One of the known temporary side-effects of Ketamine infusion therapy is “dissociation”. This describes a mental state in which a person detaches, or becomes less aware of their actual surroundings and may think and feel in a manner that is not always based in reality. This can vary from mild to severe, but in general reflects a temporary state.
In the 1950’s and 1960’s much was made of research into psychedelic drugs, including LSD that produced a dissociative state. Experiments with college students in “consciousness expanding” and scientific studies looking at the effect on alcoholism and criminal activity were conducted. Even the CIA became involved in LSD research in the early 1960’s. Results were very favorable, but unfortunately, these have not been replicated, and research was shut down in the late 1960’s due to a change in attitude with drugs and concerns about abuse.
Shutting down formal research, however, did not dismiss people’s curiosity, and in the past decade psychedelic drugs such as LSD, MDMA, ayahuesca and Ketamine are all in the research forefront. What we know is these drugs offer tremendous therapeutic potential. Specifically, treatment of depression, PTSD as well as substance abuse, OCD and other anxiety disorders and even autism show promise with these therapeutic interventions.
Of the numerous options, Ketamine is offered in the most controlled environment, meeting medical and safety standards. But, for some people, the dissociative aspect is an obstacle for treatment. So, is this trip necessary? The short answer is it might be. Early research indicates the dissociative experience is needed for full benefit.
How can you become more tolerant of this experience if it is not “in your comfort zone”? Practice, practice, practice. One way to practice and learn to tolerate the experience is other activities that provide similar feelings. This includes meditation, prayer, relaxation and hypnosis. Many religious and cultural practices involve activities that promote a dissociative or hypnotic effect. These may offer ways to practice “letting go”, and allow you to maximize the benefit of your Ketamine treatment and enhance your wellness.
Another option involves any simple activity or behavior. Actions such as knitting, bouncing a ball, rocking or other repetitive motions often quiet and soothe the brain. If you focus on your breathing during these actions, you may experience a simple meditative state. This is good practice for Ketamine infusion therapy, and will assist in letting your mind go and allowing yourself to relax and fully benefit from your treatment.
At Ketamine Wellness Centers, we have a wide range of professionals and services to assist you. We are especially happy to be able to offer hypnotherapy, designed to guide you into an easier infusion if you struggle with “letting go”. Let our qualified staff assist you with all aspects of your treatment.
Dr. Ellen Diamond is the Clinical Psychologist for Ketamine Wellness Centers.