Imagine a world where one can achieve relief from debilitating mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD within hours rather than weeks or months. Enter ketamine therapy, an off-label treatment that has shown promising results for patients who have not responded to traditional antidepressants. But do ketamine treatments get you high? Let’s unpack the reality behind this groundbreaking treatment and explore its potential benefits and risks.

Key Takeaways

  • Ketamine therapy is an effective treatment for depression and other mood disorders, with reported success rates between 55-75%.
  • It induces a psychedelic experience and works by helping individuals safely dissociate from their body and environment, allowing them to gain new perspectives on their mental health.
  • Plus by APN provides certified clinical settings for ketamine treatments in compliance with applicable standards and regulations, ensuring safe and effective treatment with a personalized approach that has a high success rate of up to 75%.

Understanding Ketamine Treatment

Ketamine therapy, an off-label treatment, uses low doses of ketamine to mitigate mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD. Ketamine, an FDA-approved anesthetic, has been used worldwide for over five decades to treat pain, depression symptoms, suicidal ideation, and other mental health issues. Unlike conventional antidepressants, ketamine treatment works differently, targeting different subsets of neurotransmitters in the brain, which helps relieve depression.

Severe cases of depression, anxiety, and PTSD, unresponsive to traditional medications or therapies, are often treated off-label with ketamine infusion therapy. Medical professionals administer ketamine therapy in a clinical setting, and it acts rapidly as an antidepressant. Many patients have reported improvements in their symptoms within hours to days following the treatment. Researchers have identified ketamine as a potential treatment for depression. Ketamine-assisted therapy is not the same as recreational ketamine; when used under professional guidance, there is no evidence that it causes addiction.

Pioneering Research on Ketamine Infusion Therapy

The Massachusetts General Brigham Study, a groundbreaking clinical trial, has significantly advanced our understanding of ketamine infusion therapy. Conducted from March 2017 to September 2022, this extensive research involved 403 patients and has been pivotal in demonstrating the effectiveness of ketamine in treating depression. Remarkably, 55% of the participants who received ketamine reported a sustained improvement in depressive symptoms, a noteworthy finding considering the absence of major side effects.

This study stands out for its comprehensive comparison between ketamine and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) in the treatment of non-psychotic, treatment-resistant depression. The results were illuminating: both ketamine and ECT proved effective, but ketamine therapy notably outperformed ECT. In the ketamine group, 55% of patients experienced at least a 50% improvement in depressive symptoms and quality of life over six months, compared to 41% in the ECT group. This significant finding underscores ketamine’s potential as a transformative treatment for depression, marking a major milestone in mental health research.

Treatment-Resistant Depression (TRD)

Treatment-resistant depression (TRD) remains unresponsive to conventional antidepressant therapies. Researchers have found that ketamine treatments effectively treat TRD and other mental health issues because they target different subsets of neurotransmitters in the brain than conventional antidepressants. Reports indicate that the success rate of ketamine therapy for treatment-resistant depression ranges between 55% and 75%. As a psychoactive drug, ketamine therapy can provide immediate and long-lasting relief for stubborn cases of TRD. Due to its ability to inhibit the functioning of the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor in the brain, which is associated with regulating mood, cognition, and pain perception, it has been effective in treating depression.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health disorder triggered by traumatic experiences. Ketamine therapy can help relieve symptoms of PTSD by promoting neuroplasticity and reducing negative thought patterns. Researchers have conducted several studies, like the Minneapolis VAMC Study on Treatment-Resistant Depression, to evaluate the efficacy of ketamine treatments for PTSD, and their findings suggest that ketamine therapy may be a viable treatment option for PTSD. 

Ketamine therapy has demonstrated the ability to:

  • Reduce negative thought patterns in PTSD patients by blocking NMDA receptors.
  • Modify the unpleasant thought and memory processes associated with PTSD, such as reducing intrusive thoughts, avoidance behaviors, and negative self-talk.
  • Ketamine anxiety Treatments has shown to Rapidly reduce the symptoms and also show todo so for, depressive symptoms, and suicidal ideation in individuals with PTSD.

Chronic Pain

Chronic pain, persistent for over 12 weeks, can arise from several conditions, including arthritis, fibromyalgia, and nerve damage. Medical practitioners utilize ketamine treatments to manage chronic pain conditions, offering relief through its analgesic properties. Potential side effects of ketamine infusion therapy for handling chronic pain might include:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Disorientation

However, these side effects are typically mild and temporary. The success of ketamine therapy in treating chronic pain varies based on the individual and the particular condition undergoing treatment.

The Psychedelic Experience

The psychedelic experience induced by ketamine therapy, including dissociative effects and hallucinations, contributes to its therapeutic benefits. A psychedelic experience is a state of altered consciousness induced by the ingestion of a psychoactive substance, which can lead to hallucinations or feelings of euphoria. The potential of a psychedelic experience induced by ketamine infusion therapy is to generate a brief but powerful subjective experience, which can lead to an afterglow and subsequent positive changes in mood, understanding, motivation, cognition, and behavior.

Numerous patients describe a pleasant sensation during ketamine treatment, often likened to a floating sensation outside their bodies. Patients may experience a euphoric state, auditory hallucinations, and heightened visuals. Following the therapy session, many patients experience relief, with up to 70% reporting positive results after the initial session, which can take anywhere from a few hours to several days.

Dissociative Effects

By creating a sense of detachment from one’s body and surroundings, ketamine infusion therapy allows patients to gain fresh perspectives on their mental health. Ketamine interacts with NMDA receptors and stimulates glutamate activity, thereby affecting the central nervous system and resulting in feelings of detachment, altered consciousness, and dissociation from one’s environment.

Experiencing a dissociative state of mind can aid in treating mental health disorders by offering individuals the chance to:

  • Disconnect from distressing thoughts, feelings, memories, or sense of identity
  • Provide temporary respite
  • Create a secure environment for individuals to process and recover from traumatic events

Talk therapy, such as counseling or psychotherapy, are often recommended as a course of treatment for dissociative disorders.

Hallucinations and Enhanced Colors

For some patients, the vivid hallucinations and enhanced colors produced by ketamine therapy can have therapeutic effects. Hallucinations and enhanced colors refer to vivid visual hallucinations and enhanced colors experienced during ketamine therapy. These hallucinations can include perceiving vibrant colors and experiencing visual imagery. It is important to note, however, that hallucinations are typically uncommon, and not everyone will experience them.

Ketamine infusion therapy induces a psychedelic experience by blocking the NMDA receptors in the central nervous system, which are responsible for mediating connections and the sharing of information and cognition in the brain. Although the dissociative experience is comparable, medical providers administer ketamine therapy following precise dosage instructions. At Plus by APN, a therapist, psychiatrist, nurse practitioner, or physician assistant remains in the room after administration and offers support based on the client’s needs.

Certified Clinical Setting

Plus by APN ensures the safe and professional administration and monitoring of ketamine therapy. Certified clinical settings for ketamine therapy may include:

  • State scope of practice guidelines
  • Necessary licenses and permits
  • Documentation requirements
  • The presence of a licensed physician during ketamine infusions

Conducting the treatment safely and effectively is essential for the patient’s benefit.

Low Doses vs. High Doses

Ketamine therapy employs low doses to minimize the risk of addiction and adverse side effects while still offering therapeutic benefits. The customary dosage of ketamine prescribed in therapy is 0.5 mg/kg. However, some patients may be responsive to doses as low as 0.1 mg/kg.

Key points:

  • Ketamine therapy uses low doses to minimize risks
  • Patients might respond to doses as low as 0.1 mg/kg
  • Low doses (0.75 mg/kg) have higher clinical effectiveness
  • The customary dosage is 0.5 mg/kg

Conversely, high doses of ketamine can have adverse effects such as:

  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Constipation
  • Hallucinations
  • Deep unconsciousness

Misuse of large doses can even be fatal. Appropriate medical supervision and controlled dosages minimize the risk of long-term effects and addiction from ketamine therapy.

Addressing the Risks

Although ketamine therapy can have adverse short-term side effects and potential for addiction, these risks are manageable with proper medical supervision. Patients undergoing ketamine therapy may experience the following short-term side effects:

  • Sensations of lightness
  • Difficulty with movement
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Disorientation
  • Drowsiness
  • Hallucinations

Medical supervision and controlled dosages can minimize the risk of long-term effects and addiction from ketamine therapy. Psychiatrists must follow standardized procedures and metrics to distinguish suitable candidates for ketamine therapy. Proper medical supervision is necessary to reduce potential risks and side effects.

Short-Term Side Effects

Typical short-term side effects of ketamine therapy, such as dizziness, nausea, and blurred vision, usually resolve post-treatment. Ketamine therapy is believed to cause short-term dizziness due to its effect on the gamma system in the body, affecting balance and coordination. The mechanism underlying nausea as a side effect of ketamine is not yet fully understood. The connection to short-term dizziness is speculated to be due to the drug’s influence on the central nervous system and its interaction with specific brain receptors.

Blurred vision following ketamine therapy, typically lasting around 30 minutes, is a mild and temporary side effect and shouldn’t deter individuals from considering it as a potential treatment option.

Long-Term Effects and Addiction

Appropriate medical supervision and controlled dosages minimize the risk of long-term effects and addiction from ketamine therapy. Clinical studies have highlighted the rapid alleviation of depressive symptoms and thoughts of suicidality with a single, low-dose ketamine infusion.

Furthermore, long-term ketamine misuse may be associated with neurocognitive impairments, decreased hippocampal function, and potential impact on spatial memory processes. In a clinical setting, managing ketamine addiction involves a combination of medical detoxification and psychological treatment. It is essential to address the issue of ketamine’s addictive potential to ensure proper treatment and recovery.

Plus by APN’s Ketamine Therapy Approach

Plus by APN provides a modern, scientifically grounded, client-focused approach to ketamine therapy, offering personalized treatment plans across various locations. Our approach to ketamine therapy differs from other providers in several respects, including offering IV (intravenous) and IM (intramuscular) ketamine therapy rather than nasal spray ketamine, allowing for more personalized dosing.

Plus by APN takes a comprehensive approach to mental and physical health, aiming to tackle the root cause of symptoms rather than just addressing the symptoms themselves. We emphasize the concept of ketamine-assisted healing, viewing ketamine therapy as a tool that can promote more profound levels of trust and healing between clients and their therapists.

Customized Treatment Plans

Plus by APN tailors treatment plans for each client based on their unique needs and the most recent scientific findings. We provide individualized treatment plans based on each client’s particular needs and objectives. At Plus by APN, the process of creating a customized treatment plan begins with an evaluation and introductory session to gain an understanding of individual needs.

Interventions like dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) may be part of the treatment plan. Medical professionals continuously monitor progress and adjust the treatment plan as necessary. This approach ensures that the treatment is based on the most current knowledge and research in psychiatry.

Patient Experiences

With a high success rate, many patients report substantial enhancements in their mental health and well-being due to ketamine therapy. Patients have reported positive outcomes following ketamine therapy, including:

  • Relief from depression
  • Relief from anxiety
  • Relief from OCD
  • Relief from treatment-resistant depression

Many patients describe marked improvement in their mental health and quality of life.

Patients often report the following effects during ketamine therapy:

  • Feelings of relaxation, both mentally and physically
  • A clear mind
  • Improved mood
  • Enhanced focus and concentration

Some patients have also experienced emotionally powerful moments, which may be both integral and challenging. Generally, patients have described ketamine therapy as a pleasant and even beautiful experience.

Success Rate

Numerous clients have found relief from treatment-resistant depression, PTSD, and chronic pain through Plus by APN’s ketamine therapy. The success rate of ketamine therapy for treatment-resistant depression is estimated to range between 55% and 75%. Ketamine therapy for PTSD has an estimated success rate of 55% to 75%.

Plus by APN utilizes a comprehensive approach to mental and physical health when assessing the success rate of our ketamine therapy approach. This approach focuses on identifying and treating the underlying cause of symptoms to ensure clients receive the most effective relief.

Ketamine Infusion: A New Horizon for People Seeking Mental Health Relief

In recent years, ketamine infusion therapy has emerged as a beacon of hope for people grappling with severe mental health issues. This novel approach has sparked a dialogue around the question, “Does ketamine therapy offer a viable solution where traditional treatments fall short?” For many, the answer lies in the unique way ketamine addresses these conditions.

Unlike conventional antidepressants, ketamine works on different neurotransmitter pathways, providing rapid relief from symptoms of depression, PTSD, and chronic pain. However, before embarking on this treatment, people typically have a host of questions for their doctor about the process, effectiveness, and safety of ketamine infusion.

One of the intriguing aspects of ketamine therapy is its psychedelic properties, which are instrumental in its therapeutic effects. The ketamine psychedelic experience allows individuals to dissociate from their immediate mental struggles, offering a unique perspective that can be transformative in managing mental health conditions. This experience, however, is carefully controlled and monitored in professional ketamine clinics to ensure safety and efficacy. 

The role of a qualified doctor in a ketamine-assisted healing setting cannot be overstated; they are crucial in tailoring the treatment to the individual’s needs, monitoring the patient’s response, and addressing any concerns or questions that arise. As interest in ketamine infusion therapy continues to grow, it stands as a testament to the evolving landscape of mental health treatment, offering new possibilities for people who have long struggled with traditional therapeutic approaches.

Spravato: A Specialized Ketamine Derivative for Depression


In the evolving landscape of ketamine therapy, a significant development is the introduction of Spravato, an FDA-approved ketamine derivative therapy in the United States, also approved in the UK, not on the NHS.


Spravato represents a tailored approach to treating treatment-resistant major depression and suicidal ideation, offering new hope where traditional treatments may fall short. Distinguished from off-label ketamine treatments, Spravato is administered as a nasal spray, providing a unique and innovative method of delivery. 


In summary, ketamine therapy shows promise as a treatment for mental health conditions such as TRD, PTSD, and chronic pain. While the therapy may induce a psychedelic experience, it is safe and effective when administered in a controlled clinical setting.

With proper medical supervision and a human-centered approach, like that offered by Plus by APN, ketamine therapy can provide significant improvements in mental health and overall well-being.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is ketamine therapy addictive?

Based on evidence, it appears that ketamine therapy is not addictive when administered professionally for depression treatment; however, there may be a risk of addiction with long-term or unsupervised use.

What is the success rate of ketamine therapy for treatment-resistant depression?

Ketamine therapy for treatment-resistant depression has a success rate estimated to be between 55% and 75%. For comparison, meta-analyses report antidepressants as 20–30% more effective than placebos.

Are there any side effects associated with ketamine therapy?

Patients undergoing ketamine therapy may experience short-term side effects such as sensations of lightness, difficulty with movement, nausea, dizziness, elevated heart rate, disorientation, drowsiness, and hallucinations.

How does ketamine therapy differ from recreational use?

Ketamine therapy differs from recreational use in that a healthcare professional administers it in a controlled clinical setting at lower doses. In contrast, recreational use typically occurs in an uncontrolled environment with higher doses. Professional setting and administration minimize the risks associated with ketamine treatment.

What is the role of a psychedelic experience in ketamine therapy?

A psychedelic experience induced by ketamine therapy can create a powerful and positive emotional response, leading to increased understanding, motivation, cognition, and behavior.