Ketamine treatment will vary per patient, as everyone has different needs. We are happy to discuss costs and insurance options in depth—please contact us for more information.