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What Is Ketamine Used For: From Mental Health Issues To Chronic Pain

What Is Ketamine Used For: From Mental Health Issues To Chronic Pain

With ketamine-assisted treatments becoming popularized worldwide, the main focus has been on treating therapy-resistant depression. Now, we’re learning how to use them for much more.

Also known for causing dissociative anesthesia, ketamine is classified as a hallucinogen, and its psychedelic characteristics are the reason for the vast research and potential alternative treatment for a plethora of mental health issues.

According to Susan Gillispie, APRN and founder of Wholistic Health in Theodore, Alabama, “Ketamine therapy can treat a wide variety of mental health issues. I have seen patients with anxiety have virtually no anxiety at all after the first infusion. And in terms of depression treatment, many of my patients see a rapid relief of depressive symptoms — coupled with better mood, sleep, and energy.”

Looking for ketamine therapy? Click here to find top rated ketamine clinics near you

What Is Ketamine Used For


Many studies are showing that treatment-resistant depression is a major way in which ketamine is being used for people. Known to reduce overall inflammation and trigger the important excitatory neurotransmitter in the nervous system, glutamate, ketamine’s role in the human body could very well be much greater than previously thought.

Glutamate is responsible for many neurodevelopmental and neurotrophic effects, as well as neurocognitive functions. When out of function or balance, this can lead to various neurodegenerative disorders.

Ketamine has shown great effects on those receptors and glutamate release. For this reason, it plays a large role helping neurotransmitters in the brain.

Ketamine clinics are using nasal and IV treatments to help treat depression. Many of these patients simply cannot get results from more conventional methods — and ketamine affects the mind and body in unique ways.


Closely linked to depression is anxiety, another major mental health issue people struggle with today. Like depression, most anxiety-reducing treatments are leaving many without sufficient tools and coping mechanisms. Anxiety disorders can severely inhibit a person’s performance at work or school. They also play a major role in maintaining relationships or enjoying things in life.

Ketamine treatments help alleviate feelings of panic, fear, dread, or phobia within 24-48 hours (according to testimonials). The psychedelic sends signals to the brain, which works on reducing anxiety from the inside out. Almost immediately, patients feel a sense of new hope.

Anxiety disorders are complex, and treatment is often a different combination of medications (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs). Using ketamine for anxiety works the same on all of them. From SAD (social anxiety disorder) and GAD (generalized anxiety disorder), to PTSD, panic disorder and simply phobias.

Looking for ketamine therapy? Click here to find top rated ketamine clinics near you

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are classified as a compulsive behavior disease — and psychedelics have shown great effects on figuring a way to inhibit what triggers them. Since ketamine blocks memory recall, there’s great potential in treating eating disorders with ketamine treatment. This is due to the excitement and re-excitement of the hippocampus thanks to glutamate-NMDA receptors. Eventually, this leads to long-term potentiation (LTP).

More studies are continuing, but we should continue to see great results using this alternative treatment. In time, more patients may turn to ketamine to help with eating disorders, as other options fail.

Clinic Spotlight: Advanced Infusion and Wellness Center – Wichita, Kansas

Recreational Use

Ketamine is also a recreational party drug. Its dissociative properties lead to hallucinations and/or an out-of-body experience. This is sometimes referred to as the “k-hole“. While the “k-hole” has a negative connotation, therapists view this as the psychedelic state a patient enters when taking the upper range of dosing used in ketamine assisted psychotherapy. We do not recommend consuming ketamine in a non-sanctioned or non-therapeutic setting.

Due to its addictive nature, those who take ketamine recreationally can develop an addiction. They may also build up a tolerance that leads them to take larger amounts during a setting. This is an attempt to get back to the “k-hole.”

In Conclusion – What is Ketamine Used For?

Ketamine therapy is still in its infancy, but the potential is truly vast. It’s on researchers to discover how the powerful psychedelic can trigger more breakthroughs in mental health and chronic pain issues. This will help drop stigmas and make the treatment method more respected.

Karla Tafra

View all posts by Karla Tafra

Karla is a freelance writer, yoga teacher and nutritionist who's been writing about nutrition, fitness, yoga, mindfulness, and overall health and wellness topics for over seven years. She's written for numerous publications such as Healthline, Livesavvy,, Well + Good, and many others, sharing her love of storytelling and educating. She loves talking about superfoods and another amazing plant powers that people can benefit from if they learn how to use it properly. Her passion lies in helping others not only eat healthier meals but implement good eating habits, find a great relationship with food & achieve a balanced lifestyle. She believes that the only diet and lifestyle that's worth creating is the one you can stick to, so she aims to find what that means for each and every individual. Teaching WHY we eat, and not only WHAT we eat, is the premise of her approach.

Dr. Ben Medrano

This post was medically approved by Dr. Ben Medrano

Dr. Ben Medrano is a board certified psychiatrist specializing in Integrative Psychiatry, Ketamine Assisted Therapy and Psychedelic Harm Reduction and Integration. He received his MD from the University of Colorado School of Medicine with additional training in the Urban Underserved Track (CU-UNITE). Dr. Medrano is most known for his work with ketamine assisted therapy and is the former Senior Vice President and US Medical Director of Field Trip Health - the largest in-office ketamine assisted therapy practice to date. He continues to sponsor Field Trip clinics as a local medical director at multiple sites on the East Coast allowing him to further the field of psychedelic assisted therapy and research.

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