Ketamine therapy is one of the most interesting and unique forms of mental health treatment available today.
What are the modes of action of ketamine?
Ketamine has two modes of action that provide benefits to the user: the physiological effects and the psychedelic effects. Ketamine therapy has been shown to have long-lasting antidepressant effects, help people overcome difficult emotional problems, and reduce the negative impact of stress on mental health.
When seeking treatment with a medication such as ketamine, it is important to determine which effects are most important for you to achieve, and how you can get the most out of treatment.
Ketamine is a powerful modulator of neural activity and neuroplastic promoter, blocking the activity of glutamate on the NMDA receptor to produce both short-term and long-term effects in the brain.
Ketamine’s antidepressant properties are thought to come from its ability to increase synaptic plasticity and neuronal growth in the prefrontal cortex hippocampus, and other regions of the brain via upregulation of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).
These effects of ketamine on glutamate also produce indirect effects on dopamine via upregulation of tyrosine hydroxylase, the rate-limiting enzyme responsible for the production of dopamine throughout the brain.
This combination of physiological effects makes ketamine a great choice for treatment since the effects are rapid-acting and long-lasting.
While the physiological effects of ketamine appear to be responsible for the efficacy of this drug in treating mental disorders, ketamine also produces psychedelic effects that can be harnessed to make treatment even more effective.
Unlike typical psychotropic medications used in the treatment of depressive, stress and mood disorders, ketamine produces a short period of an expanded state of consciousness (psychedelic effect) that facilitates the healthy processing of thoughts and emotions.
Entering the psychedelic state allows the patient to take a step back from the typical emotional response of past trauma, giving them the space, they need to reapproach and form new perspectives on these matters.
Ketamine also has potent effects on emotional processing, with studies showing that it can reduce fear memories and addictive habits by decreasing activity in the amygdala.
While it is difficult to individually quantify the exact impact of the physiological vs. the psychedelic effects of ketamine on the outcome of treatment, it is clear that there is a synergistic effect.
Therefore, it is important to consider the route of administration as well as the set and setting of treatment in order to maximize the benefits.
This means that ketamine treatment will produce physiological benefits under various conditions of administration, mental state, and place of treatment, but the maximal benefits may not be achieved due to neglect of the psychedelic experience.
It is theorized that the psychedelic state produced by ketamine gives the patient cognitive control over the physiological effects of treatment. As a physiological activator of neuroplasticity ketamine evokes a physical brain state that reduces negative emotional biases and facilitates long-term healing.
The psychedelic state can then be harnessed as a tool to direct the healing process towards specific neural pathways by which an individual can utilize the enhanced access to his/her subconscious and approach his/her thoughts, actions, and feelings from a more objective point of view.
In this way, harnessing the psychedelic effects of ketamine treatment can be thought of as building a foundation for behavioral changes and healthy coping mechanisms, whereby objectively working through issues produces lasting neuroplastic changes to the pathway that make the objective state more easily accessible in the future.
In future articles, we will discuss how the route of administration, set, and setting affects the psychedelic quality of ketamine treatment.
Finding a Professional in Ketamine Therapy in NYC
If you are considering ketamine therapy, it is important to work with a qualified provider who can help you understand the potential risks and benefits of treatment.
Ketamine therapy is not right for everyone, but for some people, it can be a life-changing treatment.
Consult Valhalla Vitality for a Personalized Diagnosis and Treatment.
Please call us at 516-550-3625 to learn more about our services or schedule an appointment today.
To learn more about ketamine infusion therapy, call Valhalla Vitality.
Author: Philip D’Agostino
CEO – Valhalla Vitality