Treating Anxiety with Ketamine

Your day-to-day life can be full of stressors. You might be worried about a job interview, or a speech that you have to deliver in front of a crowd. These things can cause a lot of stress for most people, and when you’re stressed, your body reacts instinctively to cope with it. Your body’s natural response to stress is called anxiety. It is a feeling of apprehension or fear about what’s to come. This is perfectly normal, as it helps you adapt to what’s happening to your life. However, if your feelings of anxiety last longer than six months, or are extreme to the point that they affect your activities of daily living, you might have an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety about moving, or taking a test, or meeting someone very important is normal. It may feel very unpleasant, but it helps motivate you to work harder. You may feel anxiety every day, but it should not interfere with your activities. Experts are not yet sure about the exact cause of anxiety, but it is most likely linked to a combination of factors such as brain chemistry and genetic and environmental factors.

In anxiety disorders, this fear of the unknown can be too intense and in some cases, debilitating. It may even stop you from doing things that you usually enjoy. Some people even get scared of crossing the street or leaving their homes. According to the American Psychiatric Association, anxiety disorders are more often diagnosed in women than in men. However, it may affect people of all ages.

Anxiety may feel different depending on the person who experiences it. It may range from subtle butterflies in your stomach to a rapid pulse and a feeling of helplessness. Some people with anxiety experience nightmares, painful thoughts and memories, or panic attacks. The most common symptoms include rapid breathing, restlessness, insomnia, and trouble concentrating. It is important to note that there are many types of anxiety symptoms that you may experience. These symptoms vary from person to person, which is why it is essential to identify all the ways anxiety may manifest.

People with anxiety disorders frequently have negative feelings and unhealthy thought patterns. However, anxiety can be treated so those affected can live a better quality of life. One of the most popular treatments for anxiety disorders is the use of ketamine.

Ketamine as Therapy for Anxiety

Originally approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an anesthetic drug, ketamine is now being used widely to treat different mood disorders. This includes post-traumatic stress disorder, treatment-resistant depression, and anxiety disorders.

How Ketamine Works

Glutamate is one of the brain’s key neurotransmitters. It is an amino acid usually found in 80% of neurons. It influences the number and the formation of brain synapses, which are the connections between neurons. This neurotransmitter acts with another one called GABA, in order to maintain a well-functioning nervous system. Because of this, any imbalance between glutamate and GABA can lead to problems such as sleep disturbances, overstimulation, problems with focus, and of course, anxiety. It can also be associated with major depressive disorder.

Evidence points to ketamine as an effective means to rebalance the glutamate system by acting as a receptor antagonist. Ketamine is an ionotropic glutamatergic N-methyl-d-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist. NMDA is involved in memory function and synaptic plasticity. When induced by ketamine, blockade of the NMDA receptor results in an increase in glutamate. This means it has anti-anxiety and antidepressant effects due to the activation of synaptic plasticity through increasing brain-derived neurotrophic factor translation and secretion. It also inhibits glycogen synthase kinase-3 and effectively activates mammalian target of rapamycin signaling.

In a study published online in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, it was revealed that in patients who suffer from treatment-refractory anxiety with a visible response to ketamine, weekly maintenance doses over a course of three months were tolerated well. It also shows significantly improved work and social functioning. The findings in this study strongly suggest that maintenance ketamine can be a therapeutic alternative for anxiety patients.

Patients who experienced ketamine treatment were able to make substantial changes to their lifestyles. For example, they were able to study, make friends, engage socially and travel. Reduced anxiety means everyday tasks are more tolerable. Some patients even say that they noticed an increase in their ability to concentrate, which in turn leads to improved functionality.

How Ketamine is given

In the United States, anxiety is considered as one of the most common mental disorders. Each year, anxiety disorders reportedly affect approximately 18% of adults. Only 36.9% of patients with anxiety seek treatment, while only 30-40% of them won’t achieve remission with medications. If traditional anxiety medications prove to be effective, it may take 6-12 weeks before the symptoms are alleviated. With intravenous ketamine, patients may see and feel results within 24 hours of the first treatment session. As the protocol continues, symptom relief is effectively sustained.

In Los Angeles, ketamine is given by a trained medical professional, such as a nurse. Before the treatment process, expect a one-on-one consultation with a psychiatrist first. A well-trained nurse creates an intravenous line where ketamine is given. The dosage strictly depends on the patient’s body weight, following a specific guideline and computation for the initial infusion. A ketamine clinic of Los Angeles does a controlled medical setting, and all patients are monitored for any adverse reactions. It is delivered at a slow and controlled rate, so patients and their families can be sure that the procedure is very safe. Ketamine as an intravenous drug does not suppress the cardiovascular or respiratory system, and the patients won’t become unconscious or hallucinate. However, episodes of nausea, disorientation, sensitivity to lights and sounds for the first few minutes after the infusion can be expected.

If you or a loved one is currently suffering from anxiety, it may sometimes feel like you’ve already done everything to help. Intravenous ketamine infusion might just be the solution. Consult a professional today and get help so you can start living your life to the fullest, without the burden of anxiety.