*The FDA has not approved intravenous ketamine or NAD+ for the treatment of any psychiatric or pain condition. These articles reference off-label use. Like all medical treatments, the discussed therapies carry risks and benefits. Speak with a doctor at Clarus Health to learn if these therapies may be right for you.

Ketamine Therapy
Mar 12, 2024

Cautions of Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP)

Learn the critical differences between IV Ketamine Therapy and Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP)

Cautions of Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP)

Many of my patients suffer from treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, PTSD, and addiction. Unfortunately, many patients are understandably confused by the many advertised Ketamine Therapy options. IV Ketamine infusion therapy differs significantly from Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) and here's what all prospective patients should know.

Understanding Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP)

Ketamine allows for accessing a deep, often subconscious healing potential in humans. Many clinics and providers have tried to combine psychotherapy with less poignant forms of Ketamine Therapy, most commonly in the form of oral Ketamine (sublingual trochees). This is based on historical experience of combing psychotherapy with psychedelics like MDMA and psilocybin. These traditional psychedelic-assisted psychotherapies are fundamentally different than the IV Ketamine experience, which has over 20 years of evidence in effectively treating resistant conditions like depression, PTSD, anxiety, and chronic pain.

The Distinct Nature of Ketamine Compared to MDMA and Psilocybin

MDMA and psilocybin (the psychoactive component in "magic mushrooms") show promise, but remain illegal and, importantly, are fundamentally different from Ketamine. The theory behind KAP is rooted in the belief that during a ketamine-induced state of dissociation, patients can undergo an introspective journey, guided by therapy and integration, purported to offer enlightenment and healing.

However, this belief is hotly contested. Ketamine's therapeutic effect may not rely on a psychedelic "trip" but rather its ability to stimulate neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity refers to dendritic and synaptic growth among neurons, facilitating a healing process that often begins hours after treatment. This process may be independent of the patient's experiences during the therapy session.

Concerns with Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy

Inducing a "dissociative" experience, or a psychedelic trip, with KAP can raise concerns in patients with PTSD. The dissociative state may not be necessary for Ketamine's efficacy and could potentially trigger unwelcome and distressing flashbacks. Though many find the mild dissociative experience of intravenous Ketamine Therapy pleasant, it's crucial to have the option to tailor the experience, a level of control not available with oral, nasal, or intramuscular administration. These highly advertised forms of Ketamine delivery do not allow for real-time adjustments by the physician, potentially leaving the patient's mental journey unchecked.

It's crucial to have the option to tailor the experience, a level of control not available with oral, nasal, or intramuscular Ketamine administration

Furthermore, when using IV Ketamine to address the root causes of PTSD, the Stellate Ganglion Block can also be used to reduce distressing symptoms.

The Importance of Choice and Experience in Ketamine Therapy

Choosing the right provider for Ketamine Therapy is paramount. Your doctor's understanding of Ketamine’s biological mechanism, their medical training, therapeutic intentions, and their method of administration significantly influence the safety, comfort, and effectiveness of your Ketamine Therapy. I highly recommend prospective patients read my guide to researching Ketamine clinics.

With years of experience and thousands of successful treatments, IV Ketamine Therapy is a powerful tool to uncover our innate healing capacity when struggling with treatment-resistant depression, PTSD, major mood disorders, and chronic pain. Its ability to be customized for each patient ensures respect of the patient’s mental and emotional well-being.

Finding Healing Through Ketamine Therapy

As the medical community continues to explore and understand the full potential of Ketamine Therapy, it's clear that the choice of treatment methodology should be informed by both scientific evidence and a compassionate approach to patient care. IV Ketamine Therapy, with its proven track record and adaptability, remains at the forefront of providing relief for those grappling with some of the most challenging mental health conditions. Schedule a free consultation with Clarus Health to learn if IV Ketamine Therapy may be effective in uncovering your healing capacity.

Anthony Kaveh MD

Anthony Kaveh MD

Dr. Kaveh is a Stanford and Harvard-trained anesthesiologist and integrative medicine specialist. He has over 800,000 followers on social media and has guided hundreds of patients throughout transformative healing experiences. He is an authority on Ketamine, NAD, and SGB therapies. He is a registered continuing education lecturer in the Bay Area.