Potential Benefits of Psychedelic Therapy

Stress, anxiety, and depression are all signs that you need some extra attention. From making more time for yourself to practicing routines that bring you comfort, there are many ways you can utilize self-care to help sustain and improve your mental health. The truth is that we all struggle in our own ways, so you’re not alone.

Self-care is part of maintaining a healthy life balance. When your daily self-care doesn’t feel like it’s helping enough, or you’ve been taking prescribed medicine that just doesn’t seem to get you where you need to be, legal psychedelic-assisted therapy could help as a catalyst for alleviating depression and anxiety. 

WHAT IS PSYCHEDELIC THERAPY

Psychedelic therapy may sound radical or even have you feeling a little worried based on the name, but psychedelic therapy is the practice of using a legal psychedelic substance in a medical setting to assist in the therapy process. This medicine is typically used as an anesthetic and is an essential tool used by emergency room staff to set bones and repair lacerations in children. It is considered very safe. In recent decades, it’s been shown to produce antidepressant effects at doses much lower than anesthetic dosing, and also promotes a psychedelic experience which is very useful for psychedelic-assisted therapy.

Hallucinogenic substances have been used for thousands of years across various cultures in traditional sacred healing rituals.  Currently, ketamine is the only legal psychedelic in the United States that can be used in a medical setting. Psychedelic psychotherapy researchers hypothesize that a significant aspect of the healing opportunity afforded by psychedelics comes from getting a break from your everyday point of view in order to see your life from a broader perspective. This expanded consciousness correlates with fMRI studies showing a temporary but very significant change in the default mode network (DMN), a network of information hubs that connect with one another in the brain. The DMN in depressed people commonly has a particular pattern of over-connectivity associated with negative thinking and rumination [1]. Research has shown that ketamine can alter the DMN toward a healthier pattern. 

During the psychedelic psychotherapy session, while under the immediate effects of ketamine, the DMN destabilizes, creating an important opportunity for you and your psychedelic therapist to investigate contributing factors which may be driving the symptoms of depression or PTSD, so you can mend these mental and emotional patterns. 

When other options have left you in a bind and your mental health is diminishing, ketamine therapy may work as a catalyst that leaves you feeling rejuvenated and ready to make the changes in your life that have been difficult for so long. 

WHAT IS KETAMINE AND HOW DOES IT HELP

Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic that can be used in psychedelic therapy to create an altered state which is conducive to processing the psychological underpinnings of depression, anxiety and trauma. Although the exact antidepressant mechanism remains theoretical, several effects have been noted in research that may play a role in its effectiveness. Ketamine has been shown to increase Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF) which is associated with sprouting new connections between neurons. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help lower levels of inflammation strongly associated with depression and PTSD.

Through the process of ketamine therapy, you can begin to target the root causes of chronic depression, anxiety, and more. 

BENEFITS OF PSYCHEDELIC THERAPY

Ketamine treatment offers new hope for folks who have not found benefits from more conventional treatments for mental health disorders. 

Ketamine’s unique effects on the brain have been explored by researchers asking “What is the antidepressant mechanism of ketamine?” Here is some of what we know about the chemical effects of ketamine: 

  • Boosted connectivity between neurons through increased BDNF – appears to reverse lower BDNF levels associated with chronic depression and PTSD [2]
  • Rapid benefits- antidepressant effect begins much faster vs. other antidepressants [2]
  • Default Mode Network “depressed pattern” normalization to “non-depressed pattern” [1]

Additionally, due to the unique opening afforded by psychotherapy in an altered state, a depth of healing that may take much longer in ordinary therapy becomes possible. If you’re curious about psychedelic therapy and potential treatments with ketamine, contact us today. Our team of experts can schedule an appointment, explain further how ketamine works, and help you prepare to take control of your mental health in a new way. 

We look forward to helping you discover all of the great benefits of psychedelic therapy.

References:

[1] Hamilton et al. Depressive Rumination, the Default-Mode Network, and the Dark Matter of Clinical Neuroscience. Biological Psychiatry. 2015 Aug 15;78(4):224-30.

[2] McIntyre, RS et al. Synthesizing the Evidence for Ketamine and Esketamine in Treatment-Resistant Depression: An International Expert Opinion on the Available Evidence and Implementation. American Journal of Psychiatry E Pub 2021 Mar 17 PMID: 33726522 doi: 10.1176/appi.ajp.2020.20081251.