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November 27, 2022

Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy - Cure Your Depression

Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy - Cure Your Depression

Ketamine assisted psychotherapy (KAP) is a powerful treatment for many conditions, including treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, PTSD, and chronic pain. Learn what KAP is, and if IV Ketamine infusion therapy is right for you or your client.

What is Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP)?

Ketamine assisted psychotherapy (KAP) is the combination of psychotherapy while a patient is having a psychedelic experience with ketamine. Psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy has long been studied with LSD, MDMA, and psilocybin. Similarly, IV ketamine infusions can treat depression, anxiety, PTSD, suicidality, and chronic pain, with synergistic effects when combined with psychotherapy. Interestingly, anhedonia is a predictor of success with IV ketamine infusions. Effectiveness in treatment-resistant conditions is as high as 70% within hours and is comparable to electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) and transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS).

What happens to the brain with Ketamine?

Ketamine affects many receptors in the brain and body, including NMDA and 5-HT2A (serotonin) receptors. Psychedelics also cause metabolic changes to the brain, decreasing blood flow to the prefrontal cortex. Together with modulation of thalamic signaling, they decrease neural activity in the default mode network. It is believed that these allow the brain to enter a more primitive state that is ordinarily depressed in waking consciousness. This may allow for disrupting stereotyped patterns of thought and behavior:

As the mind becomes more flexible, the individual may challenge automatic thoughts and develop new perspectives - Reiff, et al.

Why are dissociative effects, pain relief, and neuroplasticity important in psychotherapy?

There are many types of therapy, and your therapist will help you find the right option for you. Regardless of the specific type of therapy, several conditions help increase the success of therapy:

  • Defense mechanisms: reducing maladaptive defense mechanisms can allow for a stronger therapeutic alliance
  • Dissociative experience: a time-out, or "reset," can provide relief from negativity and rigid thought patterns
  • Expansive mindset: ketamine can cause persistent changes to self-representation and access to self in the larger sense
  • Meditative presence: enabling mindfulness and less judgement towards maladaptive behaviors
  • Belief-updating: optimistic biasing within hours of ketamine infusion
These effects enhance a patient’s ability to engage in meaningful psychotherapy during and after administration - Dore, et al.

The Structure of a Ketamine (KAP) Infusion Plan

Treatment protocols include three stages:

  1. Preparation: completing a medical intake, providing a holistic health plan, and providing expectations about the psychedelic experience
  2. IV ketamine infusion sessions: 6-12 infusion sessions (roughly 60 minutes), occurring once or twice a week, with timed psychotherapy sessions concurrently or following
  3. Integration: interpreting the experience into meaningful long-term changes

Advantages of IV Ketamine Infusions for KAP

Harmony Infusion uses IV ketamine to achieve several key benefits over oral and intranasal administration:

  • Onset of action: IV administration penetrates the blood-brain-barrier within seconds versus 10-20 minutes.
  • Session duration: peak plasma ketamine concentrations are achieved quickly to achieve therapeutic effect: less than 1 minute versus 30-60 minutes. Infusions are completed in 1 hour versus 6-8 hours.
  • Dose titration: infusion rates can be adjusted immediately with patient feedback instead of waiting for the next session days or weeks later.
  • Time to relief: integration can be achieved faster when these KAP parameters are optimized
  • Side effects are typically mild and transient: nausea, blurry vision, etc.

If you are a mental health provider, you can contact Harmony Infusion to learn more about referring patients with treatment-refractory mental health conditions. If you are a patient, you can schedule a free consultation to learn if IV Ketamine infusion therapy is right for you.

Contact Harmony Infusion and schedule your free consultation to start your healing journey today.

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