How many ketamine treatments do you need to feel better?
Have you called to schedule your ketamine infusion therapy for depression, anxiety, OCD, chronic pain, alcoholism, addiction, or one of many other conditions? You may have noticed that the healthcare staff typically recommend six intravenous infusion treatments.
How did they arrive at that particular number? Is the number of infusions the same, no matter what condition you are going in for?
How many ketamine treatments are needed for depression? How many ketamine treatments for anxiety?
The dosage and time length of treatment may vary based on your health condition. However, the number of infusions given over a period of about two weeks is usually fairly consistent. The standard number of sessions for most clinics is six sessions.
Yet, there are ketamine facilities that may recommend starting with three treatments, and there are others that may insist that new patients start with eight or more infusion sessions. How do they arrive at these numbers?
How many ketamine sessions are needed for depression if nothing else, including antidepressants, has worked?
Fortunately, ketamine is highly effective for treating depression, even when traditional antidepressants did not help at all. In fact, ketamine is used specifically for treatment-resistant depression.
So, if the optimal number of sessions is six, how did ketamine experts arrive at that number? What method was used to determine the protocols that ketamine clinics use to treat their patients?
Ketamine infusion therapy is both therapeutic and diagnostic at the same time.
You may be interested to learn that ketamine has been around as an FDA-approved therapy for over 50 years. But, it was only used as a form of anesthesia in the early days.
Many of the best uses for medications are discovered by accident. Or, doctors discover alternate uses by observing side effects during treatment.
For example, Viagra was originally approved to treat pulmonary hypertension. It is still used for this purpose, but doctors observed early on a side effect in men that indicated a very different use.
Lucemyra is another example. It was a failed blood pressure medication that did not work well to lower blood pressure. However, it turned out that it reduced opioid withdrawal symptoms better than any existing medication.
During five decades of use as an anesthetic, doctors observed that patients were less depressed after recovering from the effects of IV ketamine. Doctors began to use ketamine as an off-label treatment for depression.
As ketamine is more widely used as a medical therapy, doctors are able to improve protocols and observe new uses for ketamine IV infusion therapy.
Similarly, over the years, as ketamine has been used to treat depression, doctors have carefully observed what other benefits are realized as additional side effects of the treatment.
Some patients had less anxiety, others had fewer intrusive thoughts from OCD. PTSD patients felt better with fewer symptoms.
Alcoholics were able to quit drinking with less risk of relapse. The stories go on and on about the successes of ketamine therapy.
Another observation made by ketamine doctors was how many sessions were needed for maximum benefit. From the beginning, it was clear that a single session would not be enough.
At the other extreme, a great many sessions would be impractical, and they would also put the patients at higher risk of ketamine side effects. Therefore, ketamine researchers had to observe, at what point did the patient receive maximal benefit where additional treatments only offered diminishing returns.
Does this mean that six sessions is ideal for all patients?
Of course, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment. Ketamine healthcare professionals must evaluate each patient individually, tailoring treatment to the unique individual.
While most patients will prepare for six sessions, it is possible that some patients will benefit from an additional one or two sessions. Alternatively, some patients will decide to complete therapy before finishing all six sessions, and they may do very well with less.
Yet, in most cases, six sessions are just right. After the series is complete, the patient has received the maximum benefit.
After completing all of their sessions, do patients ever return for additional booster infusions? Yes, in many cases, people who have benefited from ketamine infusion therapy will return for a booster session, once or twice yearly.
If you feel much better after three or four sessions, should you complete all six sessions? While you should discuss treatment plans with your ketamine specialist, in most cases, it is best to complete the series, even if you feel much better part way through.
How many ketamine infusions for chronic pain are recommended?
Generally, the number of sessions is the same, though for severe chronic pain or neuropathic pain, the ketamine clinic may recommend increasing the number of sessions. Ketamine treatments help to reset the central nervous system pain sensitization response, and in some cases, more extensive treatment will be needed.
Occasionally, a ketamine patient expresses frustration because the results of a single infusion session did not provide adequate relief. While many patients do experience significant relief and symptom reduction with their first ketamine infusion, sometimes it takes several sessions to begin to realize the power of ketamine therapy.
After the series of sessions are complete, it begins to dawn on the patient, the real benefit of ketamine over traditional prescription drugs. After a limited number of IV ketamine infusion sessions, the benefits are long-lasting.
For many patients, there is no need to continue taking pain meds for pain, or antidepressants for depression. For patients with PTSD or OCD, compulsive behaviors go away without the need for a daily prescription pill.
Medical researchers are learning that many people with mental health issues who have been prescribed antidepressants, antipsychotics do not need to take these psych drugs that can be toxic to the brain. There are better alternatives.
As ketamine becomes more of a mainstream medical therapy for many different health conditions, researchers are able to observe outcomes on a larger scale. As a result, we are discovering new conditions that respond well to the treatment, and we are learning how to optimize the protocols further, in order to maximize improvements for all ketamine patients.