How well does ketamine therapy work for treating OCD symptoms?
Have you ever had an intrusive thought? Have you had harm obsessions, where you found yourself thinking about disturbing images of harming yourself or others?
OCD is characterized by debilitating repetitive behavior, intrusive thoughts, and obsessive thoughts. While people may make light of OCD and compulsive behavior, there is nothing light or funny about it.
Some people experience this mental health condition with counting compulsions. For example, they may check to see that the door is locked by turning the lock a certain number of times.
Or, they may have a contamination obsession, where they are obsessed with avoiding infection or contamination. Their obsessive fear causes them to persistently wash their hands over and over again.
There are few safe and effective treatments for OCD. Fortunately, ketamine infusion in Maryland is one of the safest and most effective OCD treatment protocols.
What ketamine treatment options are best for OCD?
Without a doubt, ketamine infusion therapy for OCD is the best therapy option. Patients should look for clinics that offer IV infusion therapy.
Ketamine infusion therapy works well for conditions such as depression and other mood disorders. PTSD treatment with ketamine is particularly effective.
IV ketamine is the gold standard of all the treatment options. Other forms of therapy include intranasal and intramuscular ketamine.
The type of therapy offered may depend on the treatment location. If you visit a psychiatry office, they may offer Spravato, or esketamine, which is a form of intranasal ketamine. Spravato is a treatment method used specifically as a depression treatment.
A full service ketamine clinic will offer a wide range of treatments, including IV ketamine infusions, which are ideal for people suffering from an obsessive thought disorder, characterized by visible compulsions and intrusive thoughts.
An OCD patient suffering from unwanted thoughts or checking compulsions will experience symptom relief quickly, beginning with the first infusion. OCD is closely related to anxiety disorder, and ketamine also happens to be an excellent anxiety treatment.
Is a compulsion disorder the same as chronic pain?
Living with OCD can be painful. While we do not think of emotional pain as being the same as physical pain, they are not so different.
Acute physical pain is pain caused by the stimulation of pain receptors, letting the brain know that the body is at risk for being physically damaged. Chronic pain is a maladaptive phenomenon, where the central nervous system becomes sensitized to pain.
This effect is known as central sensitization, meaning that the pain is in the brain. The cause of the original acute pain may be long gone, but the pain remains, ongoing on a daily basis.
The conditions that respond well to ketamine therapy may be related in how they affect the brain. For example, ketamine works well to improve symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), suicidality, depression (including postpartum depression), bipolar disorder, chronic pain, migraine pain, and addiction.
In some of these conditions, the improvements may be due to relieving an underlying triggering pain, physical or emotional. For example, a person may be suicidal due to intense emotional pain caused by past trauma.
Similarly, for addiction, the need to self-medicate with various addictive drugs could also be caused by internal pain. OCD may be connected to central sensitization and similar to chronic pain syndromes.
Obsessive Compulsive Disorder is a painful anxiety-related condition.
While OCD is not experienced as feeling like a toothache or lower back pain, it can be intensely painful to have intrusive thoughts, obsessive thoughts, or repetitive compulsions. People who suffer with OCD understand that it is also related to anxiety disorders.
When a person with OCD has a heightened state of anxiety, their OCD-related symptoms are worse. Compulsions become more intense and more difficult to suppress during panic attacks and exacerbations of social anxiety disorder.
Because of the pain of obsessive compulsive disorder caused by anxiety, people with OCD often avoid social contact, preferring to stay home and stay isolated. In fact, while social isolation may feel better in the short-term, it can make symptoms worse long-term.
Psychiatrists prescribe SSRI antidepressants, such as Prozac, Paxil, or Zoloft, to treat OCD symptoms. They also prescribe benzodiazepines, such as Xanax, Klonopin, Ativan, or Valium, to mask anxiety symptoms.
In most cases, these drugs tend to cover up the problem rather than helping to promote long-term healing. Healing the brain is the ultimate solution to improving OCD symptoms.
OCD and ketamine: Is ketamine like fertilizer for the brain?
Imagine if you were trying to nurse a plant back to health, giving it more sunlight and water, but nothing seemed to work. What would you do, after these basic plant nutrients failed to improve growth?
In addition to sunlight and water, plants also require fertilizer. With the proper fertilizer, a plant’s branches will grow, leaves will flourish, and flowers will bloom.
One region where ketamine works is in the limbic system of the brain, a source for behaviors and emotions related to survival. Ketamine increases glutamate, and it modulates GABA.
Additionally, there is an increased development of dendritic spines. Neuronal dendrites grow, vastly improving connections. Ketamine also enhances dendritic calcium signals.
What does all of this mean for a brain suffering from the effects of OCD? Ketamine clinic patients have noted that OCD-related symptoms improve significantly, even after just one session of IV ketamine infusion.
An adult brain may have experienced many past traumas, leading to the development of issues such as obsessive compulsive disorder. Just like nourishing a wilting plant, nursing it back to health until it thrives and flourishes, ketamine can greatly improve the state of the brain, restoring functioning and reducing OCD symptoms.
Ketamine vs. Klonipin:
Is ketamine better than clonazepam for treating obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms?
Klonopin (clonazepam) is a potent benzodiazepine medication, used for treating anxiety disorders. When an OCD patient takes Klonopin, their symptoms are immediately improved.
Just like pouring a bucket of water over a fire, Klonopin quenches anxiety and reduces compulsions quickly. However, as the drug wears off, symptoms return, often worse than they were before taking Klonopin.
In recent years, medical experts have determined that long-term benzodiazepine use can damage the brain, causing what is known as iatrogenic injury. Microscopic damage to the brain caused by benzodiazepines is referred to as toxic encephalopathy.
Ketamine, on the other hand, promotes balance and healing in the brain, rather than causing long-term damage. Additionally, patients do not have to take ketamine every day to improve OCD symptoms. A limited series of ketamine infusion treatments help to improve functioning, making OCD more tolerable.
Benzodiazepines, and in fact, nearly all prescription drugs for depression or anxiety, are not ideal for long-term management of obsessive compulsive disorder symptoms.
Is ketamine a psychedelic drug therapy?
While people do describe ketamine as being one of several psychedelic treatments for mental health disorders, the description is not entirely accurate. Ketamine does not belong in the same category as hallucinogenic drugs, such as LSD, DMT, mescaline, psilocybin, ibogaine, or ayahuasca.
Those drugs are not legal or considered to be safe for medical use. It is true that there are studies being performed with some of these substances, but real world healthcare applications, if any arise, are likely decades away.
Brain experts do not know how psychedelic drugs affect the brain and what the long-term affects may be. We do not fully understand the risks of taking these substances, especially from illicit sources.
Any psychedelic drugs obtained outside FDA-approved sources carries the risk of contamination. Currently, dangerous fentanyl analogs are being found in all drugs purchased on the streets, including cannabis and psychedelic drugs.
Hence, using magic mushrooms at home with a group of friends is in no way an alternative to ketamine therapy. Ketamine is a proven, FDA-approved medication that is regulated and known to be safe in the short-term and long-term.
Brain healing is the key to treating OCD.
The ketamine experience during an infusion session should be followed by therapy. However, talk therapy should not be conducted during, or even right after the IV treatment.
During the infusion, the patient will experience a floating sensation and a dissociative effect. While psychedelic proponents talk about the importance of insights gained during drug experiences, ketamine works differently.
When you receive a ketamine IV infusion, your brain receives the benefits of the effects of the drug on neurons throughout the central nervous system. Even if you fall asleep during the infusion, the treatment is still working to improve your OCD.
There is no need for being introspective or gaining insight during IV therapy. All you need to do is lay back and relax, allowing the ketamine infusion to do its work in healing your brain.
Over multiple ketamine sessions, you will likely note improvements in sleep patterns, with improved circadian rhythm, as well as reduced anxiety. Obsessions and compulsions will gradually melt away, bringing a new sense of freedom, including the freedom to get out more and socialize with family and friends.
Ketamine clinics vs ketamine at home therapy: which option works best?
Does at-home therapy with ketamine under-the-tongue lozenges makes sense? They say that home sublingual ketamine therapy is convenient, because you do not have to leave the house to go to a clinic.
However, administering anesthesia at home without in-person supervision is never a good idea. Ketamine is a form of medical anesthesia, and it should be administered by healthcare professionals who are present to monitor patient progress.
We cannot recommend services where a potent, high dose, controlled anesthetic agent, such as ketamine, is mailed to your home for self-use. While ketamine is very safe, taking psychoactive dosages of the drug in the home setting without healthcare supervision is not advised.
Ketamine infusion via intravenous access is a precisely controlled therapy that is more effective than any sublingual oral ketamine treatments. If you want the best possible results, in the safest environment, with the most effective form of treatment, we recommend IV infusion in a clinic setting.
If you live in Annapolis, elsewhere in Maryland, or in the Washington D.C. Metro Area, we encourage you to call us by phone or schedule an appointment to get more information on how ketamine can help with obsessive-compulsive disorder. OCD does not have to limit your life anymore.
It is possible to go through your day, working and living without obsessions, compulsive thoughts or actions. Your freedom from OCD starts with professional ketamine infusion therapy.