The Importance of Continuing Mental Health Care during Ketamine Treatment

When considering ketamine as a treatment for your depression, it is important to note that best results are achieved when multiple approaches are taken to your mental health care. A combination therapy approach will maximize the results of the ketamine infusions and significantly decrease your depression symptoms. Some treatment options that should be considered include continuing treatment with your primary psychiatrist for medication, pursuing psychotherapy with your psychiatrist or another therapist, and ensuring a healthy diet, adequate exercise, sleep, and hydration.

Having a Primary Psychiatrist

Although a psychiatrist or psychiatric nurse practitioner always supervises ketamine infusions at Principium Psychiatry, it is important to have a provider that you consistently see. One of our providers can take on this role for you, but additional visits are necessary beyond the time spent in infusions. This is because patients can feel sleepy and more relaxed than normal during ketamine infusions, so conversations had during that time are usually kept on the lighter side.

Psychotherapy

Research on ketamine for depression has shown that it is somehow able to rapidly create and restore new connections in your brain, a process called neuroplasticity. Participating in psychotherapy while your brain is being rewired and primed for new learning is a great way to supplement ketamine infusions, as learning new, healthier habits will be much easier during that time. Patients have reported being able to do things they hadn’t been able to do in years, such as reach out to old friends, take on a new hobby, or switch jobs. Being in psychotherapy can help promote these healthier behaviors, which is why we often recommend partaking in regular therapy with a provider as you go through your ketamine treatment protocol.

Medication Management

If deemed necessary by your prescribing provider, continuing on one or multiple antidepressants or other medications during your ketamine treatment is appropriate. It is especially important to remember that you cannot abruptly stop any medications without a taper protocol under the supervision of a provider, as that could lead to withdrawal symptoms or discontinuation syndrome. Continuing on your regular psychiatric medications while undergoing ketamine therapy can add to its effectiveness. Always consult your doctor before starting or stopping a medication.

Healthy Habits

Maintaining healthy habits is an important part of keeping your body and mind healthy. Eating a healthy balance of vegetables, fruits, protein, fats, and carbohydrates is vital, as is limiting sugar, processed foods, and alcohol intake. Adding multivitamins and other supplements such as omega 3 fatty acids can also be ideal, but always check with your doctor before taking any supplements, as some can interact with medications. Drinking at least eight 8-oz glasses of water per day is recommended in order to stay adequately hydrated. Additionally, the American Heart Association recommends getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise per week. Alternative exercise methods such as yoga, Pilates, and meditation have been shown to reduce anxiety and stress levels. Lastly, getting enough sleep is very important for your health – 7-9 hours of sleep per night is recommended, although 6-10 hours may be appropriate based on your individual needs.

By taking a holistic approach to your mental health care, you will maximize the benefits you receive from your treatment and improve your overall mental and physical health. At Principium Psychiatry, your treatment providers will advise you on a comprehensive approach to improving your life.

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