Ketamine Treatment for Anxiety in Southern California
Approximately one-third to one-half of patients with anxiety disorders do not experience adequate clinical benefit from standard interventions. Intravenous (IV) Ketamine therapy is a safe and effective treatment for anxiety that works rapidly. As a leading IV Ketamine treatment provider, Neuro Wellness Spa has helped countless patients struggling with anxiety and anxiety-related disorders at our facilities located around Los Angeles, CA.
IV ketamine therapy is coordinated by Dr. Martha Koo, Neuro Wellness Spa’s Founder and 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 anxiety.
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 those who struggle with treatment refractory depression, suicidality, chronic pain and anxiety disorders including:
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
- Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)
- Panic Disorder
- Pot Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Phobias and Phobia-Related Disorders
IV ketamine particularly effective for those who have tried standard treatments but haven’t responded adequately. Unlike prescription medications that can take weeks or months to exert their full effects, ketamine infusions act rapidly and most patients experience noticeable relief after their first infusion. Patients treated with IV ketamine for anxiety may also be able to reduced or eliminate their dependency on prescription medication to manage their symptoms. The may also find that they are able to make greater progress in therapy or in adapting other lifestyle changes needed to help keep anxiety at bay. Maintenance or follow up infusions are usually done on an as-needed basis, so patients often will not need to repeat an entire protocol.
How Is Anxiety Treated with IV Ketamine Therapy?
Traditionally, anxiety is treated with talk therapy and serotonergic and/or GABAergic medications. For example,
- SNRI’s (selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors)
- SSRI’s (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors)
- Atypical serotonin agents (mirtazapine, buspirone)
- Benzodiazepines (clonazepam, lorazepam)
If medications and nonpharmacological interventions haven’t provided satisfactory relief, IV Ketamine therapy is an alternative treatment option for anxiety.
When used to treat anxiety disorders, ketamine is administered through an IV at a much lower dose than is necessary for anesthesia. The dose of ketamine used in your treatment depends on your body weight: 0.5mg ketamine/kg body weight.
Each ketamine infusion lasts about 40 minutes, after which patients should have someone available to accompany them home safely. During the infusion, patients recline in a treatment chair surrounded by a calm, quiet and experientially safe environment. Ketamine is delivered at a slow and controlled dose and a registered nurse accompanies each patient for the duration of the infusion to monitor blood pressure, pulse and oxygen saturation. Patients do not experience any respiratory effects during or after the treatment.
Typically, patients receive 8-12 ketamine infusions over the course of 3-4 weeks. Most patients experience positive results from ketamine after their first infusion. Subsequent infusions help prolong the positive effects.
So how does IV ketamine treatment for anxiety work?
Ketamine works in several ways at the same time, many of which are still being studied.
Research has shown that ketamine stimulates brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) and the growth of neurons in the brain. In patients treated with IV ketamine therapy, researchers have observed increased synaptic connections. Ketamine is known to stimulate the growth of neurons in as little as one hour. This neuronal growth and increased neuronal interconnectivity relieve symptoms of anxiety.
In 2016, the Society for Neuroscience published a major breakthrough explaining how ketamine causes new nerve cells to mature extremely quickly in the hippocampus. Dr. John Krystal, MD, the chief psychiatrist at Yale Medicine, even called this drug a “game changer”.
Ketamine also improves neural activation, or communication between brain cells by working as an NMDA receptor antagonist. This neuronal growth and increased neuronal interconnectivity have been shown to improve mood and cognition.
Medications like Valium, for example, only provide anti-anxiety effects for as long as the drug is in the system. Once Valium wears off, the symptoms of anxiety will typically return. With ketamine, on the other hand, the drug triggers a biological reaction in the cortex that allows the brain’s connections to regrow. Therefore, it’s the brain’s reaction to the drug that provides relief, rather than the drug itself.
Ketamine also may also work in other ways. For example, it might reduce signals involved in inflammation, which has been linked to mood disorders.
What Is Anxiety?
For the average person, anxiety is a typical and healthy emotion. For instance, it is normal to experience nervousness before a test or job interview. Disproportionate levels of anxiety, however, are medical disorders. They are categorized by excessive worry, nervousness, apprehension, obsessions, sleep disturbance and fear.
These disorders influence how one behaves and processes emotions. They can also cause physical symptoms such as skin rashes, gastrointestinal discomfort and migraines. Anxiety comes in many different forms. Mild cases can be intermittent and cause slight discomfort. More severe cases can be debilitating and prevent normal day-to-day life.
There can be many contributing factors to anxiety and some common causes include:
- Environmental stressors (work, relationship, or family problems)
- Symptoms of a different disease
- Side effects of a medication
- Withdrawal from illicit substances
Those with anxiety respond to treatment differently. Some are helped with medications. Others benefit from traditional therapy.
There are many cases of treatment-resistant anxiety. These occur when symptoms do not respond to the typical treatment options. In such cases more novel therapeutic interventions should be considered. IV Ketamine therapy is known for helping relieve treatment-resistant anxiety.
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America presents informative statistics regarding anxiety. In the U.S., anxiety is one of the most common mental disorders. Every year, anxiety disorders affect approximately 18% of adults. Anxiety is treatable, but only 36.9% of sufferers seek treatment.
Traditional medications do not work for everyone. 30-40% of patients with anxiety won’t achieve remission with medications.
If traditional medications work at all, they may take 6-12 weeks to relieve anxiety. With IV Ketamine therapy, patients may experience improvements within 24 hours of their first treatment session. This improvement wanes over the subsequent 24-48 hours, but as the IV ketamine protocol continues, symptom relief is sustained.
Signs & Symptoms of Anxiety
What are the signs and symptoms of anxiety?
- Decreased cognition
- Avoidant behavior
- Lack of self-confidence
- Suicidal thoughts
Physical symptoms are also common:
- Sweaty palms
- Shaky voice
- Muscle tension
- Disrupted sleep patterns
- Heart palpitations
- Difficulty breathing
- Excessive sweating
Depending on the severity of symptoms, anxiety can be debilitating and severely disruptive to day-to-day life.
How Does This Therapy 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 to treat mood and chronic pain is much lower. Delivered at a slow and controlled rate, IV ketamine is very safe and well-tolerated. During a ketamine infusion, patients remain aware of their surroundings and experience a deep relaxation. Your clinician may lower the lights, offer an eye mask or aromatherapy, or take other measures to make the setting more comfortable.
Some patients may experience dissociation, perceptual disturbances or nausea. Generally, any changes in perception or dissociation dissipate very quickly after the infusion. However, many patients report that feelings of dissociation experienced during the infusion can help them develop an objective perspective about past experiences.
Contact Neuro Wellness Spa
If you are interested in learning more about IV ketamine treatment for anxiety, contact our expert care team here in Los Angeles today. The first step is always a no-cost consultation with one of our psychiatrists who will review your medical records, discuss your needs and preferences, and help you decide whether IV ketamine therapy may be an effective treatment for you.
Call us at 1-877-847-3984 or fill out our contact form to begin your initial consultation.
For more information about the services we offer or whether IV Ketamine for Anxiety is covered by your insurance provider, contact us today.
What Our Patients Are Saying
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Within just a couple of weeks of TMS treatment, my life started to turn around. I felt in more control of my emotions and that led to better life decisions & a healthier lifestyle.John
Incredible Progress In A Short Amount Of Time
My life has completely changed with ketamine therapy. My therapist even said she had never seen such incredible progress in such a short amount of time.Shannon
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IV nutrition has been a game changer and a great way to start my week. I love how I instantly have more focus, energy and I feel like I can tackle anything.Amber
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Spent decades on meds that weren’t right for me. Took the genetic test, learned about what would work for me and got the RIGHT meds. Has made such a difference for me.Jean
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