LOUISVILLE, Kentucky (WAVE) – In recent years, a new industry has emerged: ketamine clinics. Some people are benefiting from it, but some doctors are concerned that it is too unregulated.
Ketamine has been approved by the FDA as an anesthetic for decades, but it is also used illegally for its psychedelic effects.
In 2019, the FDA approved a derivative of ketamine to treat anxiety and depression. The drug is FDA-approved, so doctors can prescribe it off-label for the treatment of depression and anxiety.
Doctors now warn of increased availability at local clinics.
According to psychotherapists, ketamine affects the brain in many ways. It reduces inflammation, boosts feel-good chemicals, and helps create new neural pathways associated with habits and behaviors.
JC Kit Afable, co-founder of Serenity Health in St. Matthews, said his center has been providing ketamine for the past decade.
Afable believes ketamine’s biggest advantage is speed, with most antidepressants taking weeks to work.
“Ketamine, on the other hand, can make a difference with just one treatment,” Afable said. ” This drug, when properly dosed, can truly be life-changing. ”
Kathryn Walker, CEO of the Ketamine Center Revivalist in Anchorage, said patients had experiences that felt spiritual. Her center in Anchorage serves clients ages 12 to her 90s.
“Teenagers will say their brain can breathe. They’re not just constantly having thought processes that their brain can’t stop,” Walker said. “They feel like their heads are above the water again. They don’t feel like they’re drowning.”
For some patients, the effects of the drug are permanent, while for others it lasts for weeks, Walker said.
Side effects of ketamine include nausea, increased blood pressure, and disorientation.
“Can ketamine be abused? It can be,” said Walker. “Like everything else. So, especially for those of us doing oral therapy at home, it’s all about being in a controlled environment.”
Afable and Walker seek to avoid substance abuse in their clients by collecting medical records before approving treatment, ensuring clients are receiving services only in a controlled environment, and checking in at all times. There is
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