Is Ketamine Treatment Really Safe?

Ketamine is a drug long used as an anesthetic. Recently, many ketamine treatment centers have opened up across the United States with the intention of helping people who are struggling from a range of emotional obstacles. Depression, anxiety, grief, and PTSD are just a few on a long list of over 2 dozen conditions that these clinics are claiming can be cured with ketamine treatment. Clinics are making statements saying that it is essentially acting as a faster, more efficient version of rehab therapy counseling. While it has been said within the medical community that it’s likely ketamine can be an efficient alternative for treating many mental health conditions, these are just claims, not stated facts. As it has not yet been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, it’s reasonable to say that there is surely not enough research done on the use of ketamine as a treatment method for mental health disorders. Especially in comparison to the claims many clinics are making in regard to its benefits. Unfortunately, it is extremely common for these clinics to oversell the benefits of ketamine treatment within the rapidly growing industry. For this reason, it is important to understand the realities and risks of ketamine treatment.

Thinking about trying Ketamine treatment to reduce anxiety, uplift your mood, or overcome trauma? Consider these 7 important facts about ketamine treatment before

1. Claims are often larger than the amount of research conducted

Though previously mentioned, it is important to emphasize the fact that there isn’t a sufficient amount of research conducted on the effects of ketamine to be certain of its benefits and side effects. Mental health conditions are often not similar enough to claim that specific research can be used interchangeably when speaking about specific treatment methods. Though it’s been documented that certain patients have overcome certain disorders with the use of ketamine treatment, there is no way of knowing which and whom it will help or cause more damage to due to the lack of research in regard to its short term, but more so long term effects.

2. Money over Mindfulness

The use of ketamine as a treatment for a range of mental health conditions has become a rapidly growing industry. It is being marketed as a fast alternative to traditional rehab therapy counseling. The problem is that clinics are making false claims, and offering questionable methods to assure patients get the proper treatment. An example is a clinic that offers genetic testing for nearly $200 to find the right formula for the patient. There has yet to be any concrete proof that genetic testing offers any useful insight as far as ketamine treatment goes. These clinics appear to be taking advantage of desperate individuals who will pay nearly anything to feel better. They appear to be primarily concerned about financial gain, with the patient’s well-being as a secondary concern.

3. Discrepancies in patient screening, treatment plans, and dosage

 Some clinics have been mindful to create a thorough, detailed patient screening system that ensures only those eligible for ketamine treatment receive it. However, some rely on screening tools such as the PHQ-9 questionnaire, often used to diagnose symptoms of depression, which suggests they would benefit from ketamine treatment. The problem with this is that red flags can be missed that would usually be picked up by a medical professional during a one on one screening. It’s frivolous but nonetheless true that as ketamine treatment has become more common, it’s become more about who can afford treatment, rather than who needs it. Sadly, those who would benefit from it most are often those that cannot afford the treatment. Treatments can range from $350-$1000 and can be administered multiple times a week over several weeks in some treatment plans. Not only is it extremely costly, but can be dangerous if the patient receives an improper dosage or falls off the schedule of their treatment plan. Nonetheless, this has been known to occur within these clinics. Patients are either receiving too much or not enough due to poor patient screening.

If you or someone you know is suffering from a mental disorder and think ketamine treatment could be of use, look into it- thoroughly. With that being said, do your part in making sure yourself, or you’re loved one is supported throughout the entire process. Ensuring that there is qualified support accessible before, during and post-treatment is crucial.