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A Transformational Approach to Mental Health & Pain Treatment

Ketamine Therapy

Are you looking for ketamine treatment in Portland, Oregon? Ketamine has been used as an anesthetic around the world since its FDA approval in 1970. It has been used extensively for pediatric and adult treatment in surgical applications, emergency departments, ambulances, trauma medicine, and combat zones. It is also commonly used in veterinary medicine. It is so widely used that the World Health Organization even lists it as one of the most essential medicines due to its therapeutic effects and the wide margin of safety. 

Research in the last two decades done by institutions like Yale University and the National Institutes of Health has identified ketamine as an important breakthrough in the treatment of mood disorders and chronic pain. 

How does ketamine therapy work?

Ketamine is an NMDA receptor antagonist, meaning that it affects the neurotransmitter known as glutamate. When ketamine increases the level of glutamate, this creates a cascade effect of increased neural activity and communication within the brain. This reawakens portions of the brain that have shut down to the symptoms of anxiety, depression, or trauma. Ketamine causes neuroplasticity, which means that it can effectively rewire parts of the brain thought to play a role in depression or mood disorders.

Ketamine may also interact with other receptors like GABA, G protein-coupled receptors, and the cholinergic receptors. Additionally, ketamine has an anti-inflammatory effect. It is thought that the dissociative effects of ketamine may play an important part in the healing process as well. When administered in the right doses and monitored by physicians, ketamine’s multiple mechanisms of action can create a rapid and effective treatment for a variety of mood and pain conditions.

A picture of a neuron. The neuron below shows new dendritic formations, or new neural growth, within just 2 hours of receiving ketamine treatment.

A CT scan of a human brain. After ketamine treatments, the depressed brain is almost identical to the non-depressed picture as new neural activity has awakened the depressed areas.

How does ketamine affect the brain?

Ketamine has been shown to reduce symptoms of mood disorders and chronic pain conditions alike. Unlike some other antidepressants that can take 3-6 weeks for the therapeutic effects to take place, ketamine is very rapid and for some can improve their depression within hours. Ketamine’s primary effect pathway is as a partial antagonist of the NMDA receptor and works on the glutamate system within the brain. It also increases BDNF within the brain, a protein that increases connections between neurons and is the cause of change or neuroplasticity within the brain. The antidepressant effects of ketamine-induced BDNF release was confirmed by a recent study. Ketamine is also active at a number of other neuroreceptor sites within the brain.

The amygdala is the part of the brain that handles fear and emotion. Ketamine can increase activity in the prefrontal cortex of the brain, the part of the brain responsible for executive control. By strengthening the connection between the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala, ketamine allows greater control over our emotional reactivity. This can be very helpful for mood disorders and for those who have a history or PTSD or childhood trauma. Ketamine sessions can allow ingrained habits of thought, feeling, perception and understanding to recede, diffuse and break down. It can disrupt rigid or maladaptive mental structures, loosen defense mechanisms and change self-narratives. In doing so, patients can develop new understandings and reclaim disconnected parts of themselves. Ketamine can foster greater access to the subconscious mind while also allowing greater self-acceptance, self-transcendence and an expanded sense of meaning in their lives.

Is ketamine therapy right for you?

Ketamine intramuscular therapy is at its best when it is paired with an individualized treatment plan, possibly including ketamine-assisted psychotherapy (KAP). Rainfall Medicine works with patients to develop comprehensive treatment plans that are right for each patient.

The staff at Rainfall Medicine will carefully observe you during your treatment session and ensure that you are responding positively to the treatment. Although some people report mild side effects, ketamine has been used around the world for decades in clinical settings and is safe when administered at small doses. Each patient will have a proper medical intake and screening to ensure that this treatment is appropriate for you.

To learn more about this exciting new treatment, schedule a free consultation with Rainfall Medicine today.

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