Every ketamine story will be different, and there will always be a first time for everyone who wants to experience the therapeutic effect of a ketamine infusion. But guess what? It is entirely normal to have a wide range of feelings in response to an upcoming ketamine infusion, and we are here to help!
Ketamine has been long-approved for anesthetic purposes and used off-label for depression. It has become a viable alternative for people who are suffering from treatment-resistant depression. It is a powerful adjunct treatment that can be very helpful in restoring quality of life.
The treatment and management for depression varies from patient to patient. Over time, antidepressants coupled with psychotherapy treat depression. However, treatment-resistant depression has become quite a challenge in about one-third of patients who fail to achieve full recovery using conventional therapy.
Ketamine infusions have been very instrumental as support therapy in the management of a broad array of conditions such as chronic pain disorders, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and depression. Here are a few tips and pointers from The Injection and Infusion Clinic of ABQ to maximize your ketamine infusion and get the best benefit for yourself in the experience.
1) Prepare yourself physically and mentally.
Before going into a scheduled appointment, make sure to set your mind and body first. Preparing yourself might mean refraining from watching violent movies or TV shows or voluntarily avoiding alcohol. Set your eyes on the goal, and start working your way towards it.
The protocol recommends fasting before every ketamine infusion. Although The Injection and Infusion Clinic of ABQ only recommends having your last meal at least six hours before your scheduled infusion, it can also be beneficial to have a complete fast before your therapy to reap the benefits of a detoxified body. A complete fast includes avoiding food and drink (especially soda and caffeine) the night before, and extending up to the morning of the treatment. This fasting may also include the discontinuation of some medications. Just check with your healthcare provider as to the extent of the fast.
2) Do your research.
The subjective experiences of ketamine are diverse. When people use ketamine as a recreational drug, its experiences are not always easy to describe, especially other illicit substances. Ketamine affects multiple functions, including memory, emotion, language, sensation, and perception. Thus, it is essential to do your research to improve your confidence in infusion therapy.
Multiple drug use, drug use history, mode of administration, quantity, and quality of ketamine, user group, and the actual physical space where ketamine infusions happen are significant impacts on the ketamine infusion experience. Thus, it is vital to do your research. Knowing the history, process, and success rates of ketamine infusions will give you the confidence you need.
You can also browse through other posts and articles on our website about ketamine to help you prepare mentally for your ketamine infusion.
3) Consider participating in a preparatory detoxification program.
The goal of enrolling in a detox program is to come out as clean as possible because ketamine infusions can significantly impact your mind and body. Make sure you are eating the right food and taking the proper medications.
Studies have noted that ketamine infusion causes an initial “high” coupled with enhanced perception and a period of dissociation. The concomitant use of stimulants and depressants may alter your experience, so make sure to consult with your healthcare provider regarding your medications on board.
4) Set an appointment for a thorough talk with your provider regarding the infusion process.
Pick up the phone and set an appointment with your provider for a one-on-one talk. This appointment can help boost your confidence in the therapy. Write down all the questions that come to mind before the appointment. Do not be hesitant to discuss these questions with your provider. You should ask your provider what the process is for the infusion, the specific techniques before starting the infusion, and what to do after your infusion.
Here at The Injection and Infusion Clinic of ABQ, you will fill out some standard paperwork before every ketamine infusion. A Mood Monitor, which is a test that allowing the clinic to monitor changes and your responses, will be set up before and after each ketamine infusion.
Your provider processes your payment and then ushers you to the back of the clinic to start IV therapy. If you have specific concerns, your provider addresses them and takes you to your infusion chair. Your provider attaches a monitor, and then the staff starts your ketamine infusion. Most patients dissociate during the infusion. Do not be anxious because this is entirely normal. Please do not hesitate to call the staff’s attention if you start getting uncomfortable during infusion. After the infusion, the team monitors you for approximately 30 minutes, depending on your response. All in all, expect two hours for each ketamine infusion appointment.
You will receive a questionnaire from the Mood Monitor a day after your infusion. It is essential to fill this out to monitor your response and avoid complications. Ketamine infusions are spread out over days to weeks, and your dose is dependent on your response.
5) Consider journaling and reflection.
Put your thoughts into writing. Specify in your journal what you hope to learn, experience, and resolve during your ketamine infusion. This reflection makes every appointment meaningful, and it becomes an avenue for you to heal holistically.
Reflect with the outcomes in mind. Write out specific and attainable goals. These goals can be as straightforward as “let go of my depression” or “decrease chronic pain.” Be in a calm mindset and an unhurried state before the infusion to keep your stress levels to a minimum. Spending time with nature is an excellent way to free your thoughts and visualize your goals for going forward with your ketamine infusion.
6) Talk to a loved one about your plan.
Since we, at The Injection and Infusion Clinic of ABQ, encourage “letting go” during a ketamine infusion, we have observed having a loved one there during the infusion can interfere with that process. This interference is why we prefer our clients come on their own.
However, it does not mean we are against you sharing your journey with a loved one. As a matter of fact, you must have a supportive spouse, family member, or friend who you can involve in the process. Aside from sharing your journey with this person, they can pick you up after your infusion sessions since you shouldn’t drive or go home on your own even after the observation process.
7) Make it a point to integrate.
To complete the preparatory process, visualize processing the insight and learnings you get with every ketamine infusion. It is one thing to get help through the infusion, and it is another thing to be proactive in creating change for a better quality of life. This difficulty is why you should make it a point to integrate!
After the infusion, make sure to comply with the Mood Monitor to help you achieve the best from your ketamine infusion experience. Aside from the standard paperwork and mood monitoring, you can start reflecting on your insights gained during your ketamine infusion. You begin by having daily or weekly mantras to help motivate you in this new journey for a better well-being.
For example, you can have “Be patient with yourself” or “The best things in life take time” as your mantra for the first few days after your first ketamine infusion.
Here are some tips for integration: Start with expressing yourself through journaling, art, poetry, or music right after an infusion. You can then follow it through with meditation techniques and therapeutic talk with your family or loved one. Then, start a new healthy routine such as adding yoga or hiking, while declaring a full stop on your unhealthy habits and behavior.
Ketamine infusions require a significant amount of time as an investment. Consider allocating two hours at least for every session. In addition to time spent at the clinic, you have to consider possible downtime at home while resting. Carefully plot these schedules in your calendar to avoid unnecessary stress while healing.
Your first ketamine infusion session should be something to look forward to, not something to cause anxiety! Whether it be for your mental health or for chronic pain, ketamine infusions are worth trying. So, book an appointment with us today to help you take the first steps towards a better quality of life and a better you.