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  • Text the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741).

Both services are free and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. 

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Ketamine Treatment for Acute Suicidality in Southern California

Ketamine is a well-known FDA- approved anesthetic. For years, ketamine has been used as anesthesia during surgery. More recently, researchers have found that, in low doses, intravenous (IV) ketamine can be used to treat mental health disorders resistant to other types of treatment.

Neuro Wellness Spa is proud to offer IV ketamine therapy as a safe and effective treatment option for acute suicidality. IV ketamine therapy is coordinated by Dr. Martha Koo, M.D.,  Neuro Wellness Spa’s Medical Director. She is an active member of the American Society of Ketamine Physicians. A leading authority on psychiatric disorders for over 20 years, Dr. Koo is passionate about using IV ketamine to help her patients with acute suicidality. 

What is Ketamine IV Therapy?

Millions of people suffer from chronic and debilitating physical and psychiatric disorders, including anxiety and depression. However, many of these conditions may stop responding to medications, like anti-depressants, and other therapies. IV ketamine therapy is a safe and effective treatment option for people who suffer from treatment-resistant:

 

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Acute suicidality
  • PTSD
  • Chronic pain

 

Physicians have used Ketamine for over 50 years as an anesthetic. However, new research indicates its effectiveness in other applications too.

Researchers at Mass General Hospital conducted the largest study of IV ketamine therapy. They found that over 70% of patients suffering from treatment-resistant depression experienced symptom relief with IV ketamine therapy. This study, along with a growing number of others, is a major finding that demonstrates the effectiveness of IV ketamine for those who have tried standard treatments but haven’t responded adequately.

What is Ketamine IV Therapy?

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Millions of people suffer from chronic and debilitating physical and psychiatric disorders, including anxiety and depression. However, many of these conditions may stop responding to medications, like anti-depressants, and other therapies. IV ketamine therapy is a safe and effective treatment option for people who suffer from treatment-resistant:

 

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Acute suicidality
  • PTSD
  • Chronic pain

 

Physicians have used Ketamine for over 50 years as an anesthetic. However, new research indicates its effectiveness in other applications too.

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Machine at the NeuroWellness Spa.

Researchers at Mass General Hospital conducted the largest study of IV ketamine therapy. They found that over 70% of patients suffering from treatment-resistant depression experienced symptom relief with IV ketamine therapy. This study, along with a growing number of others, is a major finding that demonstrates the effectiveness of IV ketamine for those who have tried standard treatments but haven’t responded adequately.

How is Acute Suicidality Treated with IV Ketamine Therapy?

Traditionally, acute suicidality requires psychiatric hospitalization for observation in a secure unit if the individual cannot contract for safety and/or be observed closely by family or friends.

No single therapeutic approach is suitable for all people with suicidal thoughts. IV ketamine therapy may be a very effective treatment and one that negates the necessity of hospitalization. 

Ketamine has proven to effectively treat many mental health disorders, including: 

  • Depression
  • PTSD
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Chronic pain conditions

Researchers are still trying to understand exactly how ketamine works on the brain. So far, studies have shown that it stimulates brain cell healing and growth, and has anti-inflammatory effects. A 2016 study showed ketamine accelerated the maturation of nerve cells located in the hippocampus – the part of the brain associated with emotions. 

Studies have also shown that ketamine stimulates brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and the growth of neurons in the brain. Researchers have observed increased synaptic connections in patients treated with IV ketamine therapy. 

Ketamine also improves neural activation, or communication between brain cells. This in turn helps improve mood and thought patterns.

Although ketamine has been used as an anesthetic since the 1960s, its more recent application in mental health treatment uses low doses that do not cause a “high” feeling or unconsciousness. 

So how does the ketamine for suicidality work?

Dosage of IV ketamine is decided based on the patient’s body weight (0.5mg/kg). The drug is administered at a slow and controlled pace to the patient by a trained clinician. Patients do not experience any respiratory depression during or after the treatment. 

IV ketamine doesn’t have any long-lasting associated side effects. Although some people may experience sensitivity to light and/or sound and disorientation while the treatment is administered, these feelings subside quickly when the treatment is finished.

IV ketamine can cause feelings of dissociation while the treatment is being administered. However, many patients report that these feelings of dissociation can help them step back from intense negative feelings.

At Neuro Wellness Spa, our IV ketamine treatments usually last between 40 and 50 minutes. Our patients recline in a relaxing, private room and are monitored by a nurse during the entire procedure. Many prefer to have the lights dimmed and listen to relaxing music while the ketamine is administered. 

Unlike traditional treatments and medications, like SSRIs, most patients feel relief from their symptoms with the very first IV ketamine treatment. This improvement wanes over the subsequent 24-48 hours, but as the IV ketamine protocol continues, the symptom relief becomes increasingly sustained. The typical course of treatment includes 8-12 infusions over the course of 3-4 weeks.

 

What is Acute Suicidality?

Suicidal ideation is complex. It does not have a singular cause. However, undiagnosed or untreated depression is one of the most common mental health disorders associated with suicide. 

Risk factors for suicidal ideation include:

  • Genetics: People with blood relatives that have had suicidal thoughts are more likely to have them as well.
  • Biochemistry: Chemical imbalances in the brain have long been thought to contribute to suicidal ideation, and are the target of many medication treatment options. A history of mental health disorders, addiction or traumatic brain injury increases the risk of suicidal ideation.
  • Environment: Exposure to hormones triggered by very stressful situations like violence, abuse, neglect, addiction relapse and poverty are thought to contribute to suicidal ideation. 

Acute Suicidality Statistics 

Although suicide is a major public health concern, it is preventable. Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. Globally, one person dies every 40 seconds due to suicide. Suicide rates are the highest among adults aged 45 to 64. 

Signs and Symptoms of Acute Suicidality

Warning signs of acute suicide risk may include:

  • Expression of specific plans with the active intent to self harm
  • Current signs and symptoms of psychiatric disorders
  • Perceived acute psychosocial stressors
  • Past attempts, aborted attempts or rehearsal behaviors
  • Difficulty maintaining safety despite external help or support

If you or a loved one are experiencing any of these signs, call a suicide hotline. Suicidal thoughts are treatable, but they will not go away on their own. We are also here to help.

How Does Ketamine Therapy for Acute Suicidality Feel?

At Neuro Wellness Spa, we administer low levels of ketamine in a controlled environment.

 

Ketamine can be used an anesthetic during surgery. However, the dosage we use during therapy is much lower. Patients do not lose consciousness or experience hallucinations during their sessions.

 

At such a low dosage, ketamine’s side effects will be very mild. When the drug is abused, individuals could experience a “trip” and hallucinate. However, at Neuro Wellness Spa we use FDA-approved doses and closely monitor our patients to make sure they are comfortable and relaxed.

What can I Expect During IV Ketamine Suicidality Treatment?

When you are first admitted into a ketamine treatment center,

A physician will begin by reviewing your medical records and consulting with you about your depression. There will also be a physical examination.

A person should be in good health to receive a Ketamine infusion.

However, there are almost no conditions which would prevent a person from being able to receive the treatments. If a patient has high blood pressure or a heart condition, this may need to be rectified before treatment can proceed.

Patients will be asked some important questions.

Such as height, weight, age, medical history and more as part of your treatment assessment. This information helps the physicians and medical staff to prepare your treatment plan. It is important to disclose all information that is requested to ensure a smooth treatment administration.

Ketamine infusions are typically administered on an outpatient basis.

The medication is administered through an IV, and the session lasts between 40-50 minutes.

The environment you encounter during your treatment can have a large impact on your experience of the infusion.

Although it does not affect the treatment outcome, some patients do struggle with anxiety or fright as the drug takes effect. Your physician may lower the lights or take other measures to make the setting more comfortable. You might also choose some relaxing music to help you through the onset phase.

The medication will then be administered through an IV.

Usually inserted into the arm, wrist, or hand. Little pain is involved because the needle is injected very near the surface of the skin. As the ketamine is delivered at the correct dosage, your blood pressure, pulse, and oxygen saturation are all monitored.

You will feel the effects of the ketamine very quickly.

Although you remain aware of the immediate surroundings, you will be unable to do basic things like stand up or hold a normal conversation.

Anxiety and Depression Counseling and Therapy - Southern California

During the first treatment and perhaps subsequent treatments, patients may experience dizziness, nausea, confusion, loss of appetite, sleeping problems, and even fatigue.

It can be difficult to stand or sit up during or after treatment. If you are receiving outpatient infusion therapy, it is important to have someone accompany you to transport you home after your treatment. A complete list of possible side effects will be provided to you prior to your treatment session. If you experience any side effects, let your doctor know right away.

You may also improve your infusion experience by cultivating the right mindset and emotional state before entering treatment.

Although the side effects are not severe, there is no harm in eliminating as many as you can. Learning how the treatment works can go a long way toward overcoming any anxieties you might have. Also, trust that you have chosen a physician with the training and experience to guide you safely through the process. On a final note, be aware that neither the sensation of treatment nor your mental state during the process meaningfully impacts the therapeutic outcome of the treatment. Research suggests that the depression and anxiety relief arise from long-term physical and chemical changes that take place in the brain in response to the ketamine—not the experience or sensation. This means you will still benefit even if you have some apprehension about the process.

Contact Neuro Wellness Spa

For over 20 years, we have been helping people in Southern California live healthier, more productive lives. Contact us today to learn more about ketamine therapy, or visit one of our locations for an in-person consultation. 

Have unanswered questions or wish to request a consultation?

Give us a call – Our phones are available 7 days a week!

 

1-877-847-3984