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Ketamine Therapy For PTSD

One in thirteen Americans suffers from PTSD. And that number has grown since the pandemic. PTSD has some of the most debilitating mental health symptoms, and it rarely comes alone. It often goes hand-in-hand with other diagnoses, like depression, anxiety, and mood instability.

At our Seattle Ketamine infusion center, PTSD is one of the most frequent mental health struggles we treat. We deliver care to healthcare workers, first responders, veterans, serious car accident victims, and survivors/witnesses of traumatic events. Many of these clients are the very people expected to continue serving in demanding and high-need jobs.

When clients with PTSD come in for a consultation, themes often come up.

Do you find yourself dealing with these PTSD symptoms?

  • Overreacting to normal daily stresses. Stimuli can be much more overwhelming than you’d like (i.e. a door slamming loudly).
  • Road rage or driving anxiety. Any task requiring driving has become significantly more stressful.
  • Trouble maintaining romantic relationships. Fights feel frequent and unavoidable. Unfortunately, break-ups, separations, and divorces are extremely common with sufferers of PTSD.
  • Trouble keeping healthy relationships with friends and family. You may find yourself declining social interactions — even with people you love.
  • Being overwhelmed by children. High-energy and needy children are especially challenging, even when you want to interact well with them.
  • Constantly thinking about suicide. Pre-treatment, many of our clients felt so crushed by suicidal thoughts that it felt like the only mode of escape.
  • Panic attacks and anxiety attacks. From tingling hands to completely shutting down, attacks keep you from the tasks you want to do.
  • Struggling to manage your job. It’s hard to keep a job — or keep up what it requires. Work instability has become a major stress in your life.

These are the kinds of symptoms that bring our clients in to try IV ketamine. Thankfully, they’re the symptoms that ketamine therapy works well for.

How was ketamine therapy for PTSD discovered?

In the medical world, IV ketamine is commonly used as a sedative and anesthetic. It’s frequently been used for emergency surgeries in war zones. That’s how its effects on PTSD were accidentally discovered. Incidences of PTSD were lower in injured soldiers that were given ketamine for emergency surgery or pain.

How does ketamine therapy work for PTSD?

Ketamine works quickly, interfering with pain messages sent to your brain. It’s also one of the safer sedatives because it doesn’t reduce your breathing rate and blood pressure much when used well. The World Health Organization (WHO) includes ketamine in the WHO List of Essential Medicines, a list of medications considered the safest and most effective for critical times of need.

But ketamine does more than manage pain — it interacts with broken pathways in the brain. Yes, like ones that are found in PTSD. With PTSD, some of your brain’s neural pathways are firing far too often, and at the wrong times. Some necessary pathways may not be established at all.

When dosed appropriately, ketamine can act as a “hard reset”, giving your brain a chance to slow the pathways down and have a chance to regroup. It promotes neurological connections that can help bring up repressed memories or remember new details. It can also help reconnect neurological connections that have severed or weakened.

It’s not clear how ketamine does this — there are great opportunities for more research to be done. But what we do know is that, for many patients with PTSD, the psychedelic experience of IV ketamine therapy has helped them:

  • Process trauma from a 3rd person perspective (“observing the observer”).
  • Get the brain out of the rut of returning to the trauma over and over…and unlock new ways to remember it instead.
  • Get into a headspace to process trauma objectively.

How IV ketamine therapy can help YOU

We’ve witnessed the incredible effects of IV ketamine for PTSD — the relief our patients express is what keeps us excited to continue giving care. In fact, there are some themes these PTSD patients say they experience, like:

  • Hanging out with children without getting overwhelmed
  • Talking to their spouse without constantly getting into fights
  • Getting to go back to work…even after they thought their days as a working professional were over
  • Driving without feeling panicked or overwhelmed with road rage
  • Going on errands easily
  • Seeing a steep decline in suicidal thoughts and ideation
  • Feeling capable of handling their day

Many of our clients say the first sign they knew the ketamine was working…was the response from the people around them. Even 1 or 2 infusions were enough to make a difference in irritability, mood, rage, and anxiety.

When to come in for ketamine therapy for PTSD

PTSD has limited treatment options and is extremely difficult to manage. Sufferers often have tried a battery of treatments with varying success. Do any of these situations apply to you?

  • You’ve tried getting classic pharmaceutical treatments for anxiety and depression (i.e. SSRIs, Wellbutrin, etc.). Let us guess — they were slow-acting, took a long time to try finding the “right fit,” and had frustrating side effects.
  • You’ve been given some heavier-hitting benzodiazepines — but they weren’t a good long-term solution for your PTSD. The risks are often greater than their short-term benefits, making them a poor long-term treatment option for PTSD.
  • You tried Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy. We hear many clients say that they struggle to see results with the large time commitment needed.
  • You’re seeing slow results from counseling and/or psychotherapy. Again, this large time commitment with gradual results can be very challenging as a stand-alone therapy for PTSD.

We highly recommend pairing IV ketamine for PTSD with psychotherapy for the best outcomes. IV ketamine helps you get the most out of your sessions–the psychedelic therapy tends to “take the edge” off other therapies. Many patients report feeling that after their infusions they can “finally talk about” and work through their trauma with a therapist.

How do I get my PTSD treated with ketamine therapy?

You’ll typically see ketamine work quickly after treatment begins. Many patients have benefits from a few infusions.

To start therapy (or simply get questions answered) at Lighthouse Infusions & Seattle Ketamine, you only need to call, text, or send us an email. Eli is happy to answer your questions. If your questions are more medical, or you’re ready to consider treatment, he can arrange your free phone consultation.

During this consult, you’ll get to speak with Liana, our medical director and anesthesia provider. She’ll be able to answer questions in-depth and talk with you about your medical history. There are several diseases and medications that don’t interact well with IV ketamine, and we want to ensure you have safe and effective treatments.

Already have a diagnosis for PTSD? You may have what you need to start up ketamine treatments.

Once you are cleared for the infusions, you’ll begin with 6 initial sessions over 4 weeks. Liana will deliver your treatments and stay with you the whole duration of your infusion. If you need the infusion stopped, to have additional medications, or to have any questions answered, she’ll be right there for you.

After this initial loading dose, you’ll be able to come back as needed for maintenance sessions. Boosters will depend on your response to the ketamine infusions, which you’ll be able to track on an app we provide, but usually every 1-3 months.

Ready for a PTSD ketamine therapy consultation with Seattle Ketamine?

Ready to see if ketamine therapy is right for your PTSD? Give us a call at 425-835-2363 , send us a text , or email us at to set up your phone consultation appointment.