3 Misconceptions Of Ketamine Therapies

3 Misconceptions Of Ketamine Therapies

Ketamine therapies are becoming increasingly popular. This is due in large part to a growing body of research on the compound’s therapeutic benefits. However, many people have misconceptions about ketamine therapy. This is despite more studies, media coverage, and awareness of the process in general.

Clearing up these misconceptions is crucial. It will ensure those thinking of undergoing ketamine therapy can make an informed decision. And, accurate information about ketamine therapies will help loved ones feel more at ease and confident in this treatment.

Let’s examine three of the biggest misconceptions about ketamine therapies.

1. People Pursue Ketamine Therapies To Get ‘High’

One of the main misconceptions of ketamine therapies is that they are recreational. While ketamine can induce a psychedelic experience, this does not mean people pay for ketamine infusions just to get high.

There are several reasons why this belief about ketamine therapy is mistaken:

Ketamine Therapies Can Be Expensive

Ketamine therapies can be expensive (they can cost $495 per infusion). Moreover, ketamine can be bought illicitly for a fraction of the price. It is unlikely that someone would pay hundreds of dollars just to get high for an hour.

Ketamine Is Not Necessarily Fun

Recreational ketamine doses and frequency allow people to enjoy themselves. However, certain ketamine therapies involve a single moderate or high dose of ketamine. This includes infusions that target depression, for example. This can produce intense effects like out-of-body or mystical experiences. These experiences are not necessarily recreational. In fact, they can be emotionally challenging.

You Need A Diagnosable Condition To Receive Ketamine

You can, of course, lie about having a mental disorder in order to receive ketamine therapy. However,  it is unlikely people would go to this effort, given the time and cost involved. Those interested in ketamine therapies are genuinely seeking mental health treatment.

2. Ketamine Therapies Aren’t Safe

Another major misconception about ketamine therapies is that they aren’t safe. While ketamine has its risks, the therapeutic use of the drug isn’t as harmful as many people think. Here are some common reasons why people believe ketamine therapy isn’t safe:

You’ll Be Addicted To Ketamine Following Treatment

It is true that ketamine has addictive potential. Ketamine can be psychologically addictive. You may enjoy the effects of ketamine and experience cravings for the drug. This can then lead to psychological withdrawal when you stop using. Psychological withdrawal symptoms can include anxiety, depression, and strong cravings.

However, using ketamine is not likely to lead to physical dependency. This is when your body depends on the drug to function. When the drug is not present in your system you experience physical withdrawals.

But does this mean ketamine therapies will lead to psychological addiction? Not necessarily. In fact, this outcome is unlikely for the following reasons:

  • Ketamine addiction follows frequent use. Ketamine infusions, rather, are delivered only a handful of times, with gaps in between each. This significantly lowers the risk that patients will become addicted to the compound.
  •  A ketamine therapy provider will take substance abuse information into account. They will do so when carrying out an initial assessment. Those deemed at a high risk of addiction may not be suitable for ketamine therapies. Let your psychiatrists at the clinic know about it. This will allow them to address the issue.
  • Positive effects continue after the dissociative and psychoactive effects wear off. This makes it less likely that you will feel the need to seek out the drug on your own.
  • Ketamine is, relatively speaking, not a highly addictive drug. Research shows that caffeine has a greater dependence potential. If used in a controlled setting under the guidance of trained medical professionals, the risk of addiction is quite low.

Ketamine Therapies Will Damage Your Body

It is undeniable that ketamine has the potential to cause damage to the bladder. Research has also linked ketamine use to liver damage. However, this kind of organ damage only applies in the case of heavy use and addiction. The use of ketamine at a clinic is controlled, infrequent, and limited to a handful of times. Therefore, the risk of physical harm is much lower.

Ketamine therapy is typically designed to be a short-term treatment. The aim is to lift patients out of depression, allowing them to function and feel well.

3. Ketamine Therapies Can Permanently Fix Mental Health Issues

A third common myth about ketamine therapies is that they are a mental health panacea. Ketamine treatment is a highly promising treatment for depression based on existing evidence. However, media coverage and hype has created the impression that ketamine is a miracle cure. This is misguided for several reasons:

  • The antidepressant effects of ketamine are rapid and substantial, but also short-lived. They last about 1–2 weeks after infusion. This means that depression will return for many people some weeks after an infusion.
  • Regular rounds of ketamine infusions are sometimes necessary for some patients.
  • The benefits of ketamine treatment often require psychotherapy as well. This is known as ketamine-assisted psychotherapy. Ketamine infusions may not be as effective as when combined with other treatments.
  • Many patients undergo ketamine treatment alongside the use of an antidepressant.
  • Ketamine therapies can reduce the severity of psychiatric symptoms without necessarily alleviating them entirely.
  • Ketamine therapy may not work for everyone.
  • Other steps are needed to stay psychologically healthy. This includes even when ketamine therapies improve mental health. A nutritious and balanced diet, regular exercise, and good sleep hygiene are necessary too.

You should now have a more realistic perception of the benefits and risks of ketamine therapies. Misconceptions about ketamine therapy persist and they may hinder treatment-seeking. So take the time to gain accurate and balanced information. This will lead to more educated decisions on whether or not to pursue treatment. For patients with severe or treatment-resistant depression, ketamine therapies have real potential. They can be a life-changing – even a life-saving – option. In these cases, any possible risks may be well worth the rewards.

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Sam Woolfe

View all posts by Sam Woolfe

Sam Woolfe is a freelance writer based in London. His main areas of interest include mental health, mystical experiences, the history of psychedelics, and the philosophy of psychedelics. He first became fascinated by psychedelics after reading Aldous Huxley's description of the mescaline experience in The Doors of Perception. Since then, he has researched and written about psychedelics for various publications, covering the legality of psychedelics, drug policy reform, and psychedelic science.

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