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What is Ketamine Psychotherapy?


Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy

(KAP) is a form of Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy, a cutting-edge treatment approach to mental health that is well-established by decades of medical research. Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy refers to the professionally supervised use of ketamine, MDMA, psilocybin, or other psychedelics as part of an established psychotherapy treatment program. Currently, ketamine is the only psychedelic legally available for use in the United States. This treatment is both legal and safe.

Ketamine as a Psychedelic Treatment

By far, the most studied psychedelic agent is ketamine which, in much higher doses, has been used as an anesthetic agent for decades. At lower doses ketamine temporarily modifies consciousness, causing changes in mood, anxiety level, and thought patterns.

Ketamine has been studied in over 70 Phase 2 and Phase 3 clinical trials for psychiatric disorders, given as single or repeated administrations in varying doses and by various routes of delivery.

How Ketamine Can Help

Most studies have been for depressive disorders, but ketamine has also been shown to be effective for obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), suicidality, eating disorders, and addictions, including alcohol, opioid, and nicotine dependence. Psychedelic-assisted therapy has also shown promise as a treatment for end-of-life distress and fear of death related to a terminal illness.

Ketamine for Addiction

Tackling deeply ingrained addictive behavior patterns requires determination, introspection, and a desire to change and grow. Talk therapy and/or 12-step programs are important yet often not enough to achieve long-lasting recovery. Ketamine overrides the part of the brain that controls habitual behavior, allowing access to the subconscious, where core issues lie. This helps to disrupt unwanted behavior patterns and sets the stage for lasting change. Ketamine also weakens addiction triggers for alcohol and drug cravings which are often associated with environmental cues.

Long-term problematic alcohol or drug use is often a symptom of underlying depression, anxiety, or PTSD. By treating hidden mood disorders and processing stored trauma, we have seen many people reduce or eliminate their problematic alcohol or drug use. Once the mood improves and the trauma is processed, the “need” to drink or drugs dissipates.

What to Expect

KAP begins with an intake evaluation and a meet and greet by phone or Zoom. This visit will be used to design an individualized therapy program for you. During this visit, our staff and I will answer any questions you have. You will then have a medical screening exam by our physician, Dr. Eric Milbrandt, to ensure that you can safely be treated with ketamine.

Next, I will work with you to get to know you, establish your therapy goals, and make sure you are adequately prepared for psychedelic work. This phase of treatment is the preparation phase. The number of sessions varies according to your needs.

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