Pain is subjective and means different things to everyone. While how you handle physical or psychological pain is distinct from everyone else, all pain has one thing in common: all pain is real. Another certainty is that pain and other health conditions can be treated by different means, including ketamine infusion.
What is Ketamine?
Ketamine is a powerful sedative that’s been around since the early 1960s. Originally synthesized as an anesthetic, it became popular after field trials in Vietnam to treat wounded U.S. combat troops. Besides its ability to sedate a patient before surgery, ketamine offers psychedelic or mild dissociative benefits – creating a temporary out-of-body experience and detachment from reality. Because of this, it’s also used to treat symptoms of mental illness and certain physical pain conditions. Today, it’s mostly dispensed via infusion therapy, where a needle is inserted into a vein in your arm or hand.
Conditions That Can Be Treated With Ketamine Infusion
Medical and psychiatric professionals have been using ketamine infusion to treat a wide range of conditions since the medicine received approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1970.
Healthcare professionals and mental healthcare specialists often use the term mood disorder to describe a range of bipolar disorders and types of depression, specifically:
- Major depression, where you feel sad or hopeless or aren’t interested in doing things that used to bring enjoyment. Symptoms lasting two weeks or longer may indicate depression.
- Dysthymia, or chronic, low-grade depression, with irritable mood lasting for at least two years.
- Bipolar disorder, featuring alternating episodes of depression and mania or elevated moods.
- Any mood disorder linked to another health condition, like cancer, injuries, contagions, and chronic illnesses.
- Any substance-induced mood disorder related to the side effects of medicine, drugs, alcohol, toxic exposure, or other kinds of treatment.
Anxiety disorders often treated by ketamine infusion include:
- If you have a generalized anxiety disorder, there are continual feelings of anxiety or dread, often interfering with all facets of your daily life.
- People with panic disorder experience frequent and unforeseen panic attacks. These are sudden periods of strong fear, distress, or where you sense a loss of control even without a specific danger or trigger.
- Social anxiety disorder features intense, persistent fears of being observed and judged by someone else. If you have social anxiety disorder, the fear of social interactions may feel so powerful that it seems outside your control.
Chronic pain, or any kind of pain which lasts for more than three months, even after treatment, can sometimes be treated with ketamine infusion therapy. There isn’t a single cause for chronic pain, but it could be linked to illnesses like cancer or even long-healed injuries. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that almost 21% of adults had chronic pain in 2019.
Fibromyalgia causes pain throughout your body, leading to problems sleeping, fatigue, and often psychological distress. If you have fibromyalgia, you may be more sensitive to pain than someone who doesn’t have fibromyalgia. But the symptoms can often be treated with ketamine infusions. Fibromyalgia is thought to affect 4 million U.S. adults but can happen to anyone.
Rheumatoid arthritis can lead to pain, swelling, and stiffness, and can eventually result in losing function in your joints. It most commonly affects the wrist and fingers but can harm any joint. More women than men are affected, and it often begins in middle age but is most widespread in older people.
You might experience neuropathic pain if your nervous system is hurt or not working properly. This results in feelings of pain from any level of the nervous system – the peripheral nerves, the spine, and the brain. Collectively, your spinal cord and brain make up what’s known as the central nervous system. And where are peripheral nerves? They spread throughout the body like spiderwebs to your organs, arms, legs, fingers and toes, and elsewhere. Neuropathic pain can often be treated with ketamine infusion.
When you’re fatigued, wracked by a constant feeling of being tired or weak, and nothing seems to help, ketamine infusions may be an option worth looking into. Anyone can feel run down with a lack of energy, affected by things like jetlag, a change in sleep schedule, or even by growing old. But ketamine may help.
If you experience any mental or medical condition which is non-responsive to normal therapy, ask your healthcare provider if ketamine infusion is right for you.