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WHAT IS POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER OR PTSD?
The National Institute of Mental Health defines Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), sometimes referred to as post-traumatic stress (PTS), is an incredibly difficult disorder to live with as “a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event”. PTSD symptoms can include but are not limited to nightmares, flashbacks, frightening thoughts, hyperarousal, and avoidance of anything or anyone that serves as a reminder of the event. Symptoms usually show up within 3 months following the traumatizing event but can also begin years afterward. PTSD symptoms can disrupt a person’s life, interfering with their ability to maintain relationships and employment.
From military veterans to abuse survivors and many others, patients suffering from any type of extreme trauma are at risk of developing changes in brain chemistry. When this occurs, patients commonly experience symptoms of fear, anxiety, and emotional detachment. People suffering from PTSD often experience a slow decline in their mental well-being. This can have negative effects on a patient’s personal and professional life and put relationships with friends and family in jeopardy. They may also struggle to get a good night’s sleep if they have anxiety and flashbacks that cause nightmares, and the resulting exhaustion can take a serious toll.
Some of the most prescribed medications for the treatment of PTSD are SSRIs and SNRIs, two types of antidepressants that can help to regulate mood. According to the National Center for PTSD, Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac, and Effexor are examples of antidepressants that have been deemed the most effective for treating post-traumatic stress disorder. However, “most effective” does not mean satisfactory, it means better than the alternatives. Unfortunately, they do not work more often than they do and the quality of relief when they do work is often described as mediocre. These medications are not without side effects and many people develop a dependency on them.
Treatment options have included a combination of psychotherapy and oral medications. Now, there is an alternative solution available for PTSD sufferers: intravenous ketamine, and research shows that intravenous ketamine can be highly effective. Ketamine has a short half-life and the drug leaves the body quickly, but there are significant changes in brain chemistry and patient perspective during the time it is in the body. Ketamine is an NMDA receptor antagonist and an AMPA receptor stimulator. AMPA stimulation is necessary for increasing brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) which in turn stimulates the formation of new receptors and synapses. This process is critical for making connections between neurons and is often severely compromised among those suffering from PTSD, depression, and mood disorders.
What about Anxiety? Can Ketamine help?
People with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) or social anxiety disorder (SAD) display excessive anxiety or worry, most days for at least 6 months. This worry can be over things such as personal health, work, social interactions, and everyday routine life circumstances. The fear and anxiety can cause significant problems in all areas of life, such as social interactions, school, work and can lead to serious health problems.
Anxiety symptoms include:
Feeling restless, wound-up, or on-edge
Being easily fatigued or always tired
Having difficulty concentrating; mind going blank
Being irritable or lack of patience with others
Having muscle tension
Difficulty controlling feelings of worry
Having sleep problems, such as difficulty falling or staying asleep, restlessness, or unsatisfying sleepKetamine can help with severe anxiety also. Through several studies Ketamine has shown to reduce anxiety and have lasting effects.
About Ketamine Therapy at Wyoming Wellness Center
At Wyoming Wellness Center, we offer the best possible care in our state-of-the-art facility. Our highly experienced, trained, and compassionate team consist of providers who have carefully considered the research and results of IV ketamine infusion therapy.
Mental health ketamine infusion therapy at Wyoming Wellness Center will start with an initial meeting with our mental health provider. From that meeting, you and our team will develop a plan for the course of care to be provided. If ketamine therapy is determined to be a good treatment option, it will initially consist of 8 infusions:
2 infusions week 1
2 infusions week 2
1 infusion week 3
1 infusion week 4
1st "Booster" week 6
2nd "Booster" week 8
Within this time frame, our team will work with you to monitor the effectiveness of the treatment, provide you with support, and collaborate with your primary mental health provider to assist you in learning skills and meeting your goals.
After your initial 8 infusions you will come back for "Booster" infusions on an as needed basis, based upon your symptoms and mood. Usually that is every 4-6 weeks but it may be less often based on your individual mood and symptoms.
Our staff at Wyoming Wellness Center recognize that every patient is unique and that individual responses to ketamine infusions will vary. Therefore, we will tailor your treatment course to you and your body’s needs. Your individual symptoms, needs, and goals of care will determine your course of treatment.
When you undergo ketamine therapy at Wyoming Wellness Center you are closely monitored by our highly experienced providers and nurses. We use hospital grade equipment to monitor all your vital signs, just like an ICU setting. You will be kept safe, in a comfortable, quiet, and relaxing environment.
Some patients experience short-term dizziness, nausea, and fatigue, but these sensations usually disappear rapidly. After 50 years of ketamine being administered at much higher doses, and approximately 10+ years of research on ketamine treatment for mood and pain disorders, there have been no long-term side effects noted at these low doses.
Following your initial treatment series, we will follow up with you, your primary care provider and your mental health provider to monitor your PTSD and/or anxiety symptoms, ensure your mental health counseling is progressing well and determine your need for maintenance infusions.
Over the last 10+ years, ketamine has been used successfully in treating mental health and chronic pain disorders. However, because it is not approved by the FDA for this secondary use, almost all insurance companies will not pay for ketamine infusion therapy. For that reason, we do not bill insurance companies. We will provide you with statements and the necessary billing codes, in the form of a superbill, for you to file a claim, if you desire to do so, and request a superbill from us.
If you or someone you love is in the grips of ongoing PTSD or severe anxiety, ketamine treatment for mood disorders may help.
For further information you can also check out the links below:
Ketamine Advocacy Network
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
National Center for PTSD
National Institutes of Health - PTSD