If you struggle with treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, trauma, or a substance use disorder, you’re not alone. Fortunately, today many holistic treatment methods that were once considered experimental are now becoming more widely available. That’s because there’s now robust scientific proof that backs their effectiveness and safety.
At The Sanctuary, our comprehensive approach to recovery is based on a complete healing journey. And depending on each client’s needs, this may include the use of ketamine-assisted treatment (KAT) as a therapeutic tool to assist in the treatment process.
If you’re considering ketamine therapy for the first time, you may be wondering how safe it is, or whether it’s right for you. Let’s take a closer look at how ketamine works, how it can assist the recovery journey and how it’s integrated into The Sanctuary’s holistic treatment program.
Ketamine is an FDA-approved anesthetic that’s been used by medical professionals for decades. In the US, ketamine is also classified as a Schedule III controlled substance. This means that it’s available for medicinal use in clinical settings. In recent years, mental health conditions including depression, bipolar disorder, addiction, treatment-resistant depression, and anxiety have been successfully treated with ketamine therapy.
In the treatment of mental health and behavior conditions, ketamine is prized for its ability to induce a lucid mental state. For many, this state helps relax mental blocks and allows for a perspective shift away from negative thought and behavior patterns. Ketamine also interacts with certain receptors in the brain, reducing traumatic memories and increasing pain tolerance. Because of this, researchers believe ketamine can help relieve severe symptoms of depression and other mood disorders for some people.
How Ketamine Therapy Works
What’s amazing about ketamine is that it actually promotes the formation of new neural pathways in the brain. These new neural connections are what help you physically rewire your thought and behavior patterns. And this, combined with ketamine’s ability to reduce inhibitions, can also make it easier for you to access and understand your emotions.
Raquel Bennett, Psy.D. explains that ketamine quiets the senses, helping you detach from physical pain and other sensations. During a typical KAT session, or ketamine-assisted psychotherapy (KAP) session, you may even feel as if you are floating outside your body. Through KAT, many people have reconnected with their inner selves and found the strength to face their traumas. And that’s when true healing can begin, because trauma is the root cause of substance use disorders and mental health conditions.
Over time, you may find ketamine therapy to be a key part of the process that allows for more self-forgiveness, understanding and compassion. This emotional openness is one reason why researchers believe ketamine may enhance the beneficial effects of psychotherapy and other treatments. In general, ketamine also has a lasting effect that find therapeutic in and of itself.
Why Ketamine Therapy is Safe
Ketamine-assisted treatment is nothing like the recreational, oftentimes abusive use of “street ketamine.” KAT, when professionally administered, is a valuable tool that can enhance the impact of other therapies and improve your healing journey.
At The Sanctuary, our KAT sessions take place in a safe, controlled environment. Our licensed nurses and on-staff doctors administer the low doses of ketamine. We closely monitor all of our KAT clients to ensure their safety at every stage of treatment. And our belief in the healing capabilities of ketamine is supported by numerous scientific studies and medical evidence.
The Science Proving Ketamine’s Safety
Here’s a quick glance at some of the latest studies proving the safety of long-term ketamine administration:
- Fewer than 1% of patients experienced adverse effects in a 2020 survey investigating the safety of repeated ketamine administration for depression treatment.
- Ketamine was safe and well-tolerated by most patients with treatment-resistant depression in a study of clinical trials from 2006-2012. Fewer than 0.05% of subjects reported side effects.
- Another recent study, conducted on patients with major depressive or bipolar disorder concluded that “intravenous ketamine was safe and well-tolerated.” The most commonly reported side effects were drowsiness and dizziness, and less than 5% of participants stopped treatment due to tolerability concerns.
According to this current evidence, ketamine-assisted treatment carries a relatively low risk of side effects. In fact, ketamine is one of the safest medical drugs for treating depression and other conditions – when administered in clinical settings.
Ketamine-Assisted Treatment at The Sanctuary
At The Sanctuary, we don’t use ketamine-assisted treatment as a standalone therapy. Instead, it’s fully integrated into our holistic approach to recovery. The Sanctuary offers a wide variety of scientifically based and holistic treatments to support your healing journey.
In addition to KAT, your personalized treatment program can include:
- Clinical evidenced therapies like psychotherapy
- Energy medicine
- Mindfulness and meditation
- Therapeutic bodywork
- Sound healing therapy
- Nutrition courses
- Life skills classes and coach
- And many more
All of the methods utilized at The Sanctuary work synergistically, allowing you to shift your awareness and maximize your potential for healing.
The role of KAT in our overall program is to help you open up and access the feelings you may be repressing. In some cases, KAT may also accelerate the treatment process and speed up your recovery. It makes it easier to gain access to the unconscious and address the underlying cause of pain, depression, or addiction.
What to Expect During KAT Sessions
At The Sanctuary, clients approved for ketamine therapy will receive two KAT treatments per week for three week. A typical KAT session at The Sanctuary includes:
- A safe, supportive environment, with no more than six participants.
- Two or three staff members to oversee and guide you through each KAT session.
- An optional intention setting ceremony before each session.
- A sharing circle after every session, giving you another outlet for expressing your emotions.
- Private meal times on treatment days, which can foster deeper connections and openness with your peers.
- KAT-specific one-on-one therapy sessions the day after every session to help you process your experiences.
Throughout your entire program, we monitor your progress and make adjustments to your individual treatment program as needed.
While KAT is just one part of the healing process, it may lead to significant breakthroughs and help you fully reap the benefits of your other therapies. Many of our clients who have experienced KAT report that they gained a different perspective on the world around them. They were able to better understand and process their emotions, open their hearts, and find their path to recovery.
Discover if Ketamine-Assisted Therapy Is Right for You
Ketamine-assisted therapy has helped countless people dive deeper into their healing journey. By addressing their trauma, with the help of KAT, many have been able to find relief from their mental, emotional, physical and spiritual pain.
We’ve created our holistic onsite ketamine treatment facility because KAT is a key component in treatment for many of our clients at The Sanctuary. If you’re struggling to overcome barriers blocking the progress of your recovery, it’s possible that KAT can help.
If you want to know whether this therapy could work for you, contact our admissions team to learn more.