Ketamine is an anesthetic but is also used to treat PTSD. This use was discovered accidentally in the 90s when soldiers injured in the Iraq war were given ketamine as an anesthetic. Those given ketamine as an anesthetic were found to be significantly less likely to develop PTSD than those given other anesthetics. To understand how ketamine can help with PTSD, we must first understand what causes PTS
PTSD: An Extreme Emotional Hijacking
Post-traumatic stress disorder is an extreme form of “emotional hijacking,” a phenomenon termed by Daniel Goldman in his book “Emotional Intelligence.”
How PTSD Develops
When you experience some traumatic event that causes you a lot of emotional turmoil, your amygdala (the “emotional brain”) gets activated and releases adrenal stress hormones. These hormones tell the brain to collect as much information about the event as possible. The amygdala stores this information as possible signs of danger to avoid similar trauma in the future. These “emotional memories” are separate from your cognitive memories and can only be accessed by the amygdala.
What Causes a PTSD Trigger?
When your senses pick up something similar to the memories associated with the incident, your amygdala instantly gets triggered. It takes over your brain to protect you from going through that trauma again. It releases stress hormones, triggers the fight or flight response, and gets your body ready. You’re mostly in control of your emotional brain in this state, and your rational brain is only an outlooker. This response probably worked great against hissings of saber tooth tigers, but in the modern world, it does more harm than good.
How Ketamine Infusion Therapy Can Help PTSD
One of the most effective therapies for PTSD is emotional reprogramming. The patient sits in a safe environment and is exposed to their triggers. The goal is to make the amygdala associate positive emotions with the trigger so that it’s not a trigger anymore. The biggest risk with this treatment is the trigger itself. It can be different for the patient to relive their trauma even if they’re reminded they’re in a safe environment. This is where Ketamine Infusion Therapy can help. Ketamine blocks the NMDA-glutamate receptors in the brain. These receptors play a critical role in triggers related to emotional memory. By blocking NMDA-glutamate receptors, ketamine keeps the amygdala from taking over and helps people with PTSD cognitively recognize that their triggers are not a threat.MD MATT is a Suboxone clinic in Baltimore that helps people fight addiction, depression, and PTSD. We also offer Ketamine Infusion Therapy and heroin and alcohol addiction treatment in Owings Mills. Want to treat PTSD with minimal risk? Book a same-day appointment now.