Why hasn’t my doctor told me about ketamine?

Despite two decades of research into ketamine’s use for mental health, many psychiatric providers are still unaware of its potential to help their clients.  We believe that this is largely in part due to the fact that this medication was originally FDA approved for anesthesia.  Due to safety concerns, many psychiatric providers are not qualified to administer it without additional training.  As a result, it has been overlooked by many as a potential option for their clients.  

Can ketamine really cause depression remission? 

Many patients experience relief from their symptoms of depression and anxiety at the conclusion of their initial series.  This is often described as remission.  However, there is no certainty as to how long remission will last for each individual.  Most clients find that within a few months their mood slowly begins to shift toward depression again but treatment with a single booster infusion can typically cause a return to remission of symptoms.  Some clients need infusions as often as once a month, some can go as long as three to six months.  Occasionally, people can go for years without needing additional treatments, but this is not typical.  

Why do you recommend lifestyle changes and therapy? Isn’t ketamine effective alone?  

Ketamine is very effective to treat depression and other conditions as an independent treatment.  However, our philosophy at Frequency Healing is less focused on simple symptom management and more focused on helping you find a path to healing specific to you.  Many of us have psychic wounds that may be causing our symptoms but through accessing different treatments like therapy, Compassion Coaching, bodywork, Somatic Experiencing, and Shamanic Healing, those wounds can heal.  The boost in mood created by ketamine is also an excellent opportunity to try new wellness methods like exercise, meditation, and life coaching.  Your brain after ketamine has an increased ability to make new connections, which helps these other practices be even more effective than they would be alone.  

Is ketamine a psychedelic? 

Yes and no.  The term psychedelic is derived from Greek words meaning “mind” and “to manifest” translating roughly into “mind manifesting.” It is a term that has come to be associated with substances like psilocybin mushrooms, peyote, ayahuasca, and LSD that can create novel experiences and even hallucinations.  Often associated with the counterculture of the 1960’s, many of these substances have been used for ritual healing for centuries and in recent decades have been the subjects of a great deal of research.  Their use in clinical mental health work has recently been deemed a “Psychedelic Renaissance” given their popularity and new, evidence-based applications in treating mental health conditions.  Ketamine is often included in this category but unlike these other substances, it has had FDA approval for use in anesthesia for over 50 years.  

Will it make me “high?"

Ketamine creates a mental experience that is unlike anything else most people have experienced.  This is often described as “feeling high” or otherwise intoxicated.  However, the sensations experienced can vary in quality and intensity among individuals and even for the same individual from session to session. The medication is cleared form the nervous system quickly, so effects are primarily felt during the infusion (typically 50 minutes). Once the infusion is complete, the sensation begins to dissipate immediately and people feel back to normal by the time they leave, usually about 20 minutes later.  

Can I have a “bad trip” with ketamine? 

 A “bad trip” is parlance for a negative dissociative experience while being treated with ketamine.  Many people have heard of such experiences with psychedelic substances such as psilocybin mushrooms or LSD or “acid.” Ketamine is an experience distinct from these substances but does have the potential to feel unpleasant.  Luckily, unlike other substances, ketamine only creates this effect while the infusion is taking place (often around 50 minutes) whereas psilocybin or LSD experiences can last for 8-12 hours.  One way we reduce the chances of negative experiences is by providing a pleasant, safe environment.  

What is “set and setting?" 

Set and setting refers to your intentional mindset prior to your ketamine experience and the environment it occurs in.  The experience can be impacted, both positively or negatively, by these conditions.  At Frequency Healing we strive to create feelings of safety and have intentionally created a treatment space that is relaxing, peaceful, and feels safe for our clients.      

Is ketamine FDA approved? 

Ketamine is currently FDA approved in intravenous and intermuscular forms for the use in anesthesia and sedation only.  It’s use in treating mental health is considered “off label” but there is a great deal of quality scientific data to demonstrate its efficacy and safety for mental health applications.  However, Spravato (esketamine) is a nasal spray of a specific ketamine molecule that does have FDA approval for treatment resistant depression.

Do you accept health insurance? 

Not at this time.  Some insurances will reimburse for ketamine infusion, and we are happy to provide you with superbill documentation that can be sent to your insurance companies.  Service-connected veterans may also be compensated by the VA for ketamine infusions with a superbill.  We understand that ketamine infusion therapy is expensive, but we will work with you to find a payment solution that works.  As about options like CareCredit!

I have heard that ketamine helps with chronic pain.  Can you treat chronic pain? 

Ketamine therapy that is specific for chronic pain treatment requires longer infusions and higher doses.  At Frequency Healing Clinic we are not currently set up to administer these types of infusions safely.  We are happy to refer you to other providers that specialize in pain management.  However, many individuals who suffer from chronic pain also struggle with things like depression and anxiety.  If your overall physical health allows, we can often treat your mental health issues with ketamine infusion therapy and your chronic pain may improve as a side effect of that treatment. 

Can I bring someone with me to my infusion? 

Ketamine infusions can be disorienting so we encourage people to bring a “supportive other” to their infusion appointments.  This person can be a partner, family member, or trusted friend.  However, we encourage you to select this person carefully and choose someone who will be able to support you emotionally and not create stress during your experience.   

I don’t have a ride home; can I take a cab? 

For safety reasons, you must have a ride home with a family member, caregiver, or friend.  That person must come into our clinic, sign you out, and escort you out to the vehicle.   

Who is ketamine not appropriate for? 

Because ketamine can increase blood pressure, it is not safe for anyone with uncontrolled or inadequately controlled blood pressure or severe active heart problems.  Ketamine can also be irritating to the bladder, so must be used carefully in individuals with bladder conditions.  Ketamine is not appropriate for Bipolar Mania or for people who experience or are being treated for psychosis.   

I’m suicidal. Can you help me? 

If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming yourself, please contact a suicide prevention hotline or go to the nearest Emergency Room.  Frequency Healing is not equipped to provide emergency ketamine treatment.  If you currently struggle with or have struggled with suicidal thoughts in the past, we can work with your mental health provider to determine if ketamine will be helpful for you.  

Suicide and Crisis Lifeline: 
Dial 988
Hours: Available 24 hours. Languages: English, Spanish

Oregon Crisis Resources