January 9, 2023

What Does Ketamine Feel Like? Out-of-Body Experience Explained

What does ketamine feel like? It’s a hard question to answer given that the effects can be different from one person to the next and from one treatment to the next. But one thing that is common is having an out-of-body experience. 

Out-of-body experiences may sound like something from a sci-fi movie, but it’s a real sensation that can occur naturally, or it can be the result of different types of therapy. So, let’s delve further into what an out-of-body experience is like and how it relates to ketamine treatments for anxiety, PTSD and a number of other mental health conditions. 

The Effects of Psychedelics 

Ketamine is what’s known as a psychedelic. Psychedelics are a class of drugs with psychoactive properties. That means they put people in an unordinary state of consciousness. In this state, a person’s normal mood, perception and cognitive function are altered. Psychedelics can also cause a person to have hallucinations that seem very real.

One of the more common unordinary states of consciousness is having an out-of-body experience. Despite this powerful sensation, psychedelics have been found to be relatively safe because they don’t cause dependence that can lead to addiction.

It’s important to know that psychedelics don’t always cause an out-of-body experience. And just because a person does have an out-of-body experience from a ketamine treatment that doesn’t mean it will happen the next time they use the therapy. 

What is an Out-of-Body Experience Exactly? 

You’ve probably heard of an out-of-body experience. An out-of-body experience is the feeling that the mind and body are separate. Some in the medical field equate an out-of-body experience to disassociation. This is when consciousness feels disconnected from the body.

Many people who use ketamine therapy for PTSD, depression or other mental health issues report having an out-of-body experience. The conscious mind can be near the body, or it can seem very far away from the physical self during these episodes. 

Psychedelics aren’t the only thing that can bring about an out-of-body experience. An out-of-body experience can be a result of:

  • Near-death experience
  • Hypnosis
  • Extreme stress
  • Extreme trauma
  • Sensory deprivation 
  • Yoga practices
  • Epilepsy
  • Brain injuries
  • Migraines

Most out-of-body experiences aren’t planned. That means the person isn’t mentally prepared for the shift, so it can be very jarring and even disturbing to some people. 

What an Out-of-Body Experience Feels Like

A psychedelic like ketamine has an effect on all of the senses. When someone has an out-of-body experience or disassociation it’s as if the conscious mind is outside of the body. The person’s sense of self and identity is disconnected from the physical self, which isn’t the norm. 

This feeling of mind/body disconnection can create a variety of emotions and sensations.  People report feeling:

  • An elevated sense of perception from viewing the world outside of the body. 
  • Being able to look down or back at the body. 
  • Seeing yourself from a third-person perspective. 
  • Strong sense of what’s most important. 
  • As if you’re floating. 

The sensations and what’s happening during the out-of-body experience seem very real. The intensity of the feelings associated with an out-of-body experience can range from mild to overpowering. A person may also feel physical symptoms after the out-of-body experience such as disorientation or dizziness, but it passes quickly. Each person responds to an out-of-body experience differently and this impacts how the experience feels.  

An out-of-body experience can be very profound. Changing the state of consciousness allows people to view things in a new way and make discoveries that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. It’s these insights and new perspectives that make ketamine therapy such an effective treatment for people with treatment-resistant mental health conditions.  

If you’d like to know more about how ketamine therapy is used to help people cope with conditions like anxiety, OCD, PTSD and depression, then take our psychedelic therapy assessment. Within a few minutes, you’ll have a better idea of whether or not it’s a possible solution for finding relief.