Important Facts About Ketamine

An Alternate Solution For Major Anxiety Disorder

Ketamine FAQs

What is Ketamine?

Ketamine is an FDA approved drug that helps treat depression, anxiety, chronic pain, PTSD, migraines, headaches and other mental and health disorders. Ketamine is listed on the World Health Organization’s Essential Medicines list. 

Extensive research over the last decade and a half has shown that when given in small doses, ketamine promotes renewal of neural connections in specific parts of the brain associated with mood. Chronic depression or stress causes these connections to atrophy or disappear. Thus, a small dose of Ketamine actually causes these brain connections to regenerate and produces rapid reversal of symptoms of anxiety and depression in approximately 70-80% of those treated.

How does Ketamine work?

Ketamine works unlike any other medicine. It is an NMDA antagonist, which means it blocks pain pathways, reboots functions by “re-setting” nerves and triggers growth of neural pathways. In addition, Ketamine also appears to reduce the activity of glutamate, which is the main excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain and a very powerful anti-inflammatory medicine. Therefore, it helps with both of the main types of pain (nerve pain and inflammatory pain) and has shown great success in the treatment of migraines, depression, anxiety, PTSD and mood disorders.

What do you treat with Ketamine at Pacific Ketamine Institute?

At Pacific Ketamine Institute, we currently treat the following conditions:


  • Depression
    • Depression
    • Treatment Resistant Depression (TRD)
    • Postpartum Depression
  • PTSD
    • Acute PTSD
    • Complex PTSD (CPTSD)
    • Comorbid PTSD
  • Addiction
    • Alcohol Addiction
    • Drug Addiction
  • Mood Disorders
    • Anxiety Mood Disorder
    • Bipolar Mood Disorder
    • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
  • Chronic Pain
    • Neuropathic Pain
    • Migraine Headaches
    • Fibromyalgia
What is the treatment plan for Ketamine?

Each Ketamine treatment process is unique and designed to help each individual with their pain points in the best way possible. We meet with each patient for an initial combined psychological and medical evaluation. Your treatment plan and the initial dose of Ketamine is based on many factors including your individual medical history, your weight, your age, and your prior treatment history, among other factors.  It’s also important to distinguish between mood-related treatments for depression, PTSD, bipolar, OCD, and anxiety from treatments that are focused around chronic pain.

The initial treatment plan for mood-related treatments consists of 6 infusions over a 2 to 3 week period. After your initial 6 treatments, you will go into a “maintenance” mode to maintain your mood levels, and keep them up.  Typically patients come in once each month for their maintenance treatment.

Treatment for chronic pain, such as neuropathic pain or migraine pain, is a longer treatment session and typically lasts for 3-4 hours.  For chronic pain, a typical treatment plan would be 4 treatments (once per week) over the course of 4 weeks.  From there, you will go into a “maintenance” mode to manage your pain.  Typically patients come in once each month for their maintenance treatment.

Please contact us at (424) 359-1488 or for information regarding fees and payment.

How long does a Ketamine session take?

Your Ketamine infusion treatments generally last for 60-75 minutes for depression, PTSD, bipolar disorder and other mood disorders. Treatments generally require a larger dose, provided over a longer interval for patients who are treated with Ketamine for pain management.

The Ketamine infusion experience is a pleasurable one. You will relax in a comfortable over-sized reclining chair during your treatment and for the next 60-75 minutes, most patients feel a sense of warmth and comfort. We equip all rooms with a soft blanket, headphones and music if you so desire.

What happens during the infusion?

Your Ketamine infusion treatments generally last for 60-75 minutes where you will relax in a comfortable over-sized reclining chair during your treatment. Most patients feel a sense of warmth and comfort during their treatment process. We equip all rooms with a soft blanket if you so desire.

During your treatment, you will not lose consciousness. Rather, you will experience a mild euphoric feeling. However, your mind will be aware and engaged.

After your treatment, you are welcome to stay in our “lounge” in our comfortable office. We provide you with an iPad and noise-canceling headphones from the moment you walk into our office and throughout your session. You are welcome to listen to music and relax in our spa-like lounge and enjoy some lemon water, herbal tea, a latte, or water until you feel like winding up your session to be on your way.

Many of our patients like to “chill” in our lounge for 30-60 minutes after their treatment, which you are welcome to do. Ketamine levels are still relatively high in your bloodstream, and we provide a safe and confidential experience for you to relax after your session until you feel ready to leave.

You can read more about the entire Ketamine experience and the process details here.

Are there side effects?

During your Ketamine infusions, we will monitor your treatment process carefully in order to minimize the chances of any side effects. You might feel tired or slightly disconnected with your surroundings. For most patients, this dissociation effect is what helps with your treatment and provides a positive response to your Ketamine treatment. It is not unusual to develop nausea, a common but self-limited side effect of Ketamine. However, if you do become nauseated, we can control that by adding Zofran to your treatment, which is an anti-nausea medicine that is used in hospitals and ERs throughout the world.

This is all a normal part of the treatment and you will always be in a safe environment with staff to supervise you and be available to you at all times.

Should I continue my current psychiatric medications?

Yes. Please do not change your medication when you come in for Ketamine treatments. We would advise you to consult with your psychiatric practitioner before and after you talk with our doctors. Once we have derived a unique treatment plan for you, we can then discuss how it will affect your health. Hopefully, you can start lowering your dosage as the treatment takes effect in consultation with your current psychiatrist.

How is Ketamine given?

Ketamine is given in a measured and timed dose, through a small intravenous line placed in the forearm or hand. The dose is determined based on your weight, height, age and medical history. The IV is connected to an IV pump that sends measured amounts of Ketamine every second of your infusion treatment to balance out the treatment throughout your session. Blood pressure, pulse and oxygen levels are monitored continuously. After your session, your IV will be removed, and we will discuss your thoughts, and how you are feeling.

Does Ketamine help Treatment-Resistant Depression?

Yes, Ketamine works on the neurotransmitter glutamate that is responsible for processing information and communications within the conscious brain. Unlike other SSRI drugs for depression that treat symptoms, Ketamine directly targets the nerve pathways that are directly responsible for the mood and depression causing part of the brain and resets them, thus helping even treatment-resistant depression.

Is a referral required for Ketamine therapy?

No, a referral from a mental health professional is not required. One of our doctors will talk to you and evaluate whether the treatment would be appropriate for you. Based on your medical history and medication list, our Medical Director will also determine if there are any medical reasons why Ketamine treatment is not recommended. Please contact us with questions.

Is Ketamine addictive?
Not with IV Ketamine treatments. Receiving infusions of low dosage of Ketamine through IV for a specific reason as noted by a doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist or other mental health provider has not been shown to result in addiction.
Does somebody need to come with me for my treatment?
It is not necessary for someone to accompany you to the treatment. You do need to arrange for transportation home afterward, either a ride, public transportation, Uber/Lyft or walking. It is imperative that you not drive a car or bike until the next morning.
Must I fast before a treatment?
You don’t need to fast before your treatment. We ask that you have a light meal no less than five hours before the infusion treatment. Clear liquids can be consumed until two hours before your appointment, thereafter just small sips of water.
How do you measure the success of treatment?

Pacific Ketamine Institute uses MoodMonitor– a secure, reliable, easy-to-use reporting and monitoring tool – that helps us ensure the best possible outcomes for our IV Ketamine treatment patients.

Multiple studies have shown that frequent evaluations of a patient’s symptoms during the course of ketamine treatment improve long-term outcomes.

How soon will I notice improvement?
Unlike most traditional drugs, effects of Ketamine are almost immediate. Most of our patients notice improvement as soon as 3-4 hours after their first Ketamine session. Many patients see an immediate effect while they are having their treatment.
Will my insurance cover this?

You will have to consult your insurance company for this.  You can learn more about insurance coverage and Ketamine treatments here

How many people suffer from depression?
According to the World Health Organization, 300 Million people across the world suffer from depression. It is estimated that almost 17.3 million adults in the United States (almost 7.1% of all adults in the country) have suffered from a depression episode at least once in their lifetime.  In other words, if you suffer from depression, you are not alone.  You are in good company and we can help.
What’s the cost of depression economically?
The total economic burden of MDD is now estimated to be $210.5 billion per year. For every dollar spent on MDD direct costs in 2010, an additional $1.90 was spent on MDD-related indirect costs.
How many people have PTSD?
Going through trauma is not rare. About 6 of every 10 men (or 60%) and 5 of every 10 women (or 50%) experience at least one trauma in their lives. About 8 million adults have PTSD during a given year. This is only a small portion of those who have gone through a trauma.
How many people have chronic pain?
Chronic pain, one of the most common reasons adults seek medical care, has been linked to restrictions in mobility and daily activities, dependence on opioids, anxiety and depression, and poor perceived health or reduced quality of life. Population-based estimates of chronic pain among U.S. adults range from 11% to 40%, with considerable population subgroup variation. In 2016, approximately 20% of U.S. adults had chronic pain (approximately 50 million), and 8% of U.S. adults (approximately 20 million) had high-impact chronic pain. 
How many people have migraine headaches?

Migraines can be episodic or chronic. A typical episodic migraine (EM) can linger for hours. According to an American Migraine Prevalence and Prevention (AMPP) study, 17.1% of American women and 5.6% of American men have episodic migraines, which are much more common than chronic migraines. Some people who experience episodic migraines will eventually develop chronic migraines, but not all. Only 1.3% of American women and 0.5% of American men experience chronic migraines.

How many people have fibromyalgia?
Fibromyalgia is one of the most common chronic pain conditions. The disorder affects an estimated 10 million people in the U.S. and an estimated 3-6% of the world population. The diagnosis is usually made between the ages of 20 to 50 years, but the incidence rises with age so that by age 80, approximately 8% of adults meet the American College of Rheumatology classification of fibromyalgia.
How many people have bipolar mood disorder?

It is estimated that almost 2.6% of the U.S. population has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and nearly 83% of cases are classified as severe. If left untreated, bipolar disorder usually worsens. However, with a good treatment plan including psychotherapy, medications, a healthy lifestyle, a regular schedule and early identification of symptoms, many people live well with the condition.

How many people have OCD?
OCD is a disorder that has a neurobiological basis. In the United States, about 1 in 40 adults and 1 in 100 children have OCD. And according to the World Health Organization, OCD is one of the top 20 causes of illness-related disability, worldwide, for individuals between 15 and 44 years of age.
How many people are diagnosed with anxiety disorder?
Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year.

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