Have you or a loved one suffered from a traumatic event that led to a PTSD diagnosis? What approaches have you made to treat the diagnosis? Since there are currently only a few options for treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), such as psychotherapy and antidepressant medications, novel therapies are gaining attention from researchers and healthcare professionals. About one-third of individuals with chronic pain also have concomitant PTSD, which makes their pharmaceutical regimens much more difficult. Low-dose ketamine infusion has demonstrated promise in the treatment of CP and PTSD.

Ketamine has been the subject of extensive research at numerous universities in the US and overseas, and it has a 75% success rate as a treatment. Infusions of ketamine administered like a vaccine to people about to enter an environment likely to result in significant stressors, such as soldiers entering combat or aid workers entering a disaster area, were found to prevent or reduce PTSD symptoms in a recent study at Columbia University.

In the following article, we will take a closer look at the ins and outs of PTSD and ketamine’s good use as the go-to medication to decrease PTSD’s effect on individuals.

Table of Content

What is PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a significant mental health condition affecting millions of men, women, and children, most of whom have never experienced war or front-line combat conditions. We link PTSD with depressed American combat veterans. It is possible to treat negative thoughts, difficulty sleeping and relieving upsetting memories symptoms with treatment or medicine, including ketamine and medications derived from it. Doctors frequently adapt the treatment to each patient’s particular needs.

Given the numerous military conflicts worldwide and the traumas experienced by civilians, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) continues to grab headlines, and its progression seems to be upward steadily. 

Symptoms of PTSD

The symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) include:

  • Persistent, bothersome unpleasant dreams.
  • Dissociative reactions like flashbacks.
  • Reactions to internal or external signals that represent or mimic a part of a terrible event that the person has experienced.

An actual or threatened occurrence of a fatality, a catastrophic injury, or a sexual assault that affects a person, a close friend, or a family member can also qualify as a traumatic event. Individuals frequently try to avoid circumstances where they can be internally reminded of the trauma by controlling thoughts, memories, and emotions or externally by preventing persons, places, conversations, and events that can trigger memories of the traumatic incident in response to these symptoms. Additionally, they could show adjustments in memory development. As an illustration, individuals might exhibit selective amnesia, which is the inability to recall particulars about the trauma unrelated to external factors like substance abuse and physical trauma. Patients may also experience changes in emotional reactivity, such as irritability, self-destructive behavior, hypervigilance, and sleep disturbances.

According to some experts, a lack of synaptic connection may be the root of the symptoms of PTSD. The stress that PTSD sufferers encounter may compromise the synaptic relationship, mediated mainly by glutamate. Given the significance of glutamate synapses in these neural circuits, it’s feasible that ketamine use could improve synaptic connection in these circuits, ultimately counteracting the effects of stress. Other investigations have looked into whether ketamine use as a preventative measure may prevent the emergence of stress-related diseases.

Several PTSD Medications

Cognitive behavioral therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy is the field in which most PTSD treatments are found (CBT). The goal is to alter the negative mental processes that interfere with your life. We can accomplish CBT by discussing your trauma or focusing on the source of your concerns.

Depending on your circumstances, group or family therapy may be better than individual counseling.

Cognitive Processing Therapy

CPT is a 12-week treatment program that entails weekly sessions that last 60 to 90 minutes. The therapist will discuss traumatic occurrences with you and how they affected your life due to your ideas about them. After that, you’ll describe what happened in great detail. This method assists you in examining the mental models of your trauma and developing new coping mechanisms.

 Prolonged Exposure Therapy

PE will assist you in facing things that have made you think of the traumatic experience. There are eight to fifteen sessions, with most lasting 90 minutes.

Your therapist will teach you breathing exercises early in treatment to reduce your anxiety as you reflect on what happened. You’ll later compile a list of things you’ve been putting off & learn how to confront them one at a time. You’ll tell your therapist about the traumatic event at a subsequent appointment, after which you’ll go home and listen to a recording of yourself.

Medications (ketamine for PTSD)

The chemical in your brain associated with fear and anxiety is affected by various medicines. Most often, doctors will begin with drugs that affect serotonin or norepinephrine (SSRIs and SNRIs), such as:

  • Fluoxetine (Prozac)
  • Paroxetine (Paxil)
  • Sertraline (Zoloft)
  • Venlafaxine (Effexor)

Only paroxetine and sertraline have received FDA approval for the treatment of PTSD. Your doctor may also prescribe other “off-label” medications because everyone’s PTSD is distinct, and everyone responds to meds differently. (This indicates that the manufacturer didn’t request the FDA review studies of the drug’s effectiveness for treating PTSD in particular.)

Studies also found that when used at lower levels than those used for anesthesia, ketamine, typically employed in anesthesia, has a noticeable impact on the symptoms of PTSD. According to research, people with severe depression and PTSD see a reduction in anxiety and gloomy mood after one infusion.

How does ketamine help PTSD?

People use ketamine as a general anesthesia substitute. It causes the Thalamo-neocortical and limbic circuits to “dissociate.” We believe this separation to be both electrophysiological and functional in origin. The N-methyl-D-aspartate-type glutamate (NMDA) receptor is the site of ketamine’s antagonistic activity. Recently, scientists are doing more research on it because it might have an antidepressant effect (it treats depression). High NMDA receptor activity may be a risk factor for developing PTSD because NMDA receptor activation increases the formation of spontaneous intrusive memories (depressive or anxious). Ketamine may be a promising drug that lessens PTSD symptoms because it works as an antagonist to the NMDA receptor.

Feder and associates conducted a human double-blind, randomized controlled experiment with 41 persistent PTSD patients. 15 participants underwent a 2-week washout period from psychotropic medications before assigning to either IV ketamine or midazolam treatments utilizing a crossover approach. The infusion sequence was random, and doctors administered the doses two weeks apart. Following administration, We take the electrocardiography, pulse, blood pressure readings, and pulse oximetry. Scientists observed the response both during and periodically during the following infusion.

Scientists used the Impact of Event Scale-Revised to measure the primary outcome: the severity of PTSD symptoms 24 hours after the injection (IES-R). Compared to midazolam, the researchers discovered that ketamine dramatically enhanced IES-R scores. Compared to one patient who received midazolam initially, seven patients who received ketamine first continued to show considerable improvement at two weeks. Notably after research, Scientists connected ketamine to a reduction in comorbid depressive symptoms. This result is crucial since negative thought patterns and anhedonia are common PTSD symptoms. Furthermore, PTSD and MDD frequently co-occur.

Safety of ketamine for PTSD

As with any unique medicine use, it’s crucial to look into any side effects that can have negative repercussions. Ketamine is a restricted chemical that may be addictive; Its nature can cause a brief dissociative state and has historically been regarded as assisting or worsening PTSD.

According to one study, ketamine-treated patients were more likely to develop PTSD. Schoenberg and associates looked into how giving accident victims ketamine may impact their PTSD symptoms. Accident victims’ ratings of sensations, including dissociation, re-experiencing, avoidance, and hyperarousal, were used to gauge their PTSD symptoms. The Peritraumatic Dissociative Experiences Questionnaire was used to retrospectively assess 56 accident victims for acute stress disorder and for PTSD symptoms that appeared a year after the accident. During the ambulance ride, 20 patients received single or fractionated doses of racemic ketamine, or opioids.

Patients who administered S-ketamine had more acute symptoms, such as avoidance considerably, re-experiencing, and dissociation. Racemic ketamine recipients were shown to have only marginally more severe acute symptoms. Notably, they discovered that patients who got ketamine had considerably worse PTSD symptoms than those who received racemic ketamine or opioids. Those who got racemic ketamine did not experience any significant long-term side effects. According to the authors, administering ketamine soon after a traumatic event can result in excessive stimulation of the stress-induced glutamate receptors, exacerbating dissociation symptoms and amalgamating traumatic memories. S-ketamine and racemic ketamine had different symptomologies, which was interesting. This outcome would suggest that S-ketamine and its enantiomers cause the undesirable psychedelic effects of ketamine.

Do You need help in fighting PTSD?!

Millions of people have PTSD, and should control we before they become fatal or incapacitating. Consult our qualified specialists if you have any of its symptoms, and you may discuss the most effective treatment choices, such as using ketamine infusion or nasal spray. 

Reach out now and schedule your appointment!