PREPARING FOR A KETAMINE INFUSION

May 9, 2022 by Steve Suntala
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Ketamine infusions offer a unique healing opportunity for people who suffer from mental health conditions

  • Depression
  • PTSD
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Anxiety

Biochemical changes in the brain are the primary reason for the initial relief but the psychological experience is often a reason for lasting remissions. In this article, we offer some advice on how to get the most out of your ketamine treatments with preparation and integration strategies.

It is recommended to prepare both your body and mind prior to the infusion.

Examples could include detoxing from alcohol and negative content consumption on the internet and TV or avoiding stressful situations. The insights gained during the infusion will more likely be integrated into your life after your treatments if you have a goal for your sessions and engage in healthy practices like therapy, exercise, journaling, or self-reflection.

Ketamine is known to give an opportunity for you to positively alter your perception of yourself and the world around you. Inner realizations hidden within your mind may be unearthed, trauma buried may be released and let go.

So how can you get the most out of a ketamine treatment? Preparing for the Experience

Ketamine treatments can create an altered state of consciousness. It is vital to remember what you see, hear, and feel during treatment is coming from your own subconscious mind.  Preparation of the body and mind increases the likelihood of a good experience and experiencing lasting change after treatments are over.

Detoxify

Ideally you want to come into the experience as “clean” as possible. Ketamine alters your mood and mind.  Therefore, you want to try to detox from substances, activities, and items which can affect both. Avoid stimulants and depressants as this could alter your experience (if you are on these medications already, do not change how you take them unless you are under the guidance of your doctor). Try to minimize digital content and TV that is stressful, negative, or violent. Dozens of studies have proven the damaging effects of toxic social media usage and negative news. The day before and the day of treatment be aware of what you drink, eat, watch, and read as all of this can affect your body and mind.

Healthy Practices

  • Writing down goals; Many patients benefit by writing down goals for the treatment. You may also want to write down what you learned from the infusion, so that you can review it by yourself later or bring it up with a therapist or integration coach. Revelations can be fleeting, so it is important that you write them down as soon as possible.
  • Meditation can help prepare to quiet the mind. Being able to focus on your breath and center yourself will keep you open to the feelings, experiences, emotions, and insights you may have missed or not been ready to receive otherwise. If you have never meditated, taking time to reflect on your thoughts without other distractions is a good start.
  • Therapy that is done at the same time as Ketamine treatments is scientifically shown to increase the effectiveness of treatments and the length of remission. It is particularly important for patients suffering from PTSD, anxiety disorders, and substance abuse.
  • Exercise and a relatively healthy diet have been shown in hundreds of studies to increase mental wellness and remain critical components for retaining progress made during Ketamine treatments. While we don’t recommend starting dramatically new exercise routines or diets during treatments, we know diet and exercise is essential for aftercare.

Set Your Intention for Each Infusion

What is an intention? It is an idea with a specific goal for guiding your thoughts. For some, intentions are the same as the outcomes they want from the ketamine treatments. For others, intentions are a simple phrase to ground them in an altered state.  Here are some examples:

  • “Trust the experience”
  • “Gratitude”
  • “Relax and Let Go”
  • “I can fix myself”

In case you are experiencing something challenging, you can take a deep breath and come back to your intention for a calming influence.

PREPARING BEFORE THE INFUSION IS IMPORTANT. THE KEY DURING THE INFUSION – JUST LET GO. ALL THE PREPARATION IS DONE, SIMPLY GO WITH THE EXPERIENCE AND BE OPEN TO WHATEVER IS REVEALED.

INTEGRATION: Make New Knowledge, New Action

How can you make a profound experience during your ketamine treatment a lasting change in your life to continue to feel better? Through Integration!

WHAT IS “INTEGRATION”?

Integration is processing and acting on revelations and lessons you learned during the ketamine infusion. When reflecting on your ketamine treatment, you can analyze what you experienced and sense changes that are possible for your daily life. This is the most powerful tool Ketamine offers for making lasting positive change in your life.  For most people this can be amplified by writing down your ideas and working with a therapist or integration specialist.

Take Advantage of The Neuroplasticity

Immediately following your treatments, we suggest setting new intention with what you have learned. Your mind is overflowing with original thought from the insights gained during the treatment. Ketamine is proven to create neuroplasticity in the brain, a physical state where new neural pathways can be easily created. New neural pathways (thought patterns) will have a lasting impact in the brain far beyond the effects of the Ketamine. It is the perfect time to convert that creative mind state into action. Here are some examples of new intentions that can jumpstart integration:

  • “I can let go of the past”
  • “I am worthy of being happy and healthy”
  • “Take better care of myself”
  • “I will be more grateful”

WHAT CAN I DO TO ENHANCE MY INTEGRATION?

Leave time for yourself to relax and process for at least a couple of hours after the infusions. Patients have had success with the following activities:

  • Pay attention to your intuition or “gut feelings” after a profound ketamine experience. You may feel like you see or “know” more. That’s your intuition or subconscious communicating with your conscious mind.
  • Contemplate old routines, habits, and unhealthy behaviors that you want to change.
  • Express what you experienced through writing or art.
  • Talk with supportive, trustworthy friends and family. Be careful that their opinions don’t overpower your own interpretation of the experience.
  • Start a new routine – hiking, exercise, adding more nutrients into your diet, or eliminating something unhealthy from your diet. Take advantage of the inspirational mindset.
  • Meditate – You might notice new abilities and tools to enhance your meditation practice after your infusion. After facing inner conflict or experiencing deep connections with Ketamine, you might notice how meditation can give you a similar experience on demand!
  • Have an appointment set up with your counselor, therapist, or integration coach scheduled the day of or after your infusion to process whatever may have come up.

RECCOMENDATIONS ON WHAT TO AVOID AFTER YOUR INFUSION:

  • Don’t take what you saw and experienced literally – the subconscious experience during Ketamine infusions is often abstract and symbolic like a dream.
  • Don’t make dramatic life changes immediately. Inspiration and the urge to take immediate action is common after treatments. Please concentrate on reasonable and incremental changes. Dramatic changes will often result in stress that is counter-productive to healing.
  • Avoid Over-stimulation, work, chores, and stressful situations immediately after the infusion. It takes a while to regain normal consciousness and would also waste a golden opportunity for reflection and growth.

PATIENTIENCE WITH YOURSELF IS NECESSARY, BUT YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR LASTING CHANGE

You will not always have an insightful ketamine-induced altered state, or remember it clearly. Other times in the days after the treatment you might lose the motivation to make the changes you wanted.  That is okay. Be patient with yourself, it is a healing journey not a race. As the days go by after your infusion, you may gradually gain greater clarity on the experience that wasn’t immediately available.

It is important to also remember that Ketamine allows you to have powerful psychological change, but the change comes from within you. The experience during the ketamine treatment only showed you the power of unlocking your own subconscious and wisdom.  The desire and motivation to make the change is the strongest immediately after your infusion and weakens over time.  Integration is crucial to extending the benefits beyond the physical effects of Ketamine.

The healing and changes you want require dedication, ownership, and action. Everyone is capable of this with the right tools, support, and planning. Ketamine may not be the right tool for you, but if it is you know how to plan for and support it.

Want to find out if ketamine infusion therapy as offered by New Pathways Clinic in Cleveland is right for you? Allow us to be of service! Simply click on this link and sign-up for a complimentary phone consultation to discuss your needs and situation – we promise honesty and confidentiality always.

 

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Our mission at New Pathways Clinic is to create a holistic mental wellness campus for the greater Cleveland region, combining cutting-edge treatments like Ketamine infusions and Spravato with health professionals specialized in providing accompanying therapy and lifestyle education. We strive to grow and adapt as the scientific body of research continues to expand and diversify for innovative mental health treatments that will lead Cleveland into a healthier future.