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Ketamine Therapy for PTSD

Are you struggling with PTSD symptoms? If so, ketamine infusion therapy may be able to help. Research shows that ketamine can provide relief from depression, anxiety, and other PTSD-related conditions with minimal side effects. Read on to learn more about ketamine treatment, the history, and the benefits and risks of ketamine infusion therapy for those suffering from PTSD. 

How Does Ketamine Help PTSD?

Ketamine has been used as a potential treatment for PTSD since the 1970s. However, early research and development of the drug during this time focused more on its anesthetic and analgesic properties. Its antidepressant properties were discovered and further evaluated in the 1990’s when the FDA approved and categorized the drug as an “investigational new drug”. This opened the door for further investigation into using ketamine to treat depression.  

Since then, a multitude of clinical trials has been conducted relating to the use of ketamine in treating PTSD. The results of these trials have been promising and a number of studies have found that ketamine may have a positive effect on PTSD symptoms. The mechanism behind this effect is not well understood. However, one theory is that the drug increases the production of certain neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, which are known to play a role in regulating mood and the stress response in the brain.  

More recently, there has been a move towards administering ketamine through IV infusions with the aim of achieving an extended period of relief from PTSD symptoms with fewer potential side effects. This is an encouraging development as it could offer an alternative for those that have been unable to effectively address their PTSD symptoms through other treatments. With further research and development, ketamine infusion therapy could eventually become a viable option for people living with PTSD. 

How Ketamine Treats PTSD

Ketamine is a medication used as an adjunct treatment for PTSD. It is a non-opioid anesthetic, which works by blocking the activity of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors in the brain, in the same way as certain antidepressants. By blocking the NMDA receptors, ketamine helps reduce the symptoms of PTSD. These symptoms can include intrusive thoughts, avoidance of situations that bring trauma-related memories, flashbacks, nightmares, and other forms of sensory overload and emotional problems.

Ketamine also works to reduce inflammation and anxiety, which can contribute to PTSD. The drug has been found to reduce levels of fear and distress and increase serotonin levels in the brain, leading to improved mood and behavior. Additionally, it has been observed to repair the brain’s neural pathways, allowing for better communication amongst neurons. This can help to reduce episodes of intense emotions and panic attacks, which can come with PTSD. 


Research suggests that a single infusion of ketamine can produce long-term changes in the brain that can improve symptoms of PTSD. These effects can last up to two weeks, and multiple infusions of ketamine can result in more lasting improvements. However, ketamine is not a cure-all and must be used in conjunction with psychotherapy and counseling sessions in order to provide the most successful treatment for PTSD. 

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