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Does Ketamine Therapy Help Anxiety? What to know about Ketamine Therapy for Anxiety

Does Ketamine Therapy Help Anxiety? What to know about Ketamine Therapy for Anxiety

Ketamine is an interesting medicine that just keeps on giving! It has been used as anesthesia since the 1960’s. It shows promising results for treating severe depression.  

Also, it is now being studied for its effects on anxiety disorders. What do the results tell us? Keep reading to explore: 

  • Does Ketamine Therapy Help Anxiety?
  • What to know about Ketamine Therapy for Anxiety
  • “Know More About” information 
  • And much more!

Does Ketamine Therapy Help Anxiety?

Studies show that ketamine is more helpful for social anxiety and generalized anxiety. 

It also shows great responses in people with anxiety and depression. There aren’t enough studies to understand its effects on obsessive compulsive disorders. 

Ketamine for Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)

Know More About: Social Anxiety Disorder
In social anxiety disorder (SAD), people feel extremely fearful or distressed in social situations. 
They fear behaving in a way that might make people view them negatively. These feelings should be present over many months. (You can learn more here)

Also Check Out: 15 Best Free Apps For Anxiety and Depression

A study investigated the effect of ketamine use on people with diagnosed SAD. And the results look promising! 

Participants found that their symptoms decreased within one hour of getting ketamine injections. They continued receiving ketamine over a few weeks. 

Researchers found that participants’ symptoms were 35%-50% better than when they started. Also, the results would last for up to about 1 week.

Ketamine for Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

Know More About: Generalized Anxiety Disorder
In generalized anxiety disorder, people excessively worry about many everyday things and situations. They might also feel restless, have muscle tension and much more.
This excessive worry persists for several months. (You can learn more here)

The effects of ketamine on GAD alone are kind of tricky to understand. 

This is because most of the studies to date were working with participants who had both GAD and SAD. A lot of people can have both disorders at the same time. 

Ketamine has worked to reduce anxious symptoms in participants with both GAD and SAD. This shows us a high chance of people with GAD responding well to ketamine. 

It is important to talk to a medical professional before getting these treatments. 

Related: Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Ketamine for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Know More About: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder 

In OCD, people can have unwanted and repetitive thoughts, images or urges (obsessions). They can also have compulsions. Compulsions are repetitive behaviors that you feel pressured into doing. (You can learn more here)
Important: OCD is not a part of the anxiety disorders in DSM-5 and onwards. It has its own category. 
The DSM-5-TR is an important tool used by professionals for mental health disorders. 

The study for investigating the effects of ketamine on OCD is pretty interesting. This study was a double blind, crossover-trial. Sounds confusing and technical but don’t worry, I’ll explain it. 

It means two things:

  1. The scientists who were giving treatments to the participants did not know the treatment. 
  2. The participants in the study did not know what they were being given. This information was kept private until the end of the experiment. 

The researchers planned to give ketamine (or another control medication with no effect) to people with OCD once a week over the span of many weeks. 

But they found huge results in the initial phase of their study!Ketamine was able to reduce OCD symptoms in patients. Also, the reduced symptoms lasted for over one week! 

Half of the participants found that their symptoms decreased by 35% since they began the treatment. There aren’t many studies to investigate and confirm the effect of Ketamine on OCD but the results make us hopeful. 

Ketamine for Anxiety Disorders and Treatment Resistant Depression (TRD)

Know More About: Treatment Resistant Depression
This kind of depression can be severe. The person’s depression is not getting better through the usual antidepressant medicines. (You can learn more here)
A person who has anxiety is also very likely to have depression as well. In other words, anxiety and depression are highly comorbid. Also, medical professionals usually treat both problems together. 

Many studies show that ketamine is very effective for both anxiety and TRD. 

Even if the volunteers found their symptoms coming back, they were not severe. These participants said that their symptoms were much worse before they started ketamine. 

It is important to tell you that ketamine is effective if it is repeatedly given on a weekly basis. Also, giving a bigger dose of ketamine did not help decrease the symptoms any better. 

Also Check Out: When is Couples Therapy not Appropriate?

What to know about Ketamine Therapy for Anxiety. 

Does Ketamine Therapy Help Anxiety? What to know about Ketamine Therapy for Anxiety

There are alot of things you need to think about before considering ketamine therapy for anxiety. Here are some of the things to look out for:

1. Ketamine is not the First Treatment for Anxiety Disorders

Medical professionals do not recommend ketamine as the first treatment for anxiety disorders. 

They will most likely give you other medicines. Professionals can even recommend psychotherapy for your anxiety. They have been well studied and have a much higher chance of working for you. 

It is also important to know that normal anxiety is very different from anxiety disorders. 

In a disorder, their feelings might be too much for someone to handle. They might avoid such situations on purpose. Or, they might continue to be in that situation with a lot of anxiety and distress. 

These conditions are diagnosed by doctors and other medical professionals. 

2. Lack of Evidence 

There are very few studies that talk about ketamine’s effects on people with anxiety disorders. In this case, it is really difficult to know how much ketamine is needed and how long this will work. 

We also don’t know much about its long term effects on people with anxiety disorders. This is why it is important to talk to medical professionals about the risks of ketamine. 

Key Takeaway

Ketamine is a really effective drug for depression. There are now studies looking into its effects on anxiety. 

The studies are few but they show a high chance of ketamine working for a lot of anxiety disorders. This can include social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder. Ketamine also works for anxiety with treatment resistant depression. 

Be careful when thinking about ketamine therapy for use because it is not well studied. It is also not the first line of treatment for anxiety disorders. 

Always talk to a medical professional about your treatment options.

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