What To Look For When Searching For A Ketamine Clinic
It’s the age of the ketamine clinic, with alternative healing centers popping up all over the place in recent years. They’ve spread all over the U.S., with each typically offering a variety of treatments for things like depression, PTSD, and chronic pain. With all of these options, how does someone know what to look for when searching for the right ketamine clinic? We help identify the most critical aspects.
What Is Ketamine?
Ketamine is a dissociative injected anesthetic, meaning it actually blocks sensory perception, and as such it is classified as a schedule III drug. Since the early 1970s, prescriptions have been available to help relieve depression and suicidal thoughts. Its medical use continues to be vast, however. From sedation and pain relief, to being the anesthetic in patients at risk of bronchospasm and respiratory depression, the drug is versatile to say the least.
A large number of studies, the majority of which occurred in recent decades, brought attention to ketamine’s effect on mental health issues. This began its transition as a common anesthetic to a potential anti-depressant for anxiety, pain, and PTSD symptoms.
Side effects mostly include distorting sights, colors, sounds, a disintegration of self and one’s environment. All of these signal, quite rightly, that ketamine is a powerful psychedelic. As psychedelic drugs research grows in interest, so, too, has the focus on ketamine for treatment.
Treatments from a ketamine clinic are predominantly for treating depression and suicidal thoughts. Unlike common antidepressants, SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) — which take several weeks to build up in the system before positive effects often take place — it can show an instant impact.
Currently, there are two types of treatment:
- IV Treatment – Using racemic ketamine (not yet FDA approved), this can require up to eight treatments. However, most patients usually respond positively within three treatments.
- Esketamine Nasal Spray – Approved by the FDA in 2019 for treatment-resistant depression in patients with acute suicidal ideation or behavior.
Who Can Get Ketamine Clinic Treatment?
Before visiting your local ketamine clinic, it’s important to understand the process to become eligible. Ketamine treatment is dependent on two factors:
- A failure to show positive results with any other depression treatments
- A history free from substance abuse, cardiovascular diseases and psychosis
Still, even if eligible for ketamine treatment, the question of price and insurance coverage still remains. Most insurance companies are unable to cover expenses, so the cost of treatment at a ketamine clinic can be expensive, even for those diagnosed with major depression, chronic pain, anxiety, and PTSD.
The Legality Of Ketamine Clinics
Each ketamine clinic operates separately, so many may question the legalities of this entire process. Anesthesia and nasal spray aside, the FDA has few regulations for the control and oversight of ketamine therapy.
This means that IV therapy treatment is an off-label use for ketamine in the U.S. Off-label indicates the following:
“The use of pharmaceutical drugs for an unapproved indication or in an unapproved age group, dosage, or route of administration. Both prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs (OTCs) can be used in off-label ways, although most studies of off-label usage focus on prescription drugs.
Once the FDA approves a drug, healthcare providers generally may prescribe the drug for unapproved use when they judge that it is medically appropriate for their patient.”
In effect, if a healthcare provider declares the ketamine IV therapy to be ethical and not violate safety standards, it may prescribe accordingly.
Of course, ketamine is still classified as a Schedule III drug. This hurts the stigma of the positive results a ketamine clinic may bring a patient. It also means each state must enforce its own rules and applications, since there isn’t a universal law. Given the lack of FDA regulations, each ketamine clinic dictates how to operate.
What To Actually Look For In A Ketamine Clinic?
Now that we know how easy it actually is to open a ketamine clinic, it comes as no surprise that experts are concerned about less-than-scrupulous health centers touting ketamine without more oversight. So what should someone actually look for when deciding to undergo treatment?
First, make sure the clinic has a psychiatrist with deep ketamine treatment experience who understands its side effects. He or she must be knowledgeable and responsive in order to administer IV treatment.
Second, make sure the ketamine clinic has positive testimonials and referrals to bring peace of mind prior to receiving treatment. Avoid becoming a guinea pig at a poorly run clinic.
Third, ask the right questions and demand transparent answers. From understanding how the procedure works, to getting a post-therapy checklist, know what to expect.
Lastly, the ketamine clinic should be available to assist with questions or concerns after administering therapy. Once the procedure is complete, it doesn’t mean the relationship ends.
Ketamine therapy is still in its early stages. The future of psychedelics is promising, but much more research is necessary to see the real impact of these alternative drugs. So, when searching for the best ketamine therapy clinics, understand that service and experience will be the most important aspects in your healing journey.