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  • Writer's pictureDr. Arsalan Azam

A Guide To Ketamine Infusion Therapy After-Care

Updated: Nov 1, 2023

Ketamine infusion therapy can provide amazing therapeutic benefits for those diagnosed with severe chronic pain, depression, or anxiety disorders. However, if you are like most people, you may be wondering what to expect during the infusion process and what kind of after-care is necessary.

What Is Ketamine Therapy?

Ketamine is a medication that has been used for decades in operating and emergency rooms as an anesthetic. More recently, it has gained a reputation for its clinical off-label use in treating mental health disorders, including treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, and suicidal ideations.

Ketamine therapy is mainly recommended for people who have not responded to traditional treatments like medication and therapy.

What Happens During an Infusion?

Ketamine infusion therapy is typically administered on an outpatient basis, which means you will be able to go home the same day. Before your infusion, you will meet with your ketamine provider to determine if you’re a good candidate for ketamine therapy.

Once you’re cleared for treatment, your doctor will schedule you for an infusion. As the name suggests, ketamine infusion therapy is administered in small controlled doses through an IV line placed in your arm.

During the infusion, you will be asked to sit or lie down in a comfortable position as ketamine works its magic. You will be closely monitored by medical staff throughout the infusion, which typically lasts between 40 and 60 minutes.

Most people report feeling relaxed or dreamy during the infusion process. Some people may also experience mild side effects, such as nausea, vomiting, or dizziness, which can be managed easily using medication.

Immediately following your infusion, you will be monitored in a recovery area for about 30 minutes to one hour, after which you will be free to leave. During this period, you can expect to feel drowsy and may even fall asleep.

Your doctor may schedule follow-up infusions after a few days or weeks, depending on your treatment goals and how well you respond to the initial treatment.

After-Care Tips

There are a few things you can do to ensure a stress-free post-treatment experience. First, it’s important to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids both before and after your infusion.

It’s also advisable that you do not drive or operate heavy machinery for the rest of the day after your infusion. Instead, make sure you have someone to drive you home.

It is also a good idea to take it easy for the rest of the day and avoid strenuous activity. Most people bounce back quickly and may be ready to resume their normal lives in a few hours. However, people react differently to ketamine therapy, so it’s essential to listen to your body and take things at your own pace.

Eating a light meal after the infusion can also help avoid unnecessary nausea or vomiting. You may also want to avoid alcohol intake for at least 48 hours before and after treatment.

Some patients may also report feeling introspective, confused, or vulnerable after ketamine infusion. This is because ketamine can induce a trance-like state and cause you to re-experience past traumas or painful memories. While this sets the stage for deep healing, it can also be unsettling and overwhelming. Working with an integration coach or therapist can help you process these emotions safely.

Overall, ketamine infusion therapy is a safe and promising treatment option for a wide variety of mental health and chronic pain conditions. And with a little bit of preparation and after-care, you can minimize potential side effects.

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