Ketamine and Anxiety - A Novel New Therapy That Calms the Mind
When anxiety begins to grip a person it is a total body response. It can feel as if you lose control of your ability to function and panic creeps into every corner of your mind. But it isn’t just moments of panic that you have to deal with. There’s also the chronic heightened anxiety that keeps you in a constant state of being on edge.
It’s no wonder a person with anxiety can’t ever relax, which takes a toll on their mental and physical well-being.
We all face stressors in life, even on a daily basis at times. But for someone with clinical anxiety, stress is felt even when stressors aren’t present. Intrusive thoughts blot out what is happening in the present causing the person to feel stress when others are relaxed.
Anxiety is defined as excessive feelings of worry or fear as well as intrusive thoughts about a fear or constant fear in general. A number of things can trigger excessive feelings and thoughts, and the triggers are different for each person.
How Anxiety Develops
Anxiety is the most common mental health issue in America. Unlike some mental health conditions, anxiety is very apparent to the person who has it. The condition creates chronic fear, worry and a sense of urgency that is triggered by people, environments and events. What’s going on in the mind manifests into negative behaviors, patterns of thinking and mental loops that are reinforced by the physical response to anxiety.
It’s estimated that 40 million adults are affected by anxiety disorders. That’s over 18% of the population. Clinical anxiety develops from a combination of factors. It’s not just a matter of the stress that’s generated but also difficulty coping with stress.
Doctors have determined that anxiety is a result of:
- Brain Chemistry
- Life Events
- Personality Type
The last point is notable in that we learn how to cope with stress and fear primarily from our parents. Someone who is naturally inclined towards heightened feelings and intrusive thoughts are more susceptible to anxiety if their parents do a poor job of managing stress themselves.
Often anxiety disorders do develop in adolescence and childhood over the course of years. However, a traumatic event at any time in life can cause clinical anxiety. It’s also possible for medical problems later in life to create anxiety in a person.
How Anxiety Affects Day-to-Day Life
Clinical anxiety is diagnosed when heightened feelings and intrusive thoughts get in the way of daily activities and have a negative effect on a person’s quality of life. Essentially the person’s flight-or-fight response is constantly activated, which leads to physical responses. A person with clinical anxiety can experience:
- Feelings of Panic
- Feelings of Fear or Doom
- Difficulty Thinking Clearly
- Excessive Sweating
- Rapid Breathing
- Rapid Heart Rate
- Heart Palpitations
- Muscle Tension
- Feeling of Being Overwhelmed
Again, having this response from time to time in the face of significant stress is normal. But with anxiety the feelings and physical responses are constant. It takes a toll on the brain and body. Red flags that someone is overwhelmed with anxiety include:
- Sleep Disturbances
- Changes in Appetite and Eating
- Poor Performance at School or Work
- Difficulty in Social Settings
Anxiety can be so severe that the person can’t leave their home or be in most social settings. Not surprisingly, about half of people who are diagnosed with anxiety also have depression.
How Ketamine Treatment for Anxiety Works
As debilitating as anxiety disorders are, they’re actually treatable in many cases. Up to 40% of people with clinical anxiety can find relief through convention psychotherapy and medications. But what about the remaining 60% of people living with anxiety?
For some time now, doctors have started to turn towards psychedelic therapy to help treat anxiety. Doctors have been prescribing ketamine treatment for anxiety off-label, and ketamine treatment for depression has been prescribed off-label since the 1990s.
Ketamine works differently than other anxiety and depression medications. Instead of trying to enhance mood by boosting feel-good brain chemicals, ketamine rebuilds connections in the brain called neuron synapses. Ketamine also boosts glutamate production, which is a key factor in making it effective. Both depression and anxiety involve glutamate abnormalities in the brain.
The disassociation that comes with ketamine therapy is another benefit. It allows the patient to distance themselves physically and cognitively from their intrusive feelings and thoughts. This distance gives them the ability to gain a different perspective, reposition their thoughts and feelings and engage in positive behaviors.
Another difference when using ketamine for anxiety is how quickly it works. With ketamine therapy anxiety is relieved immediately and the relief is long-lasting. Conventional medications can take weeks to reduce symptoms, if they do at all.
Ketamines can be a highly effective therapy if you’re using ketamine for depression or if you are using ketamine for anxiety since it treats both conditions simultaneously.
The earliest ketamine treatments involved an IV ketamine drip that slowly delivered ketamine into the bloodstream. If IV ketamine therapy for anxiety seems extreme or could trigger stress, there’s good news. Sublingual ketamine, more commonly known as oral ketamine (a ketamine pill), has proven to be an effective treatment for anxiety even when other therapies have failed. It’s also perfectly safe and can be taken at home. Another benefit with this simpler delivery method is ketamines for anxiety cost less.
Think Using Ketamine Therapy for Anxiety Might be Right for You?
If other therapies for anxiety haven’t worked or you’re interested in using ketamine for anxiety and depression, the first step is a free online assessment. It’s quick, convenient and completely confidential.