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How Ketamine Can Help Break the Cycle of Anxiety and Fear 

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety disorders (including panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, agoraphobia, specific phobia, social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder and separation anxiety disorder) impact an estimated 19% of adults in the United States at any given time. 

Research also shows that nearly one third of adults in the U.S. will experience an anxiety disorder at some time in their lives.  As you can imagine, adults with anxiety disorders can experience significant impairment in their ability to function at work, at school, and at home. Anxiety decreases quality of life and can negatively affect all sorts of relationships.  That’s a lot of people whose lives would be improved if they could conquer anxiety.

Standard anxiety treatments include psychotherapy and anti-anxiety medications. Types of medication commonly used to treat anxiety include certain types of antidepressants, buspirone, beta blockers, and sedatives (e.g benzodiazepines and antihistamines). Antidepressants and buspirone may be useful but generally take weeks or months to work. Beta blockers suppress the physical response to anxiety but not the feeling. They also may have side-effects like dizziness or make it difficult to exercise. Sedatives interfere with daily life like driving and working. Some, like benzodiazepines, are highly addictive and may contribute to cognitive decline as we age. Behavioral therapy should be a part of any treatment program but sometimes it isn’t enough by itself.

We often talk about how ketamine can offer significant improvements in treatment-resistant depression, but can it help conquer anxiety, too?  Yes!  

One Patient’s Experience with Conquering Anxiety

But you don’t have to take our word for it…. 

Here is one patient’s story: 

Sue (not her real name) developed severe anxiety after the birth of her first child. She was prescribed an antidepressant and an anti-anxiety medication. When she came to our office, Sue had been taking benzodiazepines (alprazolam and/or diazepam) for nearly 15 years.  She started ketamine treatment in our office and was able to wean off the benzodiazepines over about 3 months. When she went to her primary care physician for her next checkup, they asked what she was taking for anxiety.  Her response, “Nothing. I don’t need anything.  I don’t have anxiety anymore.  It’s gone.” 

One patient’s experience is great but is there any data? Yes, again!  

What the Studies Show About Ketamine Treatment

Many studies have looked at the use of ketamine for treating anxiety. A recent meta-analysis looked at 14 different studies of ketamine treatment for different types of anxiety including social anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and treatment-resistant anxiety.   

Their conclusion?  Low-dose ketamine is an effective and fast-acting medication that reduces anxiety within a few hours of a single administration – and the effects can last up to 2 weeks.  

So, how does ketamine treatment work?  We recently blogged about how ketamine can help rewire the brain, a process called neuroplasticity.   

Creating new connections between cells is essential in learning, memory and emotional behavior.  These new connections allow us to change our patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving.  Check out our neuroplasticity blog here.

Taking the First Step Towards Anxiety Treatment

Ketamine has a solid safety record when administered under the supervision of a physician who knows about appropriate dosing and how to address potential side effects.  Dr. Tamara Stoner is a board-certified anesthesiologist, who is also fellowship trained in integrative medicine.  She and her staff provide excellent care in a safe and supportive environment.  

Are you interested in taking the first step towards anxiety treatment?  We can help you conquer anxiety. Call Satori Integrative Medicine Clinic at 970-832-0800 or email us at [email protected] to schedule a consultation.