HOW DO I PREPARE FOR MY FIRST KETAMINE SESSION?
Preparation for Nushama’s 6-session ketamine program occurs well in advance. We’ll provide you with guidance on how to cultivate a positive mindset, like avoiding news or alcohol, the weeks leading up to your journey.
Our clinicians will also help you set clear intentions and provide guidelines for a safe and meaningful first experience. When preparing, it is important to know that if you do not feel ready at any point, you can let your provider know and we will support you the best we can until you are ready.
WHAT CONDITIONS WOULD PREVENT ME FROM RECEIVING KETAMINE TREATMENT?
If you are experiencing any of the following conditions you will not be able to receive a ketamine infusion:
- Uncontrolled high blood pressure (hypertension)
- Unstable heart disease (arrhythmias, congestive heart failure, chest pain etc.)
- Untreated thyroid disease
- Active substance abuse
- Active manic phase of bipolar disorder
- Active delusions and hallucination symptoms (not on medications or while taking street drugs)
DO I NEED A REFERRAL FROM MY PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN?
No, you do not need a referral to receive ketamine treatment for mental health conditions. You may come to us directly, and the medical team will review your intake information, conduct a psychiatric evaluation, and confirm that you’re medically fit for treatment before moving forward.
We will, however, ask permission to speak with your therapist or healthcare provider during our screening process. Any licensed mental health care professional or physician can also refer you.
HOW LONG IS EACH SESSION?
While each person’s experience varies, a psychedelic ketamine journey lasts about 45-60 minutes. You’ll start to feel the effects 10-15 minutes after the ketamine is administered. The peak experience lasts about 30-45 minutes. Most people return to their ordinary level of awareness within 1-2 hours following administration.
HOW MANY TREATMENT SESSIONS ARE REQUIRED?
Most of the clinical research with ketamine has involved people who receive the treatments twice a week for 3 weeks (6 ketamine sessions total). However, at Nushama we are exploring the potential of fewer sessions with increased support in the form of group sessions, or with wellness protocols throughout the treatment period.
If you are curious about how ketamine’s effects can be increased with supporting modalities, read What is Psychedelic Integration Therapy?
WHAT DO THE PSYCHEDELIC EFFECTS OF KETAMINE FEEL LIKE?
The effects from a psychedelic dose of ketamine are usually felt within 10 to 15 minutes but every person has a slightly different experience. Paticipants may experience:
- Deep relaxation
- Calm sensation
- Heaviness in the body
- Visual patterns and colors
- Separation from usual states of thinking
- Sense of being awake but on a different plane of consciousness
- Separation from the body
- Limited verbal expression
- People, places, or events from their past
Since some of these experiences in an altered state may be novel, they can be frightening or challenging if you are not prepared. Therefore we review the range of possibilities with each person.
CAN I RECEIVE KETAMINE TREATMENT WHILE ON ANTIDEPRESSANTS?
Yes. Ketamine does not have negative medication interactions with antidepressants and does not interfere with their effectiveness at the subanesthetic doses used to treat depression and anxiety.
To learn more, read Ketamine vs. SSRIs to Treat Depression
WHAT MEDICATIONS SHOULD I AVOID?
You should not stop any medications without consulting with your perscribing mental health provider. Any modifications to your medication will be discussed during your medical intake before being cleared for treatment.
But, generally, these are some medications that can effect your response to ketamine:
- Stimulants (Adderall, Concerta, Ritalin, Vyvanse)
WILL I HAVE A “BAD TRIP”?
Studies have shown the likelihood of a challenging experience is very low when two conditions are met: a positive mindset going into the experience and a comfortable physical environment. However, even when someone reports having a “bad trip”, with the right integration support afterwards, the insights gleaned from those difficult experiences often end up being some of the most valuable take aways from the treatment. To learn more, read 3 Ways to Mitigate the Risks of Ketamine.