Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Treatment with Ketamine Infusion Therapy

The beneficial effect of Ketamine in treating PTSD was serendipitously discovered in the American military battlefield hospitals in Iraq in the 1990s. Soldiers injured in battle had surgical treatment in these hospitals, some under Ketamine general anaesthesia, and some using other types of general anesthesia. As an incidental finding, it was discovered that the soldiers who had surgery using Ketamine anesthesia rarely or never developed PTSD afterward, but up to 30 percent of the soldiers who used other forms of surgical anesthesia did develop PTSD. Military physicians discussed this information with psychiatrists, and developed the idea that somehow Ketamine provides effective therapy to reduce or eliminate PTSD in many people who have experienced a traumatic event.

 

About PTSD

PTSD was once described as “shell shock”. Emergency medical personnel, members of the military, and survivors of accidents or other traumatic events are at particular risk for developing PTSD. Victims of crime and abuse, and survivors of natural disasters, accidents, and bombings are all susceptible.

Described as a “growing epidemic” by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) affects nearly 8 percent of Americans at some point in their lifetime. Its life-crippling effects include personality changes, signs of depression, heightened anxiety, avoidance behavior, a hyper-sensitive startle reflex, along with difficulty sleeping, flashbacks and nightmares. PTSD sufferers may have difficulty holding down jobs, maintaining relationships, and participating in activities they once enjoyed. These effects can last a lifetime, and standard treatment is often only minimally effective.

Medically-supervised Ketamine infusion therapy is now available to those suffering from PTSD, and prospects for recovery look good. Study results indicate that blocking NMDA glutamate receptors with Ketamine, particularly in the area of the brain dealing with emotion and long-term memory, bridges over deeply held thought and fear patterns, freeing patients from long term effects of traumatic memories. Patients who have received Ketamine infusions have also seen a rapid reduction or cessation of suicidal thoughts, and relief from depression and anxiety, all symptoms that often co-exist with PTSD.

 

 

Facts about PTSD

Read at National Institute of Mental Health >