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Effectiveness of Ketamine Therapy in Treating Anxiety

Anxiety disorders represent a significant mental health concern globally, affecting individuals of all ages with a wide range of debilitating symptoms, including phobias, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other related mental health issues. While anxiety disorders are treatable, a significant portion of patients (30-40%) remains unable to find relief through standard therapeutic approaches, despite multiple attempts with various treatments, including medication and psychotherapy.


Nonetheless, the medical community continues to evolve treatments in its approach to mental health services in Israel, with promising results from off-label medications and treatments. One such example is ketamine, originally an FDA-approved anesthetic, which has recently shown positive outcomes in managing treatment-resistant depression. Moreover, it has demonstrated potential in treating anxiety disorders, offering new hope for individuals struggling with this debilitating condition.


While experiencing anxiety before significant events is common, persistent anxiety or anxiety disorders can significantly impair an individual’s daily life. KetaMind Clinic Israel offers a new therapeutic approach with Ketamine therapy for treating anxiety and other mood disorders. Anxiety disorders include various conditions, such as social anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which can affect one’s academic or work performance, relationships, and overall enjoyment of life. Ketamine infusions can alleviate symptoms of panic, dread, and phobia after the first session, thus aiding individuals in regaining control of their lives.


Ketamine infusion therapy for anxiety disorders offers a promising alternative to conventional antidepressants such as SSRIs, SNRIs, and benzodiazepines. These generic medications often take several weeks to become effective and do not work for 30-40% of individuals. In contrast, ketamine therapy can provide immediate relief from anxiety symptoms and has demonstrated effectiveness in treating treatment-resistant anxiety and depression, where conventional methods have failed to produce results.


What is Ketamine?


Ketamine, commonly known as a street drug with hallucinatory effects, was initially used as a rapid-acting intravenous anesthetic drug in the 1960s. Since the 1990s, it has been utilized off-label in treating depression. Unlike standard depression treatments, which aim to increase brain chemicals to enhance the patient’s mood, ketamine repairs neuron synapses and elevates the level of glutamate in the brain, leading to faster symptom relief than antidepressants.


Depression and anxiety often co-occur, and both disorders exhibit abnormalities in the glutamate system. As a result, ketamine and other medications that modulate the glutamate and GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid) systems have garnered continued research interest in treating both anxiety and depression, with ketamine demonstrating effectiveness in several studies.


A double-blind study showed that ketamine IV Therapy significantly reduced symptom severity in patients with post-traumatic stress disorder. Some studies determined that ketamine infusion therapy was the best therapy for PTSD in a rapid and sustainable manner. Another randomized controlled trial (RCT) of 15 patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) found that a single intravenous dose of ketamine had anti-OCD effects lasting over a week in some patients experiencing constant intrusive thoughts. In a study of patients with anxious and non-anxious bipolar depression, both groups displayed significant antidepressant responses to ketamine.


While researchers are still investigating how ketamine reduces anxiety and depression, it is well established that the medication provides immediate symptom relief, unlike antidepressants, which can take weeks to produce results. Moreover, ketamine has also demonstrated the potential for long-term symptom relief, making it a valuable treatment option for individuals struggling with anxiety and depression.



What is Ketamine IV therapy?


Ketamine IV therapy is an infusion of ketamine administered in a clinical setting. Typically, patients receive an initial course of three treatments in the first week, followed by two treatments in the second week, and one treatment per week for the subsequent three weeks. Each ketamine IV therapy session lasts approximately 90 minutes, including a post-infusion observation period before the patient is discharged. While traditional antidepressants may take several weeks to produce beneficial effects, ketamine symptom relief may begin within a few hours of administration. While some individuals experience complete remission of symptoms with ketamine therapy alone, others may find that it complements other medications and treatment modalities. Ketamine therapy has shown promise in helping individuals who have not responded to conventional treatment methods to manage their symptoms and enhance their overall quality of life.


Benefits of Ketamine Infusion Therapy for Anxiety: How it works

Ketamine acts by rapidly elevating the activity of glutamate within the brain. Glutamate is a vital neurotransmitter that plays a significant role in regulating mood, learning, and memory. Moreover, it supports neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to adapt and transform following new experiences. This ability to increase neuroplasticity enables ketamine to disrupt negative thought patterns and form new neural pathways. Ultimately, these novel pathways can facilitate the formation of more constructive thoughts, which may reduce anxiety symptoms.


Ketamine Therapy For Anxiety: Study

A recent study conducted in 2022 demonstrated that individuals diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and social anxiety disorder experienced a significant reduction in panic, irritability, and other anxiety symptoms following a single-dose ketamine infusion. The study revealed that higher doses of ketamine were more effective than lower doses and that the observed benefits of the treatment persisted for up to two weeks.


A 2017 study with a limited sample size revealed that a majority of participants, approximately 83%, who suffered from generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and social anxiety disorder, reported a reduction in their anxiety symptoms within one hour after receiving subcutaneous (under-the-skin) ketamine treatments.


In a study conducted in 2017, individuals with social anxiety received intravenous infusions containing either ketamine or saline, which served as a placebo. Participants who received the ketamine infusion reported significantly more improvements in their symptoms than those who received the placebo.


Where to Find Treatment for Anxiety


Whether you’re seeking relief from anxiety symptoms for the first time or have already tried other treatments that didn’t work, KetaMind Clinic Israel is here to help. Our clinic provides high-quality and cost-effective mental health services in Israel with our compassionate team, Advanced Depression Treatments and Non-Opiate Pain Treatment. At KetaMind Clinic Israel, we are committed to developing a customized treatment plan for each patient that helps them live a healthy, happy, and productive life. Please contact us for more information about our services or to schedule an appointment.


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