Why is Ketamine Therapy Used for PTSD Photo

Why is Ketamine Therapy Used for PTSD?

Ketamine-assisted treatment (KAT) is a holistic experience. Since the 1960s, this powerful medicine has been used to treat nearly every kind of pain. It’s a surgical anesthetic, a tool for chronic pain management, and even an antidepressant. Because it alleviates both physical and emotional pain, ketamine is a very effective treatment for PTSD.

Trauma is caused by a combination of brain chemistry and life events. As a result, healing is complex and deeply personal. At the Sanctuary, we think of ketamine-assisted treatment as a catalyst in this process. This facilitated experience invites you to set intentions and define what healing means for yourself. By reintegrating your body, mind, soul, and spirit, you’ll learn to identify and meet your unique needs for healing.

KAT for PTSD at The Sanctuary: A Holistic Healing Experience 

Clients who want to learn more about KAT first meet with a member of our medical team to go over information and ask questions about the process. If you’re interested in pursuing KAT, you’ll be evaluated for candidacy by one of our two on-staff doctors, as well as other members of your treatment team. 

KAT at the Sanctuary is a unique opportunity for clients to strengthen relationships. Most ketamine clinics offer this treatment as a solo experience. We do it differently. Every cohort at the Sanctuary is a small, tight-knit community of 10 people at most. KAT groups are even smaller, consisting of only four to six people. By the time interested clients begin KAT, they’ve already had time to bond with each other. By sharing this transformative experience with a trusted group, they start to rebuild healthy community dynamics. 

Ketamine Therapy Relaxes the Body

Memory is stored in the body. Survivors often experience bodily pain, whether or not their trauma was physical in nature. The process of healing, therefore, involves relearning how to feel safe in your own skin. And because PTSD is a full-body experience, treatment necessitates a full-body approach. 

KAT at The Sanctuary takes place within a ceremonial space. Participants enter the candle-lit atmosphere and set intentions for their journey. They then settle into a comfortable seat with blankets and an eye mask and listen to a curated playlist as they enter a meditative state. In this setting, ketamine allows them to let go of physical pain and focus on the emotional experience.

Neuroplasticity: Ketamine Helps Reconnect the Mind

Ketamine is classified as both an anesthetic and a dissociative. It also improves neuroplasticity, which is the brain’s ability to grow and change. This means that it supports the formation of new neural pathways. As a result, ketamine empowers survivors to consider their lives from a new perspective. Ketamine-assisted therapy catalyzes physical and behavioral changes and inspires a lasting paradigm shift.

Participants in KAT use this treatment to cultivate creativity. Existing in a mythic space lets you reimagine your own relationship to healing. There is no immediate need to rationalize the lessons learned in this process. Instead, guests are invited to step out of the ordinary, exploring art, dance, or sand painting as tools for emotional growth. 

Learning From Dissociation

Dissociation is a common symptom of PTSD. During this experience, people report feeling like spectators to their own lives, almost like they’re watching a movie. Uncontrolled, unintentional dissociation can be inconvenient or even dangerous. 

Imagine a person who has PTSD from a car accident. If they dissociate while riding in a car, they may not be able to carry on a conversation with the driver. If they dissociate while driving, however, they put themself and their passengers at risk. This response is often caused by reminders of the original trauma, but these triggers can be difficult to predict. In this example, the survivor might be triggered by driving, or by crossing the street, or just by the sound of dishes clattering in the sink. It is impractical to spend your life trying to avoid triggers. Learning how to work through them is an essential part of healing. 

Dissociation serves a purpose. The brain disconnects from a perceived threat, shutting down to protect itself from pain. This is a natural process. By learning to navigate it, survivors take back control of their lives. Because ketamine produces a controlled, intentional dissociative state, KAT is a journey through dissociation and out the other side. It gives people the opportunity to observe their emotions from a safe distance without the social pressure to return quickly. This is a powerful learning opportunity. Because of ketamine’s lasting effects on neuroplasticity, people emerge from KAT with new tools for their continued healing.

Rejuvenating the Spirit With Ketamine-Assisted Treatment

Every KAT session ends with a closing ritual. Participants talk about what they’ve learned and support each other. Afterward, they enjoy a private dinner together. At the Sanctuary, shared meals are an opportunity for people to bond with each other. This ritual allows clients to explore healthier social dynamics and build a strong community. 

The following day, each person checks in with a therapist to process the experience. Although KAT takes place in a protected environment, it does not exist in a vacuum. It is just one facet of a much larger healing journey. 

By integrating the lessons of KAT into daily life, trauma survivors learn to manage another common symptom of PTSD: memory loss. The simple act of talking about their experience helps them better understand themselves. This holistic process encourages survivors to redefine what it means to feel whole. PTSD can keep people stuck in the past. But KAT empowers them to envision a better future. 

Life-Long Wellness: Ketamine Therapy Catalyzes Healing

Healing from PTSD is a lifelong commitment to wellness. For many survivors, KAT is the first step of that journey. No treatment can simply undo the past, and survivors can’t get rid of their past trauma. They can, however, grow strong enough to carry it.  

If you think KAT could be right for you, reach out to us here