How is Ketamine Therapy Used for Anxiety?

How is Ketamine Therapy Used for Anxiety?

If you struggle with anxiety, you know just how frustrating it can be to find long-term relief. Not only are those ever-present anxious feelings uncomfortable, they can actually get in the way of living a full and satisfying life. 

Anxiety has deeply rooted causes that manifest differently in all of us. However, there’s a tool that might be able to help heal your anxiety and begin living with a greater sense of safety, pleasure, and joy. 

Ketamine, an FDA-approved anaesthetic, has been used for years in medical settings to sedate people for surgeries. And for nearly two decades now, it’s also been used at lower doses in ketamine-assisted therapy. This treatment can safely help people struggling with anxiety to achieve a sense of relief they hadn’t been able to before. 

While many people try various treatments to ease the symptoms of anxiety, some just aren’t able to find a lasting solution. In fact, up to 30-40% of people with anxiety are unable to find relief through standard treatment.  And while not everyone is a candidate for ketamine-assisted treatment, if you struggle with anxiety it’s possible this medicine could help you. Keep reading to learn how ketamine can be used to ease anxiety and to discover if it might be the right choice for your healing journey.

What is Ketamine-assisted Therapy or KAT?

Ketamine-assisted therapy (KAT) is a form of treatment that trained clinicians have used safely for almost 20 years to help people heal from anxiety, treatment-resistant depression, and addiction. When ketamine infusion is combined with psychotherapy or talk therapy, clients are often able to work through anxiety-inducing experiences and memories with more ease. 

Because of its ability to act as a powerful catalyst to your healing, ketamine-assisted treatment is becoming more widely available across the U.S. Here at The Sanctuary, we offer ketamine therapy as part of our holistic treatment process so that our clients can get the most out of their time here, as well as get the most out of their KAT experience. 

How Ketamine Affects Your Brain

Ketamine works by modulating a neurotransmitter in your brain called glutamate to help you feel more relaxed, comfortable, and at ease. Unlike antidepressants, which often take weeks to have a noticeable effect on anxiety and depression, ketamine works rapidly. Scientists are still trying to figure out how and why ketamine has such a quick effect, but we do know that ketamine helps to rebuild connections between brain cells previously damaged by stress and anxiety. This helps to promote your brain’s neuroplasticity—that is, your brain’s ability to change and create new neural networks. This can help you to naturally change the way your brain connects ideas and associations, which can help to lower your anxiety and create positive behavioral changes. 

When safely administered, ketamine can also help you to connect with deeply buried emotions that you may have avoided letting rise to the surface. With ketamine, many people find they can access and engage with these emotions in ways they’ve never been able to before. They find relief from negative patterns of thinking and instead have the opportunity to connect with their innermost feelings from a place of safety. 

When combined with a holistic treatment approach to anxiety, ketamine therapy can be a useful  tool to dig deeper, faster, into your healing journey. In this way, it can help you to create long-lasting and positive changes in all areas of your life. 

How We Administer Ketamine 

Ketamine is a controlled medical substance in the U.S., meaning only trained professionals in a medical setting can administer it. You can take ketamine intranasally (through the nose) or intravenously (through an IV). In a clinical setting, both of these methods are completely safe, though studies have shown that taking ketamine intravenously is more effective than intranasally.

Of course, administration isn’t just about how you introduce ketamine to the body. Today, many outpatient ketamine clinics administer the drug for anxiety and other conditions as a stand-alone treatment. That’s to say, patients receive a ketamine infusion in a sterile medical setting, and are then sent home to emotionally process on their own. At The Sanctuary, we use ketamine as part of a therapeutic process. It’s integrated into your treatment plan in combination with other powerful healing modalities, so you can holistically heal your anxiety alongside whatever else you may be working through. 

Why Use KAT if You Have Anxiety?

If you struggle with anxiety, you know how debilitating it can feel. Many people struggle to find a sustainable solution to their anxiety, which is easy to understand. We live in a stressful world. If you’ve tried various treatments for your anxiety to no avail, you’re not alone.

What’s exciting is that multiple studies have now shown that ketamine has the power to relieve psychological pain and create new neural pathways for your emotional and mental healing. For example, one of our former clients reported:

“Especially with that negative critic that was always in my head and those negative thought loops, I felt like [my anxiety, PTSD, and depression were] consuming me. Ketamine really allowed my mind to open up and expand. Creating those new neural pathways was incredible for me because it allowed me to pull myself out of those thought loops and see life from a different perspective. Before I wasn’t aware of my triggers, I wasn’t aware of what was actually affecting me. The ketamine allows you to revisit those [triggers], but almost not as strongly, almost not as attached to those emotions. Alongside the work that we do here, I felt like the ketamine helped me progress faster. For me, ketamine has just made me feel whole again.”

No one’s experience with anxiety is the exact same as yours. However, ketamine-assisted treatment could be the tool that helps you to comfortably access the deeply rooted causes of your anxiety. Then, you can examine and heal them for long-lasting relief and recovery. 

KAT for Anxiety at The Sanctuary

What sets ketamine-assisted treatment at The Sanctuary apart from other clinics is how it integrates into our holistic treatment program. Typically, clinics offer KAT as a stand-alone treatment. Here, it’s one puzzle piece of your overall treatment. This gives you the chance to combine it with our other holistic offerings for a comprehensive transformational process.

An Integrated Part of Your Holistic Healing Plan

Standard outpatient clinics typically administer ketamine for 60 to 90 minutes and then send clients home. They may observe clients for a short period after treatment to ensure their safety. But in general, care starts and ends with the administration of ketamine. 

At The Sanctuary, our treatment is truly holistic. We know that while ketamine has the potential to help people heal their anxiety, treatment-resistant depression, and addiction, it’s so much more powerful when used as a tool to access deeper healing in conjunction with other forms of therapy. We don’t want your time at The Sanctuary to be just a temporary experience. That’s why we use ketamine-assisted therapy as part of a complete healing journey that leads to long-term, sustainable change.

After a ketamine session, many of our clients report feeling more clarity around their thoughts and feelings. They may even feel they’ve unlocked information around the source of their traumas. It’s important to mentally and emotionally process ketamine sessions for this exact reason. Gaining access to this new perspective alone doesn’t make for lasting healing. Ketamine-assisted treatment at The Sanctuary integrates with other therapies like individual and group counseling. This helps you unlock your potential to heal your anxiety holistically. 

Our Cozy, Comfortable Clinic

In most outpatient settings, clients receive ketamine infusions in a sterile clinical setting before heading home. At The Sanctuary, our on-campus IV therapy clinic offers a safe and comfortable atmosphere that’s medically equipped yet conducive to your relaxation and healing. 

During treatment, clients lounge on big, cozy couches and under warm blankets. We play a carefully curated playlist to sonically guide you through the healing journey. A serene environment of plant life, crystals, and calming artwork surrounds you. And your care doesn’t end abruptly after a session. Rather, we integrate it into other aspects of your treatment so you can fully process the session. 

A Ceremonial Experience Guided by Professionals

Ketamine isn’t just a drug, it’s a potent form of medicine. That’s why we hold ketamine infusions in a ceremonial context rather than a clinical one. Our thoughtfully structured ketamine therapy sessions support you from beginning to end. They’ll help you process the experience and use it as fuel for your healing. 

Each session lasts for about two hours. First, you’ll start with a guided intention-setting process so you can begin KAT feeling centered and present. From there, your ketamine dose will be safely administered by our licensed medical professionals. Only six clients at most attend each ketamine session to ensure an intimate and comfortable experience. A small team of support staff members will also accompany you through the two-hour journey. 

After the session, our holistic treatment continues to ensure you maximize the benefits of the medicine. You’ll share a delicious organic dinner of anti-inflammatory superfoods with your fellow KAT peers. This gives you the chance to recover and recharge while processing the experience together. The next day, you’ll also meet with your individual therapist. Here, you’ll further unpack and explore what happened for you in your KAT session.

Could Ketamine Therapy Work for You?

If you’re looking to heal your anxiety, you may have tried different forms of treatment without success. And in that case, there’s no reason to lose hope. It’s possible that you could be a good candidate for ketamine-assisted therapy. 

This powerful tool helps many people reconnect to their deepest emotions, uncover subconscious wounds, and heal from the inside out. And it all takes place in a safe and supportive setting. For more information about Ketamine and how we implement it in our comprehensive treatment program, contact us today. 

B. Forrest Shenkman, N.M.D. Signature Photo

Dr. Forrest is a licensed Naturopathic Physician specializing in retreat-style holistic medicine, natural detoxification and cleansing, mind/body medicine, and regenerative medicine. Dr. Forrest brings to his work a sense of humility, respect, and compassion that is too often absent in the sterile, rigid world of modern medicine. He is deeply honored and grateful to be continuing this work as part of the community and healing that is taking place at the Sanctuary. [email protected]