Ketamine infusion is a medical procedure delivered through an IV. If you have ever received IV fluids or medications before, you know what to expect. The most painful part tends to be insertion of the needle, but once inserted you shouldn’t feel any pain. The medication may feel cold as it enters your bloodstream. In addition to receiving an IV, we monitor your vitals with noninvasive equipment that simply sits on your finger for the duration of the procedure.
Here’s what you can expect during your ketamine infusion appointment:
- Consultation about dosage and treatment duration: Your treatment specialist will review your medical records and ask you about your medical history. They will base dosage and treatment duration on your weight to achieve an appropriate rate of uptake. Treatment usually lasts just under an hour.
- Patient privacy: You will receive treatment in a private room. If you want, you can have a relative or your therapist in the room with you. We recommend that your guests avoid conversing with you unless you initiate conversation. To create a calming atmosphere, lights are generally dim and you may opt for quiet music. The procedure does not require you to get undressed. We only need access to your arm in order to administer the IV and monitor your vital signs.
- A relaxing experience: The clinic is designed to help you have a relaxing experience during ketamine infusion.
Side Effects of Ketamine Infusion
Given ketamine’s other treatment applications as an anesthetic, and non-treatment uses as a recreational drug, patients are well within reason to ask what the side effects are going to be. It’s important to remember that we use a very small dosage compared to these other uses. You won’t be unconscious, and your experience won’t resemble a “trip.”
In this clinical setting using proper ketamine infusion methods, you can expect to feel deep relaxation. Physically, you’ll be quite sedated, so you will have to remain still. Some patients experience fatigue after treatment, so it’s a good idea to have a ride home planned.
Dizziness and nausea occur with some patients, especially those who tend to react to medications this way. Your doctor can administer anti-nausea medication before or during ketamine treatment to mitigate these side effects.
Dissociation should be a familiar term to sufferers of post-traumatic stress or chronic pain. Talk to your therapist about the possibility of experiencing dissociation, and how it makes you feel to not be in control of your body. One benefit of dissociation is it tends to remove you from feelings of fear or anxiety, so that you are able to look at the situation as an objective observer. Most people relax and let their minds wander without fear.
People with anxiety disorders have good reason to fear, well, fear itself. Ketamine infusion does not cause a fearful state of mind. You’re more likely to experience fear if you bring it into the room with you. Know that you are safe in the treatment room and remind yourself that no matter how you feel during treatment, the true benefits of ketamine infusion therapy are felt after treatment. We will monitor you during treatment and help if you need anything adjusted.
The truth is, most patients find the ketamine infusion session pleasant. The opportunity to relax and remove yourself from sensations of pain, both mental and physical, is welcomed. It’s not a high, nor is it meant to be. The goal of ketamine infusion is to empower you to achieve outcomes in ongoing therapy for depression, anxiety, PTSD, and chronic pain.