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Ketamine for PTSD

How Does Ketamine Help With PTSD?

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PTSD occurs through a disorganization of our brains synaptic pathways that confuse memory and physiologic symptoms.  Here at NeuroRelief™, we utilize safe and soothing Ketamine infusions to give our patients the experience of a warm, euphoric dissociation from their PTSD symptoms.  And that feeling persists into their daily lives! Our treatments for PTSD are highly effective.  We see a 83% success rate with patients who are treated for PTSD using our ketamine infusions!  Through our proven process, patients often get at least a 50% improvement in symptoms!

Until now, most drug treatments have been relatively unsuccessful in a majority of patients suffering from PTSD.  Sedatives, hypnosis, verbal cognitive therapy, and common antidepressants have all shown significant failure in treating PTSD effectively.

In a euphoric, calm and safe environment, Ketamine allows a patient to find peace between their past trauma, and focus on their present positive state of being, This process can assist a patient in “decoupling” the stimulus-response pathways, reducing or eliminating the extreme emotional symptoms experienced with PTSD.

During Ketamine infusion therapy for PTSD a patient’s mind is allowed the opportunity to heal, soothe, process, and find peace. 

The NeuroRelief™ Difference: Treating the Whole Individual

At NeuroRelief™, every treatment plan for PTSD includes multiple, integrated components. To assist our unique clients in achieving their personal growth and treatment goals Dr. Harris, and our clinical team, incorporate several, synergistic approaches to address different facets of each person’s needs.

This detailed tailoring of treatment, coaching, and support allows clients to surpass even their own dreams of success and relief! Each treatment day consists of one-on-one emotional integration sessions, before and after each ketamine infusion.

Every NeuroRelief™ ketamine infusion program includes five(5) 1-hour, one-on-one integration therapy sessions with your personal Certified Integration and Recovery Coach between treatment days.

We incorporate cognitive behavior (CBT) learning and mindfulness training into every day of a client’s journey, to help them learn how to maintain the gains they achieve, for the long-term. 

Our Medical Director, Dr. Harris, is amazingly accessible, 24/7, via text, email, and phone, to be contacted directly by each and every one of our clients. This unprecedented level of access to clinical and emotional support empowers our clients to maximize their successes and learn how to maintain them!

How Does Ketamine Work on PTSD?

Ketamine acts differently from other medications such as SSRIs, tricyclics, MAOI inhibitors, benzodiazepines, and other antidepressant or anti-anxiety medications. Ketamine infusions result in the structural re-wiring of neural pathways, not just a superficial band-aid.

  • Ketamine allows our brains the ability to “reboot” and structurally repair the connections between nerve cells, called synapses. Mood disorders can disrupt these healthy connections and degrade our brains’ ability to repair them.
  • Ketamine is an NMDA receptor antagonist.  This action decreases the GABA inhibition of glutamate synapses, allowing them to wake back up. This then increases our ability to feel reward, and a sense of well-being, from daily stimuli.
  • Ketamine increases our brains natural production of BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor).  BDNF is crucial enzyme that identifies and repairs maladaptive synapses, leading to regrowth and improved balancing of our mood
  • Ketamine re-sensitizes ion-gated Calcium channels at these synapses, and increases the likelihood for synapses such as glutamate, serotonin and dopamine to fire, and increases the frequency at which they do fire.  This is a great thing.  It gives us more “bang-for-our-buck” reward from healthy, comforting stimuli that are all around us
  • Ketamine Increases “Neuroplasticity” of nerve synapses.  This allows repair and regrowth into healthier signaling paradigms, resulting in improved mood and coping skills.
  • Ketamine allows for psychological healing of deep emotional conflicts. Our subconscious (which is our best friend and an infinitely wise processing system) can finally seek to safely process and resolve these conflicts, on our behalf.
  • Ketamine can reset the “default mode network” of our brain.  MRI data suggest that this network is where many maladaptive thought patterns and ruminations are stored.  Inhibiting and resetting the patterns of these areas of the brain gives us the opportunity to rebuild a healthier relationship between ourselves and the beautiful world around us.
  • **** There are no long-term negative side-effects from ketamine infusion therapy.  It also has no physiologic dependency.  With a 60-year safety profile, this is an extremely comforting record compared to many other treatment modalities

Unlike the 6-12 weeks with other common medications, Ketamine-mediated synaptic plasticity changes appear to occur within a matter of minutes to hours after ketamine administration!

The Benefits Of Ketamine: Before & After

before and after ketamine treatment brain by Neuro Relief Ketamine in Sherman Oaks, CA

Before Ketamine

After Ketamine

What Is PTSD?

  • According to the NIMH, “Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a disorder that develops in some people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event; this is especially common in individuals that have endured repetitive negative experiences. 
  • It is natural to feel afraid during and after a traumatic situation. Fear triggers many split-second changes in the body to help defend against danger or to avoid it.
  • This “fight-or-flight” response is a typical reaction meant to protect a person from harm.
  • Nearly everyone will experience a range of reactions after trauma, yet many people recover from initial symptoms naturally. Those who continue to experience problems may be diagnosed with PTSD.
  • People who have PTSD may feel stressed or frightened, even when they are not in danger.
  • Almost 9% of the US population has suffered from PTSD.

What Are The Common PTSD Symptoms?

  • Flashbacks—reliving the trauma over and over, including physical symptoms like a racing heart or sweating
  • Bad dreams
  • Frightening thoughts
  • Staying away from places, events, or objects that are reminders of the traumatic experience
  • Avoiding thoughts or feelings related to the traumatic event
  • Being easily startled
  • Feeling tense or “on edge”
  • Having difficulty sleeping
  • Having angry outbursts
  • Trouble remembering key features of the traumatic event
  • Negative thoughts about oneself or the world
  • Distorted feelings like guilt or blame
  • Loss of interest in enjoyable activities

You Are NOT Alone

  • 70% of adults experience at least one traumatic event in their lifetime
  • 20% of people who experience a traumatic event will develop PTSD
  • In a given year, PTSD affects around 3.5% of the U.S. population, approximately 8 million Americans. Many experts believe this number is FAR higher, as individuals may not identify that their frequent anxiety and emotional struggles are caused by PSTD
  • 1 in 13 people will develop PTSD at some point in their life
  • The numbers indicate that PTSD is far more common in women than in men. The prevalence of PTSD in men is estimated at 1.8%, while PTSD symptoms affected 5.2% of adult women. Men have been found to experience more events during their lifetime than women, but PTSD symptoms in men are far less common than symptoms in women.
  • Increased rates of PTSD are notable in those who have jobs that place them at risk for being a part of a traumatic event, such as police officers, nurses, firefighters, and members of the military.  The highest rates for PTSD occur among sexual assault survivors, military veterans who have been in combat, and survivors of genocide.

At NeuroRelief™, we use evidence-based approaches to patient care. Our clients achieve amazing results, gaining newfound relief, confidence and empowerment. We work closely with each person’s existing mental health professional to become an important tool in a multi-faceted treatment approach. We can also assist in arranging referrals to one of our amazing colleagues. We look forward to providing the highest level of service to our clients.

Customized Protocols for Each Individual Client

1.5 to 2-hour one-on-on, pre-treatment consultation with the physician. (On your first treatment day). This is a wonderful opportunity for the physician that is leading your care to learn more about your individual needs and goals.  This valuable time let’s your doctor learn how to best tailor the therapeutic approach to you, specifically, and to be the best guide possible through your journey of growth and healing

  Pre-treatment coaching/integration session

  60 minutes of customized ketamine infusion (adjusted in real-time to optimize each client’s experience to their unique neurology, psychology, personality, physiology, and tolerance levels

  Recovery time (varies per client but every client is welcomed to stay in their relaxing treatment suite for as long as they like – you will NEVER be asked to leave to make room for another patient)

  Post-infusion integration session with Dr. Harris

  CBT (cognitive behavior technique) and Mindfulness training on how to increase the client’s benefit though at-home daily exercises.

  24/7 direct contact via text/phone/email to your treating physician.

**** Emotional Coaching is provided, in the clinic, and also via 5 hours of live, one-on-one Zoom sessions with your own personal Certified Integration & Recovery Coach.

1.5 to 2-hour one-on-on, pre-treatment consultation with the physician. (On your first treatment day). This is a wonderful opportunity for the physician that is leading your care to learn more about your individual needs and goals.  This valuable time let’s your doctor learn how to best tailor the therapeutic approach to you, specifically, and to be the best guide possible through your journey of growth and healing

  Pre-treatment coaching/integration session

  120 minutes of customized ketamine infusion (adjusted in real-time to optimize each client’s experience to their unique neurology, psychology, personality, physiology, and tolerance levels

  Recovery time (varies per client but every client is welcomed to stay in their relaxing treatment suite for as long as they like – you will NEVER be asked to leave to make room for another patient)

  Post-infusion integration session with Dr. Harris

  CBT (cognitive behavior technique) and Mindfulness training on how to increase the client’s benefit though at-home daily exercises.

  24/7 direct contact via text/phone/email to your treating physician.

 **** Emotional Coaching is provided, in the clinic, and also via 5 hours of live, one-on-one Zoom sessions with your personal Certified Integration & Recovery Coach.

***Based on clinical experience 

This longer infusion time provides additional increases in our brains own production of Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).  This improves the likelihood that our brain/body will adopt a new way of doing business for us, and not shrug off the treatment as an “outlier.”  For clients that fall into one of the following categories, a higher boost in BDNF production (from a 2-hour infusion time) will likely achieve a significantly improved benefit vs. the 1-hour option:

o   A history of suffering from mood related struggles for longer than 7-8 years

  • The process of experiencing depression, anxiety, or PTSD creates anatomical damages to our neurology, and this makes it harder to reverse, the longer that these situations have lasted for.  Ketamine can overcome this, and re-build lost neural connections.  However, those with longer histories of mood struggles can benefit from a longer infusion time, to reach the same end-goal as folks with a shorter history of such struggles

o    A history of taking antidepressant or anti-anxiety medications for longer than 5 years

  • While many medications may benefit clients, for different reasons, we now believe that there is some cost associated with longer-term use.  For example, with an SSRI (Zoloft, Prozac, Lexapro, etc.) the increased release of serotonin (associated with improved mood) can eventually be counteracted by our own brain.  Our own neurology can see this change as a foreign influence that it needs to be balanced back to baseline.  As such, it can take away post-synaptic receptors for neurotransmitters such as serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, glutamate, etc., and can result in feeling diminishing returns.  In other words, without increasing doses or adding secondary medications, we can lose the “bang-for-our-buck” that we could receive from the satisfying and fulfilling stimuli that exist all around us.  We can end up having less of these good receptors than we started with before taking these medications.  In the abovementioned situation, a longer infusion time is recommended, to overcome this deficit, and to rebuild these lost receptors, giving us back our zest for living each day to its fullest.

o   A history of alcohol or drug abuse (including prescription opiates/benzodiazepines) in the past 7-8 years

  • Drugs and alcohol can desensitize receptors in the reward centers of our brain.  It can also lead to increasing need for these substances to even feel “normal.”  This is called dependency.  While many people’s struggles can understandably lead to increased use of drugs/alcohol, it does set us backwards, in the long-term, in our ability to experience the beautiful, normal stimuli of each day.
  • Ketamine can reset our reward instincts to regain the “bang-for-our-buck” from healthy stimuli, and we actually use ketamine to assist those struggling with alcohol or drug abuse in regaining their joy of daily life
  • Ketamine also can reset the “demand” for these substances to overcome dependency need.
  • 2-hour infusion time is recommended in order to overcome some of these neurologic deficits associate with substance abuse, and to give that individual that same benefits as other folks who may not have the same history.

o   A 2-hour protocol can be superior for clients that may take a little longer to “let go.”

  • Ketamine infusion is a beautifully transcendent experience but is a new process for most people.  Once we feel comfortable, and can gain trust for this process, the ketamine journey opens, even further, into a wonderful liberation from our normal constraints.  We believe that this “release point” actually signals the start of the therapeutic benefit.  We each reach this level of acceptance at different rates, and we want our clients to achieve maximal benefit for themselves.
  • If we have more hypervigilance, or a harder time being able to relax into a new situation, then a longer infusion time is recommended.  This is to ensure that each person gets the maximum time, after “release”, that our brains are experiencing this new signal of freedom, warmth, comfort, and connection.  This is the signal that we want our mind to learn from, and to begin to re-program and adapt to.
  • Neuroscientists often call the duration of maximal neural signaling the “veracity.” This longer veracity improves the likelihood that our neurology and psyche will accept and adopt this improved means of processing data and stimuli, and to start to rewire for our benefit.  This regrowth translates into a more joyful and connected relationship to the world around us, when go back into our daily life.

Can I Afford Ketamine Infusion Therapy?

Ketamine treatment plans are very individualized and there are several different protocols, just for depression. Through detailed phone consultation and intake with Dr. Harris, we support each client in making the choice of protocol that is perfect for them. We can share the differences in pricing of these different protocols during our first phone consultation.

At NeuroRelief™, the initial treatment plan we recommend for new clients is to come in for 6 treatment days over a 2-3 week period of time. This is the latest medical consensus of best initial practices for best initial results, called the Stabilization Protocol.

Please see our Affordability page for detailed information on our 15-month interest-free financing program and our robust superbill reimbursement services.

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