Who is not a good candidate for ketamine therapy?

Are You a Good Candidate for Ketamine Therapy?


Ketamine therapy is currently at the forefront of psychiatric treatment. In the past few years alone, there have been several studies showing that this once-controversial treatment plan can be extremely helpful for the well-being of the patient. However, it’s important to keep in mind that ketamine is not for everyone. Just like many other types of medication, ketamine is only advisable in certain situations. Here’s how you can tell whether or not you’re a good candidate for the ketamine treatment option: learning the effects of ketamine, medical conditions to be considered, as well as the mental health conditions, especially if you or your loved ones have been diagnosed with mental health disorders .

An Overview of Ketamine Therapy

Ketamine is a type of dissociative drug that has been used in hospitals for decades. It’s a popular choice for anesthetic because it does not slow respiratory rates down as much as other types of anesthesia do. However, in modern times, researchers have started to discover another use for ketamine. Ketamine is becoming a popular choice for people with psychiatric disorders.

Ketamine is useful as a therapy due to the way it affects the neurotransmitters in the brain. It allows patients to get a degree of separation from their emotions, so many forms of ketamine infusion therapy involve taking the medication and going through guided exercises with a therapist. In this type of therapy, patients are encouraged to confront past traumas and consider maladaptive thought patterns. Research also suggests ketamine helps to reinvigorate the brain and encourage it to heal past damage and form new neural connections. Some people may get the benefits of ketamine simply by taking it regularly in a calm, secure environment.

When is Ketamine Therapy Prescribed?

The most common reason doctors prescribe ketamine therapy is for depression. Research has found that it can be one of the only things that provides relief when people are dealing with treatment-resistant depression. Another popular use of ketamine is during the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Many people report that ketamine can help them to address the things that trigger their PTSD attacks.

Due to its beneficial effects, ketamine can also provide assistance in a variety of other situations. Some people take it for anxiety disorders and panic attacks. Others use it to manage chronic pain or end-of-life distress. Ketamine therapy can also be quite useful for people with addiction. In addition to helping with substance abuse triggers, ketamine can also treat the depression and anxiety many people feel during recovery.

Reasons You Might Not Be a Good Candidate for Ketamine Therapy

While ketamine is certainly useful, it doesn’t work well for everyone as there are side effects of ketamine that need to be aware of. Ketamine therapy is not advisable if you’re dealing with one of these issues.

Poor Physical Health

To take ketamine, you need to be in decent physical health. Though ketamine is fairly safe, it can cause unexpected side effects in people dealing with hypertension, arrhythmias, aneurysms, or other cardiovascular issues. You’ll need to make sure your cardiovascular system is in good condition before you take ketamine. It can also worsen glaucoma, kidney disease, cardiovascular disease or heart conditions, urinary tract disorders, and liver disease. If you are prone to seizures or have a condition like epilepsy, ketamine is not recommended. Some research suggests ketamine may be unsafe in people who have elevated cerebrospinal fluid pressure.

Certain Psychiatric Conditions

Though ketamine can treat many psychiatric conditions like depression or symptoms of depression, it can worsen others. Ketamine therapy is not recommended for people with schizophrenia or other disorders that lead to psychosis. In these individuals, ketamine can trigger psychotic episodes. Ketamine is also inadvisable for those with severe bipolar disorder or other conditions that cause manic episodes.

A History of Substance Abuse

Ketamine may not be physically addictive, but the rush of dopamine it provides can be very tempting to people with substance use issues. Those who are dealing with severe addiction might find that they end up craving ketamine after therapy. This can lead to unsafe behavior like taking ketamine without medical supervision, so if you are already struggling with addiction, it’s best to avoid ketamine.

Certain Medications

Ketamine can interact poorly with certain medications that raise blood pressure or have a depressive effect on your system. If your current medications are like epinephrine, hydrocodone, alprazolam, or buprenorphine, ketamine is not advised. It can also affect certain antifungal medications and keep them from working properly. Some NMDA blockers, like memantine, can interact with ketamine and keep you from feeling the adverse reactions of the therapy. If you are taking any other drug or medicine, regardless of whether it’s prescribed or over-the-counter, you need to check with a medical professional or doctor before taking ketamine.

Not Being an Appropriate Age

If you are under 18 or over 65, it’s important to check with a healthcare provider before taking ketamine. Though ketamine is safe to use as an anesthetic in children, there are still concerns that taking it in therapeutic doses may cause issues for developing brains. Ketamine may also cause some potential issues for seniors. Though being older doesn’t automatically make ketamine unsafe, it does mean you might be more at risk for issues like high blood pressure. Only seniors in good physical health should try ketamine therapy.

Pregnancy or Breastfeeding

Ketamine is not advisable for people who are either pregnant or breastfeeding. There isn’t enough research to know whether or not ketamine can harm the development of an infant, and ketamine can enter the bloodstream and end up in breast milk. If you are pregnant or have a child you are breastfeeding, it’s usually best to wait until the infant is weaned before trying ketamine therapy. However, there may be some protective measures that you can try while breastfeeding, so make sure to consult with your doctor. In some rare cases, the benefits of therapy can outweigh potential challenges.

How to See Whether You Qualify for Ketamine Therapy

Ultimately, whether or not you can benefit from ketamine therapy is something that only a doctor can determine. To qualify for ketamine therapy, patients need to have a condition that can be treated by ketamine and not have any of the conditions that make ketamine therapy unsafe. If you’re considering this treatment, it’s a good idea to talk to your current doctor and ask about ketamine. They can help you see whether or not you meet the requirements for ketamine therapy.

It’s also useful to get input from a healthcare provider who offers ketamine therapy. They can provide even more details on the treatment and give you a detailed assessment. After carefully asking about your medical history or history of psychosis and doing a thorough examination, they can let you know if ketamine is right for you. Keep in mind that it is very important to be honest when getting an assessment for ketamine therapy. Your doctor can only give you the right recommendation if you’re upfront about any physical or mental health issues you have.

Alternatives to Ketamine Therapy

Even if ketamine use isn’t a good idea for you, there are still a lot of other highly effective treatments or alternative treatments to try. For people with depression and anxiety, there are a variety of antidepressants, such as fluoxetine, citalopram, sertraline, duloxetine, and bupropion, that can provide relief. Keep in mind that antidepressant and antianxiety medications come in many forms, so even if one hasn’t worked for you in the past, there’s a chance another might help.

If you’re interested in ketamine for addiction, you have many other medications and therapies to consider, too. Some people find treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing therapy to be just as effective as ketamine therapy. There are also certain medications, like buprenorphine and naloxone, that can help to manage cravings.If you’re interested in ketamine therapy or other similar treatments, MidHudson Addiction Recovery can help. Our substance use treatment center focuses on helping people find evidence-based care that suits their unique needs. We can help you discover whether ketamine is right for you and assist you with finding other treatment alternatives, too. Contact our team today to get started.

Reference section

  • https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/ketamine-for-treatment-resistant-depression-when-and-where-is-it-safe-202208092797
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4258981/
  • https://www.webmd.com/depression/features/what-does-ketamine-do-your-brain
  • https://www.camh.ca/en/health-info/mental-illness-and-addiction-index/antidepressant-medications
  • https://eliumhealth.com/who-is-not-a-good-candidate-for-ketamine-therapy/
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK541087/
  • https://reference.medscape.com/drug/ketalar-ketamine-343099
  • https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2529431/


Leave a Reply

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>