• For 24/7 Treatment Help Call

    (800) 526-5053

  • Ketamine is a dissociative hallucinogen used illicitly as a recreational party drug and legally as an anesthetic. In recent years, ketamine has also become popular in the treatment of mental illness and chronic pain.

    A ketamine treatment center provides scheduled intravenous infusions that can relieve symptoms for days or weeks. Ketamine is only used as a treatment after other methods have failed. More research is needed to determine the long-term effects of ketamine infusion therapy. 

    What Does Ketamine Treat?

    Ketamine is currently FDA-approved only to be used as anesthesia for surgery in humans and animals. However, some doctors are using ketamine “off-label” in people who haven’t found success with other treatment methods. 

    Off-label use of ketamine may include:

    • major depression
    • anxiety
    • obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
    • post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
    • mood disorders (including bipolar disorder)
    • fibromyalgia
    • regional pain syndrome 
    • post-operative pain

    Although it has been used to treat bipolar disorder, it is not used if the person is currently experiencing mania or psychosis. 

    Ketamine is gaining popularity for the treatment of severe depression because of its rapid effects. Antidepressant medication typically takes weeks to relieve most symptoms of depression. Ketamine infusions may quickly alleviate suicidal ideations and other serious symptoms. 

    However, inform your doctor of your medical history before starting ketamine treatment. 

    The following psychiatric and medical conditions are risk factors that may cause adverse reactions: 

    • psychosis
    • intracranial pressure
    • pregnancy
    • high blood pressure
    • cardiovascular disease
    • history of adverse reaction to ketamine

    Once a doctor determines ketamine is a valid treatment option, they will begin a schedule for ketamine infusions. 

    What Is Ketamine Infusion Therapy?

    Ketamine is available as a pill, powder, and injectable liquid. Ketamine treatment centers provide intravenous (IV) infusions on a tapered schedule. The effects of the infusions can last a few days or weeks. 

    The following is what a typical treatment plan may look like:

    • week 1, three infusions
    • week 2, two infusions
    • weeks 3-5, one infusion per week
    • maintenance infusions 1x month as needed

    Is Ketamine Treatment Safe?

    Although some doctors have begun using ketamine infusions, research is still limited on its long-term effects. Long-term use of ketamine is associated with a risk of abuse and physical dependence, which may lead to addiction in some people. 

    Along with dependence and addiction, ketamine may also increase the risk of the following:

    • bladder problems
    • high blood pressure
    • rapid heart rate
    • nausea 
    • vomiting
    • feeling disconnected
    • altered perceptions 
    • brain damage

    Ketamine infusions administer low doses of the drug in a controlled setting under the supervision of medical professionals. Despite its risks, ketamine may be an effective treatment in people with treatment-resistant depression and severe psychological symptoms.

    Ketamine Treatment Limitations

    Although ketamine is showing promise as a treatment for depression and other psychiatric disorders, it isn’t without limitations.

    Ketamine infusions may provide therapeutic benefits for weeks in some people. However, the effects may wear off within days in some people. This would require more frequent treatment sessions and longer exposure to the drug. 

    More frequent treatment sessions can also make ketamine a very expensive treatment option. The pricing of a single ketamine infusion is between $300-450 per session.

    Ketamine may also increase mania and psychosis in people who are at risk of experiencing these symptoms. In addition, high doses of ketamine are associated with brain damage. Although ketamine is given in extremely low doses, long-term exposure may increase the risk for adverse effects. 

    Side-Effects Of Ketamine Infusions

    When ketamine is administered intravenously, the effects occur almost immediately. Ketamine is a dissociative hallucinogen that can cause altered perceptions and a sense of disconnection. 

    Ketamine infusions may also cause the following side effects:

    • increased heart rate
    • high blood pressure
    • altered sense of time, colors, textures, and noises
    • blurry vision
    • out-of-body experience

    Ketamine treatment may be beneficial in improving the quality of life in individuals with severe psychiatric disorders or chronic pain. However, it also poses a risk for dependence and addiction. 

    Informing your healthcare provider of your substance abuse and mental health history can help them make the best decision for your treatment. 

    If you or a loved one is interested in learning more about our treatment programs, please contact us today to speak with a specialist. 

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2023 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    American Psychiatric Nurses Association - Ketamine Infusion Therapy
    Harvard Health Publishing - Ketamine For Major Depression- New Tool, New Questions
    PSYCOM - Ketamine For Depression

    Medically Reviewed by
    Davis Sugar, M.D.
    on July 9, 2022
    Questions About Treatment?

    Ark Behavioral Health offers 100% confidential substance abuse assessment and treatment placement tailored to your individual needs. Achieve long-term recovery.

    100% confidential. We respect your privacy.
    Prefer Texting?

    Our friendly support team is here to chat 24/7. Opt out any time.


    Our Facilities

    Premier Drug Rehab & Mental Health Care Facilities In Massachusetts & Ohio

    Bedrock Recovery

    Canton, MA

    • Medical detox
    • Inpatient & Residential Treatment
    • Primary Mental Health Care
    • Movie Theater & Fitness Center

    Learn More

    Northeast Addictions

    Quincy, MA

    • Day treatment program
    • Intensive Outpatient Program
    • Full-Day Group Therapy
    • Easy Access to Public Transit

    Learn More

    Spring Hill Recovery Center

    Ashby, MA

    • Residential Treatment
    • Gender-Specific Residencies
    • Outdoor Recreation
    • Expansive 70-Acre Campus

    Learn More

    Ohio Recovery Center

    Van Wert, OH

    • Medical Detox
    • Residential Treatment
    • Primary Mental Health Care
    • 55-Acre Campus

    Learn More

    For Immediate Treatment Help Call 800-526-5053