What is the process for ketamine infusions? How do I know if I am a candidate for ketamine? Ketamine Treatment Center in Northern Virginia

If you would like to schedule an appointment for a consultation regarding ketamine therapies in the Virginia, Washington D.C, or Maryland areas, call us at 703-844-0184 or email us below with your contact information. We will call you to discuss treatment options.

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What are the steps for Ketamine Therapy Treatment? 

The condition that is being treated must be appropriate for ketamine. We evaluate this with our initial phone consultation with the individual. The level of expectations for results and need for ongoing maintenance therapies are discussed. 

What Conditions Does Ketamine Treat? 

Ketamine is a treatment that will make underlying medications work better, allow an individual to succeed in their traditional psychotherapies, or allow one to diminish medications that may be causing side-effects. For some conditions, such as depression, statistically significant benefits can be mentioned, such as 70% of patients have improvement or remission in their depression. On the other hand, for other conditions, such as OCD and chronic pain, the established data is not so clear. 

Who can receive ketamine therapies?  

Anyone is a candidate if they are medically stable. If there are medical issues, a medical clearance may be needed. 

Who Will Need Medical Clearance Prior to Ketamine Therapy? 

  • Cardiac History 
  • Stroke History 
  • Liver Failure 
  • Dialysis or Kidney Failure 
  • Schizophrenia 
  • Allergy to Ketamine 
  • Uncontrolled Hypertension 

Do I need a Referral? 

NOVA Health Recovery Ketamine Center does not require a referral, but some medical problems may require further evaluation before the treatment is started. We can manage medication adjustments and set up follow-up therapist visits. We can also address and treat mental health conditions such as ADHD, depression, and anxiety with traditional medications. 

The Consultation Process for ketamine therapy 

In order to assess whether Ketamine is the right choice for you, we conduct an initial mental health screening using various questionnaires and a comprehensive assessment. We assess cognitive loss with screening tests as well as lifestyle modifications and supplements that can enhance the outcome of therapy. We can address substance use disorderspain, and obesity-related issues that can be involved with mood disorders. The consultation involves a deep dive into your mental health journey as well as evaluating medical conditions and lifestyle choices that can impede recovery.  

The Preparation Process for ketamine therapy

It is best not to eat for four hours prior to the visit. Liquids are fine. Take your usual medications. Medications such as Clonazepam, Ativan, and Lamictal are fine to take as well and should not be tapered as that will cause more distress. Keep your usual doses of medications the same. 

Clear your mind of any stress. Unload your schedule or routine of excess tasks for the day, 

Prepare an ambient musical selection or a ketamine playlist 

Find eyeshades, weighted blanket, and noise cancelling headsets. 

Focus on one issue that you may want to resolve.  

Remember that neuroplasticity is what you want, and that occurs whether you have an excellent infusion experience or not. You do not have to dissociate to have efficacy.  

Therapy sessions are best done the day after an infusion.  

The mood elevation and dissociation of the infusion is a side-effect of ketamine and not the cure. Neuroplasticity is the healing agent. 

The Infusion Process for ketamine therapy

After the initial assessment, we will schedule your infusion sessions, which generally can start the same day if appropriate. Before receiving each infusion, we will need to verify that you have arranged transportation (such as family or an Uber) in order to leave the clinic as you will not be able to drive for the next several hours until the effects of Ketamine wear off. 

On the day of the infusion, patients will be taken into an exclusive infusion area. An I.V. will be started as painlessly as possible, using cold spray if needed. We utilize exceedingly small I.V. needles typically used in pediatrics. We will check your vital signs and answer any further questions. During the procedure you will be lying in a comfortable lounge chair for the entire duration of the 45-minute infusion sessions. We can offer Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy for an additional fee, or you can even have your own therapist join you for your session.  We utilize Phillips Hue lighting, aromatherapy, as well as ambient music through a SONOS system for those who do not headsets. It is good to use noise cancelling headsets to prevent any extraneous sounds from affecting your experience.  

How Often do I Need to Receive an Infusion of Ketamine? 

Initially the series of 6 is used for depression, anxiety, OCD, and bipolar disorder. These are done twice or three times a week. It is best to not let more than 5 days go between infusions. CRPS and neuropathic conditions may require multi-day 4-hour high-dose infusions. 

What Does a Ketamine Infusion Feel Like? 

Each infusion is different. We initiate doses at a therapeutic level of .5 mg/kg IV of ideal body weight over 40 minutes. Doses can escalate for each infusion up to 1 mg/kg over 40 minutes.  

We will generally have you wear a scopolamine patch and take Ondansetron prior to arrival. We offer an array of medications to keep comfort to a maximum should you feel nauseated or anxious. 

Patients have described the infusion on several levels. Many describe initially feeling numbness and tingling, heaviness, and a sense of relaxation initially. 

The Empathogenic experience of ketamine includes a sense of body awareness, reduced ego defenses, empathy, warmth, love, and peace. For others, euphoria and a dreamy state are pronounced emotional states. 

Out of body experiences occur at higher doses, in which one feels a departure from their body, loss of identity, an experience of being a single point of consciousness, or even mind-death (psychological death). Others may feel they are part of a collective consciousness and have transcended normal time and space or being at unity with nature and the universe. 

Ketamine offers a shift in the usual ways of being and viewing oneself and the world. It is effectively a time-out from your ordinary mind. Ketamine infusions offer relief from depression and a reset for new consciousness. The relief of depression is accompanied by a relief of negativity. 

The Recovery Process after a ketamine infusion

We will closely monitor you throughout the IV infusion process. You will be attached to our monitors and our infusion team will ensure that you are safe until the treatment is complete. After the procedure, you will stay in your room until you feel comfortable, and the medical staff has evaluated you for safe discharge. The main side effects are dizziness, nausea, and balance control issues that resolve within one to two hours. Driving is not permitted for four hours.  

When Can I return to work? 

Many patients will work the next day or even several hours after their infusion. The dissociative and mind-altering effects are gone within 20 minutes after an infusion. Any good feelings or changes you notice the next day or later that day are due to the neuroplasticity of ketamine. Again, driving is prohibited for four hours. You otherwise will be fully functional in between infusions. 

How Often Can I receive Ketamine Infusions after my series of infusions? 

We recommend every 2-4 weeks that you receive a booster infusion. If symptoms worsen, you can return more frequently. 

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