PTSD can dramatically affect your life and your health, as well as the lives of the people who love you. It can also be difficult to treat. The good news: Ketamine therapy offers real hope for people suffering from PTSD. Here’s how it works.

Shell shock. Combat fatigue. War neurosis. With nicknames like these floating around, it’s no wonder that, for a long time, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was considered a problem that only affected military personnel. Today, researchers know better.

The real facts: PTSD can – and does – affect anyone, and about 10% of Americans will suffer from PTSD at some point during their lives. PTSD is a type of anxiety disorder, and like other anxiety disorders, it can be treated. But because it affects different people in different ways, effective treatment can be difficult to find. At Colorado Recovery Solutions, our team offers state-of-the-art ketamine therapy to help patients in Northwest Colorado Springs and Colorado Springs, Colorado, overcome PTSD and its disabling symptoms. If you’ve been diagnosed with PTSD, here’s how ketamine therapy could help you.

PTSD: The basics

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that develops following exposure to a traumatic event, causing intense feelings of anxiety, dread, and other symptoms that last long after the event has ended. While most people who develop PTSD experience these symptoms firsthand, you can also develop PTSD secondhand, for instance, PTSD could occur after you learn of a traumatic event that happened to someone close to you. Some people develop PTSD after prolonged or repeated exposure to traumatic events, like child abuse or sexual abuse. PTSD causes an array of symptoms, including:

  • Nightmares
  • Flashbacks
  • Mood changes, including irritability or sadness
  • Intense fear or dread
  • Depression
  • Sensation of detachment or estrangement from other people
  • Intense reactions to noises, touch, or other stimuli
  • Avoidance of situations or people that trigger traumatic thoughts

In order to be diagnosed with PTSD, you need to experience several symptoms that last a month or more.

Antidepressant medicines combined with cognitive behavioral therapy are considered first-line treatment options for people with PTSD, but unfortunately, they often prove ineffective in helping patients find meaningful symptom relief. More recently, ketamine has emerged as a potential treatment option that works well where antidepressant medications have failed.

How ketamine works to treat PTSD

Ketamine has been around for some time, but only recently have researchers been exploring it as a potential therapy for depression and anxiety disorders like PTSD. Historically, ketamine has been used as an anesthetic, helping patients stay relaxed and asleep during surgery. Unlike antidepressant medicines that work on specific neurotransmitters, like serotonin or dopamine, ketamine acts on a brain chemical called glutamate, which plays an important role in regulating mood.

Glutamate also plays a role in PTSD symptoms (and other anxiety disorders). When glutamate is “dysregulated,” feelings of anxiety and depression increase. By controlling glutamate in your brain, ketamine helps reduce symptoms, often dramatically. Ketamine may also help by optimizing nerve signaling in the brain, a process disrupted by PTSD. And finally, recent research shows ketamine may help the brain grow new neural connections, enhancing signaling essential for mood regulation. Together, these effects have been shown not only to relieve anxiety, but also to reduce thoughts of suicide, a common effect of PTSD.

Fast acting

One big benefit of ketamine: It works quickly. In fact, many patients report a reduction in symptoms within hours of their therapy. Its effects last for a few weeks, but ongoing therapy can help maintain its benefits. Combined with cognitive behavioral therapy, ketamine therapy can help PTSD sufferers reduce their anxiety symptoms and learn healthy, positive behaviors and thought processes.

Learn more about ketamine therapy

Ketamine therapy can be an effective treatment for PTSD and other mental health issues, too, including other types of anxiety disorders and depression that haven’t responded to other treatments. At Colorado Recovery Solutions, we approach treatment from an individual, patient-centered perspective, tailoring every treatment plan to the unique needs of each patient. To learn more about ketamine therapy and other treatment options for PTSD, call 719-622-6522 or book an appointment online today.