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How Safe is Ketamine Therapy?

October 26, 2022

How Safe is Ketamine Therapy?

Ketamine therapy has been proven in a wide range of scientific studies to be a safe and effective treatment for many varying mental health concerns. You may have questions about how psychedelic assisted therapy will impact your brain—what are the side effects? Could I become addicted? Is ketamine therapy safer or riskier than traditional medication therapy? Let’s take a look at what science has to say about the risks and rewards of ketamine therapy and how Field Trip Health can make your Ketamine Assisted Therapy journey safe, effective, and worthwhile.

What Are the Benefits of Ketamine Therapy Compared to Traditional Approaches?

When dosed appropriately by qualified practitioners in a clinical setting, ketamine therapy is both safe and effective. In fact, ketamine has a better safety profile and fewer side effects than traditional medications for behavioral health. A recent randomized controlled trial found that ketamine provides a greater antidepressant effect than traditional anti-anxiety medications without the expected side effects of that drug class, and several recent studies have suggested that Ketamine provides faster results with less post-treatment cognitive impairment than electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) – an alternative method of treatment where a generalized seizure is electrically created to change brain chemistry and therefore manage stubborn mental disorders. In addition to providing relief faster and with fewer side effects than traditional medication, ketamine therapy is a long-term solution rather than a quick fix to mental health concerns. Ketamine has the unique power to strengthen connections between regions of the brain that may have been weakened by depression or PTSD, and this powerful rebalancing of the brain’s neurochemistry can transform the way you approach the world. Even a few sessions of Ketamine therapy can lead to significant positive long-term effects such as improved memory, neurochemical balance, and the cognitive flexibility to approach negative thoughts and new challenges without falling into familiar unhealthy patterns.

Are There Any Risks to Ketamine Therapy?

Any psychotherapeutic approach comes with risks, and despite its strong safety profile, ketamine therapy is no exception—that’s why it’s important that your ketamine journey takes place in a safe and controlled environment guided by trained experts. You may have questions about the side effects associated with ketamine, and these are valid questions. During therapy, some feel bodily effects traditionally associated with the psychedelic experience, such as a dream-like state, double vision, euphoria, and mild nausea. Don’t worry—these feelings are all part of your journey, and trained medical experts will be with you every step of the way to ensure your physical and mental wellness and to offer medication management if you experience side effects during therapy. You may also have questions about the risk of dependence or addiction associated with psychedelic therapy. You may have heard that in an uncontrolled setting, ketamine comes with some potential for addiction. However, in the safe and controlled clinical setting of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy, the risk of addiction or dependence is minimal. In fact, ketamine is often used in the clinical setting as an effective tool to treat substance-abuse disorders and combat addiction! We strongly believe that the benefits you’ll gain from ketamine therapy far outweigh the risks, and these benefits are backed by strong and consistent scientific research.

How Field Trip Health Ensures a Safe and Effective Experience 

To maximize the benefits and reduce the risks of Ketamine Assisted Therapy, it’s important that your set and setting are optimal with the support of our expert medical and mental health staff. The medical team at Field Trip are professionally trained and licensed practitioners including experienced physicians, psychiatrists, registered psychotherapists, and licensed nurse practitioners. Alongside our medical experts, our therapeutic team consists of psychotherapists and licensed social workers who are specially trained in working with psychedelics. You will have the support of the therapeutic team at every step on your journey. 

Your program will be specially curated for you and your needs. Our trained experts will craft a personalized dosing plan based on your comfort level, medical history, and medication sensitivity to ensure that your experience is optimized and your side effects and risk of dependence are minimized. A medical provider will be present during your ketamine exploration session to safely administer your treatment, monitor your vital signs and blood pressure, and ensure your safety. Side effects are generally mild and resolve quickly, but our experts will be on hand to offer medication to manage any side effects you may experience during treatment. 

All of your ketamine exploration sessions will take place in a clinic designed specifically to facilitate healing, with tools like zero-gravity chairs, weighted blankets, and curated playlists, to help immerse you in the experience. This safe and secure environment will allow you to focus on your healing journey with the confidence that your body and mind are being cared for by our qualified team. 

How Can I Get Started with Ketamine Therapy?

Field Trip has clinics throughout the US and Canada, and our experts can help you build a personalized treatment plan to begin your journey toward healing. 

To get in touch with any questions or to book your medical consultation, schedule an appointment online or give us a call:

  • 1-888-519-6016 (USA)
  • 1-833-222-0084 (Canada)

Drozdz SJ, Goel A, McGarr MW, Katz J, Ritvo P, Mattina GF, Bhat V, Diep

C, Ladha KS. Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy: A Systematic Narrative

Review of the Literature. J Pain Res. 2022 Jun 15;15:1691-1706. doi:

10.2147/JPR.S360733. PMID: 35734507; PMCID: PMC9207256.

This systematic narrative review of recent studies discussing Ketamine-

Assisted Psychotherapy concludes that psychotherapy maximizes and

prolongs the benefits of ketamine therapy sessions in a variety of

psychiatric indications. The seventeen studies included in this review found

Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy to provide rapid, significant benefits to

patients with PTSD, Major Depressive Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive

Disorder, Bipolar Disorder, Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Attention-

Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, as well as substance abuse disorders. Both

psychotherapy and ketamine therapy have independently shown efficacy in

the treatment of psychological disorders, and the combination of both

approaches has been demonstrated to be more effective than either

treatment alone. The reviewed studies concluded that psychedelic

experiences facilitate psychotherapy by increasing patient-clinician rapport,

reducing defensiveness, and encouraging the restructuring of traumatic

memories. Each study approached ketamine administration differently, but

all emphasized the importance of setting realistic goals and positive

expectations before initiation of therapy, supervision and guidance of

therapy by experts trained to ensure patient safety and evoke psychological

insight, and encouragement by the psychotherapist to accept and integrate

the insights discovered during ketamine therapy. Additional large-scale

randomized control trials are needed to better understand the relationship

between psychotherapy and ketamine, to optimize patient responsiveness

to treatment, and to standardize practices and maintenance programs.