Ketamine is a dissociative, anesthetic drug medication introduced in the 1960s for soldiers in the Vietnam War. Today, Ketamine is only administered as a prescription and is often used in veterinary medicine during surgery. Scientists and doctors are exploring new possibilities of Ketamine, as many who suffer from severe or treatment-resistant depression have found a healing solution through virtual Ketamine therapy. Virtual ketamine therapy is swiftly transforming those who suffer from a variety of mental health disorders. Continue reading to learn more about virtual ketamine therapy and how it can help you too.
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What is Virtual ketamine therapy?
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first Ketamine-based nasal spray in March of 2019. Targeted to treating depression in adults, the nasal spray, Esketamine Spravato, can also be used for many other conditions such as migraines, chronic pain, and PTSD.
This Ketamine prescription can also be in addition to psychotherapy, a practice known as Ketamine-assisted virtual therapy. Because of this newfound form of medication, Ketamine clinics have begun opening in person and virtually to help give patients access to the treatment they need.
When applying for a virtual Ketamine therapy assessment, patients will need to fill out an online questionnaire that will ask them to list symptoms of anxiety or depression over the past 5-7 days. There are many different sources and clinics available for virtual Ketamine therapy, so most may slightly differ in their procedures and schedules. Some virtual clinics will offer 3-6 sessions in the span of a month, other clinics serve patients on-demand.
How does Virtual ketamine therapy work?
Similar to most clinic settings, Virtual Ketamine therapy begins with an assessment with a psychiatrist, therapist, and/or registered nurse. In this meeting, the patient and doctors will discuss concerns, goals, and intentions for treatment.
Virtual Ketamine therapy is similar to other therapy forms, except in a different setting and space compared to an in-person clinic. When a patient is ready to go through ketamine therapy VR, a tablet is provided by the clinic and should be placed under the tongue. As the tablet dissolves within 10 minutes, the patient can cover their eyes and relax into the experience while the clinician motors the patient’s condition virtually. As the session progresses, sometimes music and mediation are practiced to ensure the patient is comfortable and relaxed. When the one-hour virtual Ketamine therapy is complete, patients are encouraged to reflect on their experiences in a notebook.
What conditions is ketamine used for?
While Ketamine is FDA approved for treatment-resistant depression, it can be prescribed off-label for anxiety, PTSD, OCD, chronic pain, and expansion of consciousness for others. Scientists and doctors have held clinical trials and studies over the recent years, finding positive results in a variety of Ketamine treatments:
Ketamine for depression
A 2013 clinical study tested the effective treatment of Ketamine for major depression. 10 participants with treatment-resistant depression found that six Ketamine infusions through an IV maintained an antidepressant effect. The overall response rate was 70.8%, breaking ground for new discovery in the long-term antidepressant effects for Ketamine.
Ketamine for anxiety
Esketamine (Ketamine nasal spray drug approved by FDA), was discovered as a rapid analgesic for patients suffering from anxiety and depression in a 2020 study. All 8 patients in the study resulted in lowered scores of anxiety after one administration of Esketamine.
Ketamine for PTSD (H3)
Ketamine has also proved to support patients suffering from PTSD. A randomized clinical trial gathered 41 patients with chronic PTSD to test the efficiency of ketamine as a possible treatment. The single 0.5mg of ketamine infusion in patients resulted in a significant and rapid reduction of PTSD severity. This was the first study to provide rapid reduction levels of PTSD followed by ketamine infusion.
Ketamine for OCD
Theories emerged about the possible benefits of ketamine for OCD in a 2013 clinical study, testing the levels of the neurotransmitter glutamate in the brain and how they react to the infusion of ketamine. In the 15 patients studied, those given ketamine felt an instant response halfway through the 40-minute infusion. Obsessive-Compulsive symptoms diminished by the end of treatment and sustained for the following week in those patients.
Ketamine for bipolar disorder
Virtual ketamine therapy treatments have also challenged pharmaceutical drugs prescribed for bipolar disorder. This 2017 clinical study evaluated 16 participants who were either randomly administered ketamine or midazolam. Overall suicidal thoughts were lower in patients who were administered ketamine than those with midazolam at a significant rate. This study has opened the door to many further sufficient full-scale studies.
Ketamine for chronic pain
In addition to the multiple mental health conditions that virtual ketamine treatment has aided, chronic pain has also been studied for its effective relief in patients. In a 5-year analysis of 49 patients, each categorized by differing headaches, severe back pain, or region pain syndrome, ketamine was shown to significantly improve relief and reduce pain. The probability of lasting pain relief in patients was reliefed 59%-85% over the span of 3 weeks.
Ketamine for consciousness expansion
Compared to ketamine therapy vr, ketamine has been examined to enhance the conscious mind and explore a broader stream of consciousness, and enhance imagination. A scientific study tested the hypothesis of different psychedelic drugs, including ketamine, to determine if an unusual and increased score of state conciseness was produced. Spontaneous signal diversity showed an increase in mind consciousness expansion through a regulated dose of ketamine treatment.
What will I feel during the session?
Virtual ketamine therapy is essentially a newer therapy that will be a different and unique experience for each patient. Many report feelings of disconnection to reality, extreme sedation, and an altered sense of self. Enhancement of senses such as seeing, touching, hearing, and feeling is also common during sessions. Although Ketamine therapy vr can cause hallucinations or intense effects in patients, being virtually connected by a clinician ensures you are undergoing treatment comfortably and safely in your own space.
How much does Ketamine infusions cost?
Like many clinics, virtual Ketamine therapy ranges in costs depending on the clinic. Many ketamine and vr clinics offer treatment packages and sessions that cover all pre-treatment, medication, and a personalized therapy session program for patients. Websites and apps like Mindbloom are designed to help you throughout your whole virtual Ketamine therapy experience.
What are the risks of Ketamine treatment?
Like many advanced prescription treatments, ketamine therapy comes with risks and effects to consider. Luckily, with virtual ketamine therapy, patients are never left alone or unsafe because of the virtual connection they have with a clinician. Ketamine side effects may cause blurred vision, slurred speech, mental confusion, anxiety, nausea, and poor appetite. It is always beneficial to speak with your clinician or doctor if you experience these effects longer than 10-15 minutes after your scheduled session.
What do I do to see if Virtual therapy is a good fit for me?
It’s important to consider the effects and factors of how virtual Ketamine therapy will work for you. Each patient and medical condition varies, so understanding the benefits and full process of virtual Ketamine therapy can help you determine the best fit and function for you. Ketamine continues to be clinically proven to aid and decrease symptoms for a variety of conditions from chronic pain to sever depression. With the multiple resources for virtual Ketamine therapy clinics, patients are one step closer to finding the medical relief they need.
Please refer to our in-depth article about Ketamine therapy for more information
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