Ketamine is a legal anesthetic medication that has been around for decades, and has recently been used off-label to treat various mental health conditions. The combination of ketamine treatments with psychotherapy promotes longer lasting change and symptom improvement. This combination is known as Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) and has the potential to work more effectively than ketamine treatment alone.
Significant research has shown to be an effective and fast-acting treatment for clients struggling with Major Depressive Disorder, especially for Treatment-Resistant Depression (two or more adequate medication trials have failed). In fact, over 70% of patients with Treatment-Resistant Depression responded to ketamine treatment. Emerging efficacy research also supports the use of ketamine with conditions such as anxiety disorders, suicidal ideation, eating disorders, and Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
It is important to note that active psychosis or a history of psychosis is a rule out for ketamine treatment. Although KAP can be quite effective for complex clinical presentations, significant personality disorders are not the best fit as the response rate is quite low and it is unlikely to be worth the time, effort, and cost to the client.
Clients do not need to have a significant clinical diagnoses to benefit from KAP. The transformative psychedelic experience and powerful biochemical effects (especially new neuronal connections) can support personal growth and may assist in resolving issues such as burnout, existential anxiety (e.g. fear of death), spirituality, identity challenges, or feelings of stagnation in one’s life.