Ketamine medication, an anesthetic approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration in 1970, is often used in hospital operating rooms and veterinary clinics to kill pain. In smaller doses, ketamine injections prevent patients from moving, but allow them to remain conscious. For this reason, ketamine injections have been used to calm mental health patients who are agitated to the point of potential violence. In these instances, many patients reported after recovering that they no longer had mental health symptoms. Thus, practitioners began giving ketamine injections to treat mental illnesses such as depression, anxiety and PTSD.
PTSD victims suffer terribly with not just anxiety, but also nightmares and flashbacks. They are relentlessly haunted by disturbing images from which they cannot escape. Many PTSD victims are veterans, and their trauma is related to war. But others suffer PTSD after being the victim of or witnessing a violent crime such as rape, torture or murder. Still others suffer PTSD after a long-term abusive relationship.
Many PTSD sufferers become angry, violent, despondent or all three. Sadly, some take their own lives while waiting for talk therapy and other commonly used pharmaceuticals to work.
Practitioners have been using hallucinogens such as mushrooms to treat PTSD for years — centuries in some cases. Today, treatments with hallucinogens are accepted and used at such respected institutions as Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore. Ketamine medication is a preferred hallucinogen because the effects last a relatively short time — 20 to 60 minutes, versus several hours for LSD or mushrooms.
Medical professionals do not understand entirely how ketamine medication works on the brain to relieve PTSD, only that it often has a profound effect. More than many other mental illnesses, PTSD has the potential to end lives, and ketamine therapy brings the kind of hope for the future that many other drugs and therapies cannot.