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Chicago, IL

Veterans Administration Using Ketamine to Treat PTSD

Is ketamine infusion therapy for PTSD effective?

For the past two years, veterans with PTSD have been receiving ketamine infusion therapy through the Veteran’s Administration in San Francisco. While some veterans have responded successfully to other forms of treatment, there is a core segment for which nothing seems to work. These individuals struggle constantly with symptoms that negatively affect their quality of life and are often at significant risk for suicide.

The San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center identified 40 veterans with PTSD who had run through all other treatment options with little success. They started them on a ketamine infusion program, and, so far, Tobias Marton, the director of the center, describes the results as showing “impressive outcomes” in the treatment of PTSD and depression. The implications of these results could be wide-ranging, especially when considering the fact that nearly 10 percent of adults in the U.S. will be diagnosed with PTSD at some point during their lifetime and that veteran suicides that are related to PTSD are at what has been called epidemic proportions.

What Is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, as it is commonly called, is a condition that develops following a traumatic experience. This could be an, accident, injury, violent or sexual assault or abuse, death of a loved one or similar experience. Exposure to combat is probably the most well-known cause of PTSD, but the precipitating event does not have to be that obvious to result in an individual developing symptoms.

Everyone reacts to frightening or stressful events. The body is immediately flooded with the “fight or flight” response that has been so handy for survival throughout our time here in what has often been a pretty dangerous environment. But not everyone develops PTSD, even when exposed to the same types of stressful situations. For most of us, once the scary or stress-filled situation passes, our hormones go back to normal levels and that’s it until the next time. Why some people continue to be affected and feel frightened or overly stressed is not currently known for sure, but some of the factors that healthcare professionals believe may make a difference include:

  • Cumulative effect of ongoing or repeated trauma
  • Severity of precipitating event or events
  • Family history of anxiety and depression
  • How an individual’s brain chemicals and hormones respond to stress

PTSD symptoms fall into four general categories. These are:

  • Re-experiencing – these are intrusive thoughts, involuntary memories, nightmares and flashbacks of the experience that can be extremely vivid and so realistic that the individual may not be able to distinguish between reality and memory.
  • Avoidance – to keep from remembering the event, individuals may go to great lengths to avoid people, places, activities or anything else that might remind them. This includes talking about the experience and their feelings related to it.
  • Negative Thinking – this can include guilt and shame about self and fear, distrust and feelings of detachment for others.
  • Arousal and Reactivity – tense, angry, edgy, easily startled, lack of ability to focus, insomnia and reckless or self-destructive behavior.

Suffering from PTSD is a life-changing condition. Treatment has mainly consisted of some combination of medication and psychotherapy, with varying degrees of success. For many, the possibilities being presented by ketamine can only come as hopeful news.

At Advanced Ketamine Care, you can expect warmth and compassion as well as expert treatment. If you have been suffering from PTSD, severe anxiety or depression and antidepressants are not providing sufficient relief, Ketamine Infusion Therapy may be exactly what you’re looking for. To learn more about our programs or if you have questions about PTSD, Ketamine Infusion Therapy or any of our services, feel free to contact us by clicking here.

Posted in: PTSD