Ketamine is an amazing medication. It is an anesthetic, painkiller, mental health treatment, and entheogen all wrapped into one. We have successfully treated hundreds of patients with depression, anxiety, PTSD, OCD, suicidal ideation, and addiction using ketamine at Wonder Medicine. Greater than 90% of the people we treat get better. But, having the right plan for therapy will greatly increase your odds of success.
What is an Entheogen?
An entheogen is a mind-altering substance that helps people develop spiritually. Ketamine causes a profoundly mind-altering experience that expands consciousness, understanding, and connectivity when used with intention in the right therapeutic setting.
Why do some Patients Not Respond to Ketamine?
Some people do not respond to ketamine treatments. Most often there is an identifiable reason. Some of these reasons include:
- Abusing substances actively while undergoing therapy (e.g. going home and drinking a bottle or two of wine after therapy)
- Not enough treatments received (major illness requires more therapy, sometimes > 6 treatments for response)
- Trauma or Mindset roadblocks that prevent patients from continuing therapy.
- Some people just don’t respond. This may be due to their underlying biology (estimated < 2%)
Why do > 90% of Ketamine Patients Experience Benefit
Ketamine does 4 amazing things that help people change their minds and get their lives back on track.
1. Directly treats depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions.
2. Makes it easier to change thought patterns, mindset, and behaviors.
3. Forces people to face past trauma.
4. Allows a person to view their life from a 3rd party perspective.
Directly Treats Mental Health Conditions
Ketamine directly treats depression, anxiety, and can reverse suicidal ideation. It has an innate anti-depressive and anti-anxiety effect. This effect can be profound, with patients looking and feeling remarkably better after a single ketamine treatment. Major mental health illnesses (e.g. major depression) may require several treatments before improvements are noticeable. Minor illness or “funks” may resolve with just one treatment. Unfortunately these anti-depression and anti-anxiety effects do not last forever (typically weeks to months). But this can still be tremendously valuable.
Makes it Easier to Change Thought Patterns, Mindset, and Behavior
Ketamine improves neuroplasticity, or the brain’s ability to change, rewire, and think differently. After a ketamine treatment, you will find that changing the way you think and behave is much easier. Leaving negative thought patterns behind, moving past traumatic life events, and even changing behaviors all become much easier. Even cessation of harmful drug use and other harmful addictions can be much easier following a ketamine treatment. Ketamine makes it easier for our brains to rewire, repair, and heal. Additionally, ketamine it is also somewhat of a reboot. Ever fix a computer by turning it on and off? Ketamine is a similar on-off process for the brain.
Forces Patients to Face Past Traumas
Exposure to mental, physical, and sexual trauma is both common and tragic. At Wonder Medicine, we see trauma every day. Sometimes patients are not even aware of their trauma as traumatic life events can be completely repressed or “blacked out”. This is particularly true for non-accidental trauma. Many mental and physical medical problems are driven by past or ongoing trauma as it takes a tremendous toll on the body and mind. The good news is, if you have a history of trauma and appropriately deal with it, health issues start to melt away.
Non-accidental trauma will never be ok. The goal is not to forget or get over it. The goal is to face the trauma, re-live it, accept that it happened, accept that it was entirely wrong, understand that it was not your fault, and then walk away. The trauma will always be with the you. But after the previous sequence, it will no longer have power over you, your emotions, and wellbeing.
Ketamine causes both trauma and non-accidental trauma to “bubble up” to the surface. It may expose your trauma and even force you to relive it. This can be extremely challenging in the moment and for days following. For this reason, those with PTSD often struggle after their first few ketamine treatments. But this process of exposure is necessary for healing. If you struggle with PTSD, expect this and be ready to face your past traumas. We recommend pushing through these initial difficult treatments and continuing with therapy. Exposure is necessary for healing.
Allows People to View Their Life From a 3rd Party Perspective
We are all the stars of our own show, living constantly in the center of our own attention. But as the main attraction, it can be very hard to see the bigger picture. Ketamine makes it easier for you to view your life from a 3rd party perspective. As if you were finally able to sit in the crowd and watch your life from the outside. This will give you tremendous insight into your life, mindset, behaviors, and environment. It builds an awareness that people would otherwise struggle to find or accept.
So, ketamine allows you to see the bigger picture from an outside perspective. It makes you happier, less anxious, and more able to change your thoughts and behaviors. Additionally, it forces you to face your trauma and work through it. This powerful combination of benefits helps facilitate long-term meaningful change. With the right plan in place, ketamine will provide lifelong benefits.
Plan for Ketamine Therapy
1. Make a list of all the thoughts and behaviors you want to change in your life. Make a detailed plan for how to change these things. Start executing the plan immediately after your first ketamine treatment. Most people need help with this. At Wonder Medicine, we offer a 12-week Behavioral Change Therapy package to Longevity and Performance Program Members for this reason. If you need help making a plan or executing that plan we would love to tell you more about our program.
2. Let everyone in your support group know what you are doing and why you are doing it. Ask for their help in making lifestyle changes. Formal support groups like alcoholics anonymous can also be very helpful in this process.
3. Avoid substance use and abuse the day before, on, and after therapy. Avoid stimulants for ADHD the day of your treatment. Using mind-altering substances will most often erase the positive benefits of ketamine provides.
4. Treat elevated blood pressure before treatment as ketamine raises blood pressure. If your resting blood pressure is above 180 systolic or 95 diastolic immediately prior to treatment, we will not be able to treat you and you will not be refunded.
5. Integrate mental health therapy with ketamine treatments. We encourage you to schedule mental health therapy visits in between or following your ketamine treatments. This can be extremely helpful when working through trauma and negative thought patterns. Scheduling intimate conversations with loved ones and friends in between ketamine sessions can also be helpful. Just let the person know what they are getting into.
6. Invest enough time and money into ketamine therapy for it to be successful. Severe mental health problems may require 6 or more ketamine treatments to take effect. You will need to take time off work and from other obligations. You may also need mental health therapy, behavior change therapy, other support, and other complimentary treatment modalities. All of this will cost time and money. But this investment will be worth it. Mental health problems and trauma cause physical health problems, reduce productivity, ruin people’s lives, and make life not worth living. Do not tolerate this. Make the investment and get the help you need.
We Do Not Recommend Home Ketamine Use Ever
Many companies are offering home based ketamine treatments. Some with very little monitoring or oversight. We believe this is a huge mistake. This is why:
- We recommend starting with a batch of doses and then spacing treatments aggressively. Research shows that dose spacing does not occur with home use. Instead, people tend to take ketamine more and more frequently. This is the path to addiction and puts people at high risk for side effects and adverse outcomes.
- Home is our sacred environment. When we use potentially habit-forming substances at home it imprints on our brains. After this, every time we are home, we think about using that substance as we are triggered by environmental cues. This is really bad. Keeping ketamine therapy outside of the home and maintaining the home as a healthy environment are key to long term success.
Changing your life starts with changing your behaviors and environment. Changing behavior and environment starts with changing your mind. Ketamine can help you change your mind. When you change your mind, behaviors and environment will follow. Are you ready to start living your best life?
Thank you so much,
Bill Brandenburg, MD