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  • Writer's pictureDouglas Zimmerman

Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy

Updated: Jul 10

In the past several years, ketamine has been a hot topic. It’s one of the many psychedelics and alternative medicines currently being used in the therapeutic community throughout the world. It’s a new, and essential, change; and the future is brightening for wellness – physical, mental, and spiritual.

Ketamine: What is it and what does it do? Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic. However, at lower, sub anesthetic doses, ketamine seems to affect certain parts of the brain such as the neurotransmitter, glutamate, the dendrites, and the brain’s neuroplasticity. People with OCD, ADHD, and Depression tend to have brain’s that don’t properly regulate glutamate. And chronic stress leads to dendritic atrophy. Which leads to depression. Much research indicates that the brain’s neuroplasticity is enhanced, particularly in the first few weeks after taking the ketamine (the route of administration commonly ranges from injection to infusion, to lozenges, to nasal spray). With ketamine, the brain is given a chance to reset. You may begin to feel “lighter” and more approachable after a dose or two. Your thoughts and feelings will be ripe for change. So, using this medicine in conjunction with therapy offers one a more dramatic opportunity for change. Prior to taking ketamine, a full medical evaluation will be conducted, so the risks are minimal. The greatest investment, that I see, is money and time. The treatment can be more expensive than other modalities because it involves a higher level of care. Which means more time; so, one has to be prepared to invest approximately 8-10 hours of their time. But the gains can be immeasurable – a greater willingness to change, a fonder acceptance of things which were at one time unacceptable; and you may find that the thoughts and feelings you have are happier ones; and therefore, you will naturally connect better with others. Making connections leads to making connections. For many, this can be transformative, having never experienced this kind of reality before. The universe is now seen from a different point of view.

A quick acknowledgement to the other medicines out there, both plant and synthetic: they each work differently from one another, and like ketamine, are dependent upon how one metabolizes the medicine in question– for this will affect how the treatment goes – and, fortunately, or unfortunately, is trial and error. Ayahuasca, psilocybin, and LSD can take people through a darker place than, say, MDMA. Cannabis can help a person self-reflect and think with a sharper mind; the white noise may quiet and a person is calmer. And yet, many who take cannabis, think less clearly. MDMA can be too speedy. Ayahuasca and psilocybin can be too strong, and LSD too trippy. And there are many, many, more plant medicines being discovered, and other medicines being created, as each year passes by. I’ve given you my thoughts on ketamine. Right now, in New York, at least, ketamine is a legal, above-board practice for the treatment of different emotional/mental disorders and more. And medical marijuana is available. In New York, psilocybin, LSD, and MDMA are currently illegal, though this too will change. There are studies taking place in New York and in cities around the world that may offer these medicines. So, some of these medicines may not be easily accessible. But just as psilocybin is now legal in Colorado, it is only a matter of time till the gates open.

The main point, here, is that post COVID there are different ways to pursue therapy outside of big pharmaceuticals. It’s a welcomed change.

Douglas Zimmerman

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