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What Is Psychedelic Psychotherapy?
Psychedelics, such as ketamine, works to dissociate the mind from the body giving us a glimpse into our unconscious even though one is fully aware throughout the process. The psychedelic experience allows the patient to uncover deep-rooted emotions without the accompanying negative sensations and unpleasant internal dialogue that often creates roadblocks to ones’ recovery. For many patients, this experience can act as a rapid and powerful catalyst for change that might otherwise take months or years to access and work through in more “traditional” therapeutic experiences.
Psychedelic Psychotherapy Benefits
How It Works
You are assessed by a Psychiatrist and evaluated in order to find out whether you would benefit from Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy.
You have completed Month 1/Package 1 and have responded well to the KAP sessions. You are entering month 2 and will be given three KAP sessions.
You have completed Month 2/Package 2 and have responded well to the KAP sessions. You will be given two KAP sessions this month as we taper off your doses.
You have completed Month 3/Package 3 and are responding well to the KAP sessions. You will be given only one and final KAP session this month, if this is what the Psychiatrist believes is the proper route for treatment, and you are finished with you KAP session therapy.
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Psychedelic Assisted Psychotherapy Costs
Frequently Asked Questions
At this time, ketamine is the only psychedelic legally available to be used for treatment in Pennsylvania. The literature indicates about a 70% initial response rate to ketamine. The remission rate (no active illness) for patients with treatment-resistant depression (failed multiple medications) is about 40% to 50%. However, there is still a percentage of patients who do not respond fully to treatment.
Ketamine is distinguished from typical psychiatric medications due to its RAPID onset which produces relief as soon as a few hours. Ketamine has a much quicker therapeutic response when compared to the weeks and months often necessary from other medications.
Ketamine works best when it is part of an integrated treatment program which includes psychotherapy, lifestyle changes, and sometimes other medications. Over time, you will likely need periodic psychedelic treatments to maintain remission.
The ketamine will be taken orally in the form of a medication (troche). Throughout the session, Dr. Zaman will be monitoring you and will make sure you are comfortable.
Patients often report feelings of love, peace, compassion, forgiveness, and a touch of euphoria. You will remain alert and aware of your body and surroundings. You will not lose any motor function. You will be able to talk during the session, but your perception and mental state will be altered.
We will encourage you to explore your mind while under ketamine and assist you in integrating your experiences afterwards. Patients may undergo a challenging session which is often necessary to overcome past traumatic experiences. Our therapists will support you throughout this process to bring insight and understanding of these experiences which will aid in your healing process.
Your experience will be unique to you and each of your sessions will be different. It is best to relax into the path that your ketamine experience unfolds. Many enjoy the journey and the psychedelic process that unfolds within these sessions. We expect that you will leave with greater insight into your yourself and your life.
There are now many studies that demonstrate ketamine can be an effective and rapid treatment for patients. Benefits often occur after only one treatment, although several treatments (especially in the first month) are required for a long-lasting response. You can stop treatment whenever you want, though it is recommended to go through at least 3 sessions before evaluating its success. Over time, you will likely need periodic treatments to maintain remission.
Before your first session, Dr. Zaman will do a thorough medical and psychiatric evaluation to assess if you qualify for treatment. Ketamine is NOT first-line treatment for Depression, PTSD, Anxiety, or other similar conditions. Thus, it is considered an OFF-LABEL use for many psychiatric conditions.
You will need to be medically cleared by your primary care doctor specifically regarding your cardiovascular and pulmonary functioning. You will need to complete all the required lab-work which includes, but is not limited to, a Complete Blood Count (CBC), Complete Metabolic Panel (CMP), Urinalysis, Thyroid Panel (TSH), B12, Folate, Urine Drug Screen (UDS), and when applicable, a pregnancy test. Dr. Zaman will review your medical chart and lab-work and if there are no absolute contraindications, then your treatment can begin.
Ketamine has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use as an anesthetic agent for many decades, and since 1985 has been on the World Health Organization’s (WHO) List of Essential Medicines. Ketamine is the most widely used anesthetic in the world and has an extensive safety record used on MILLIONS of adults, children, and infants at the much higher surgical dosages. It is even safer at the sub-anesthetic dosages administered during your sessions. Ketamine unlike other medications in its class, does not depress breathing or blood pressure.
To reason if you qualify for this therapy, you should understand enough about its risks and benefits to make an informed decision. Please do not eat or drink for at least the 6 hours before session. If you feel nauseas in the office, you will be offered an anti-nausea medication. Do not drive or engage in hazardous activities until all effects have stopped. You will be assessed for safety prior to leaving the office premises and a designated driver will be necessary to take you home.
Please consult Dr. Zaman if you are taking any current psychotropics, more specifically Benzodiazepines, Pregabalin, Gabapentin, or Lamotrigine which may blunt the antidepressant effects of ketamine. Opiates can alter the effects of ketamine and cannot be concurrently taken during treatment. Information on other medications interactions will be assessed throughout your intake session with Dr. Zaman.
If agitation occurs during a session, you may be offered an anxiolytic to help you relax. You will be asked to lie still because your sense of balance and coordination will be impaired until the effect has worn off. It is possible you may fall asleep; however, your visual, tactile, auditory processing, and sense of time will still be altered.
Please note other adverse effects may include inaccurate vision, slurred speech, mental confusion, excitability, anxiety, and nausea. Ketamine may also cause an elevation of pulse, double vision, rapid eye movements, feeling of pressure in eyes, and a loss of appetite.
In terms of psychological risk, ketamine has been shown to worsen certain psychotic symptoms in people who suffer from Schizophrenia or Bipolar disorder Type 1 (manic-depressive). It may also worsen underlying psychological problems in people with severe personality disorders.
Ketamine should not be used on patients with untreated High Blood Pressure or Heart Disease. An electrocardiogram (EKG) may be required for those with a history of arrhythmia or cardiovascular issues. The effects on the blood pressure are comparable to the increase that occurs with heavy exercise. If monitoring reveals that your blood pressure is too high, you may be offered an antihypertensive. If monitoring reveals your heart rate is too high, you may be offered a medication to control the heart rate.
Also, ketamine should not be used on patients with untreated Hyperthyroidism. In addition, there has been reports of some decrease in immune function in patients receiving surgical doses of ketamine (not seen in the sub-anesthetic doses). High dose, repeated, chronic abuse of ketamine has been shown to cause urinary tract symptoms and even permanent bladder dysfunction (this is very rare in medical use).
Since ketamine’s effect on an unborn child are undetermined, woman who are pregnant or are nursing should not receive treatment. Woman who are not using adequate birth control, will need to take a pregnancy test and will need to acknowledge the risks to an unborn fetus.
Ketamine is a controlled substance and a Schedule III substance under the Controlled Substance Act of 1970. Medical evidence regarding the issue of drug abuse and dependence suggests that ketamine’s abuse potential is equivalent to that of other hallucinogenic substances, which are low risk. However, cravings have been reported by some individuals and there are documented cases of overuse of illicitly obtained and diverted ketamine. In addition, ketamine can have effects on mood (feelings), cognition (thinking), and perception (imagery) that may make some people want to use it repeatedly.