Ketamine is a powerful medication that was first developed in the early 1960s as a new anesthetic for humans. It underwent numerous clinical trials before being deemed safe for use in humans. During the Vietnam War, the U.S. government worked with researchers to ship large quantities of ketamine to Vietnam to treat wounded soldiers. In addition to its effectiveness in pre- and post-operative settings, it was discovered that ketamine had a calming effect on the symptoms of mental illness, chronic pain, and other conditions that are resistant to traditional treatments.
Ketamine’s Effect on the Body
Symptoms of many of the conditions which ketamine treats can be lowered by certain medications or supplements which are ingested as a liquid or in pill form. The drawback, unfortunately, is the human digestive process. Anything taken orally must be digested before vitamins and nutrients are converted into a useful form, which could take hours. But with ketamine, the medicine flows directly into the bloodstream.
When properly dispensed by a healthcare professional, a therapeutic low dose of ketamine can leave you feeling calm and relaxed. During this state of semi-sedation, you may also experience a temporary out-of-body sensation and feeling of light-headedness.
Regardless of how the medicine is dispensed or the dose, ketamine may present certain health risks that you should talk with your healthcare provider about. There are potential effects to your body, including:
- Double vision
- A dream-like state
- Flushing or redness of the skin
- Lack of appetite
- Unrestrained eye movements
- Warmer than normal skin
- Inhibited motor function
- You may breathe slower than normal or realize a cessation of breathing
- Lowered heart rate
- Problems with motion or mobility
- Blurred or changed vision
- Dizziness, faintness, or lightheadedness with sudden movement from lying to standing
- You may be unusually tired or weak in the absence of physical or mental exertion
Ketamine is safe under most conditions, but its effects on your body can vary depending on your health and other factors. Studies have shown that a single dose of ketamine not used for anesthesia can often quickly lower depression symptoms within hours in patients who’ve not had positive outcomes with conventional antidepressants, which normally take weeks or months to work. The medicine was given U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval in 1970 as a human anesthetic; a version was approved to fight treatment-resistant depression in 2019.
You may not be permitted to use ketamine if there are concerns about:
- Unrestrained hypertension or significant health concerns
- High intracranial or intraocular pressure
- Mania, psychosis, or schizophrenia
- History of aneurysm or brain bleed
- Current or recent substance abuse
- You’re pregnant or breastfeeding
- You’ve had problems with IV therapy
- You’ve had a bad reaction to Ketamine
What Conditions Can It Treat?
In many cases, ketamine has been shown to relieve physical and psychological discomfort from many conditions, including these:
- Anxiety disorders
- Mood disorders
- Posttraumatic stress disorder
- Substance abuse disorder
- Personality disorders
- Low energy
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Suicidal ideation
- Restless legs syndrome
- Chronic regional pain syndrome
- Migraine symptoms
- Neuropathic pain
- Sleep disorders
- Stress disorders
If you have symptoms of any of these conditions and believe your life is spinning out of control, talk with your healthcare provider about diagnosis and treatment options like ketamine therapy.
Ketamine is a versatile medication that is used in both human and animal medicine for a variety of purposes. One of its primary uses is as an anesthetic, in which it is administered in higher doses to produce a state of unconsciousness and analgesia during surgery or other medical procedures. In lower doses, however, ketamine has also been found to be effective in treating treatment-resistant depression and other conditions.
To administer ketamine for the purpose of treating depression and other conditions, it is typically provided intravenously in a healthcare setting, such as a hospital, medical facility, or licensed clinic that offers ketamine and therapeutic IV therapy. The process involves inserting a needle into a vein, with the needle connected to a rubber tube that receives the medicine from a drip bag. This method of administration allows for the rapid onset of the drug’s effects, which can be beneficial in treating conditions such as depression that require rapid symptom improvement.