Psychedelic Medicine for an Integrated Approach to Healing
Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy can be a profoundly effective treatment option. Since this is a Level 3-controlled substance, we use this treatment option only with people we know well. Taken under the tongue (sublingually), Ketamine used in concert with psychotherapy has the potential to provide healing and transformation. If you’re interested in learning more or think this might be the right option for you, please contact Integrative Psychiatry Austin today to schedule a consultation.
Based on our reading of literature and experience, we feel that Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy has a higher chance of efficacy with some populations and conditions than the IV treatment model. It is also more open to tailoring treatment to the unique characteristics of an individual.
- The first couple of sessions explore medical, psychological, social and spiritual history
- Treatment goals are identified
- The MD is involved in formulating a treatment plan in tandem with the therapist
- Treatment might also include nutrition, acupuncture, and supplemental health education
- After medical clearance, we plan for a treatment session with sublingual Ketamine
A Holistic Approach That Is Medically Safe
Set and setting play a big role in the Ketamine therapy session. We have attempted to take a more holistic approach to this type of treatment. We like to think of the Ketamine treatment as a journey, very similar to what is undertaken with other psychedelic substances, such as Ayahuasca. At the same time, our commitment is to use this practice in a medically safe way.
At Integrative Psychiatry Austin, we conduct a medical and physical exam and monitor vitals during each session. We also employ psychological measures of assessment based on the needs of the patient. Our MD is also certified in advanced cardiac life support and has available medical supplies and equipment to ensure medical safety while administering this treatment.
Who Can Benefit from Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy?
Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy can benefit a number of people, including:
- Those who have experienced non-ordinary states of consciousness and have had difficulty returning to the previous defenses they have outgrown
- Those who are over reliant on substances
- Those who have unhealthy patterns of attachment
- Those who have undergone trauma
- Those who are thriving in life but feel the need to explore existential issues
- Couples who are having difficulties and want to do individual work before their couples therapy can yield better results
- Those who feel stuck in traditional psychotherapy
Ketamine is a substance that was first synthesized at Wayne State University in the early 1960s. It was used as a medicine to induce anesthesia. Gradually, it was discovered that it had pain relieving attributes at lower doses. It has recently been discovered to help with depression as well. Ketamine has been studied to see its possible benefits in helping to treat a number of mental health problems, including: substance dependencies, depression, PTSD, bipolar depression and chronic pain. Esketamine (a form of Ketamine) was studied and then approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for use in Treatment Resistant Depression. This has resulted in the efficacious use of this medicine to treat depression that has been resistant to a variety of other traditional antidepressants.
Ketamine works in a way unlike any of the traditional antidepressants. Instead of working on serotonin, dopamine or norepinephrine, it works on the NMDA and AMPA receptor. The molecule that caused the antidepressant effect of Ketamine was discovered at the University of Texas. The NMDA receptor is a glutamate and ion-channel protein receptor that gets activated when glutamate and glycine bind to it. Another receptor called the AMPA also gets activated with Ketamine and is responsible for the antidepressant effect. At low doses, Ketamine also interacts with the opiate receptor, hence its use in treating chronic pain.
Ketamine’s high safety index was recognized early. It earned a name as the “buddy drug” in the Vietnam war. It was given to soldiers to administer to each other in case of injuries until they could be transported to receive more intensive medical services. This does not mean, however, that Ketamine is free of side effects. Like any other medicine, it also has a list of potential side effects. For this reason, it is necessary for health care professionals to monitor its use.
Ketamine has significantly more side effects when it is used at anesthetic doses. When used for mental health treatment, however, Ketamine is used in sub-anesthetic doses. At these levels, it can produce psychedelic effects which, without adequate preparation, can be scary.
Ketamine can be used orally, sublingually (under the tongue), intravenously, or intramuscularly. All of these routes of administration have their pros and cons, and different types of administration are suitable for different scenarios.
Ketamine is used as a mental health treatment by anesthesiologists, emergency room physicians, and psychiatrists. Anesthesiologists and emergency room physicians also use it for pain control during various procedures.
The Ketamine infusion clinic is becoming increasingly popular nowadays. Most of these clinics offer IV Ketamine and are not run by psychiatrists. Some psychiatrists refer people to these clinics to receive a number of Ketamine treatments. The physicians or health care personnel running these clinics administer a prescribed number of Ketamine infusions in a controlled setting and then discharge the patient to the referring psychiatrist. Some Ketamine clinics also provide ongoing support through Ketamine and relational care.
The treatment usually involves being hooked up to an IV for an hour while watching and hearing calming media. It is a medical setting that involves taking blood pressure measurements and frequent check-ins with medical personnel. The dose is usually escalated based on tolerance with each treatment. Typically, six treatments are recommended over a period of three weeks, with each treatment running around $500-$600. For some people, a maintenance model of one to two treatments per week is recommended.
Our practice believes that, although popular, Ketamine infusion treatments delivered in the absence of therapy is not preferable.
Integrative Psychiatry Austin offers a variety of therapy options including:
- Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy
- Whole Person Assessment
- Holistic Medicine
- Neuropsychological Testing
- Child and Adolescent Mental Health
- Trauma Informed Care
Integrative Psychiatry Austin provides an integrated approach to healing, which is why we offer a variety of therapy options. Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy can benefit a number of people:
Individuals over relying on substances
People with unhealthy patterns of attachment
Those who feel stuck in traditional psychotherapy
Persons who have experienced trauma
Individuals who want to work on themselves to make couples therapy more productive
Those who have experienced non-ordinary states of consciousness
People who want to explore existential issues
Integrative Psychiatry Austin Is Your Best Choice for an Integrated Approach to Therapy
Contact us today to learn more about the different therapy services we offer:
How Integrative Psychiatry Austin Works
No two people are alike, which is why we offer an array of therapy services to provide the best possible treatment for each individual. If you’re unsure which option is best for you, contact us to learn more.