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IV Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy

Regain hope where medications have failed.

Ketamine treats the common source of several mental health conditions:

  • Depression and other mood disorders
  • Addiction or compulsion, including substance use and eating disorders
  • Anxiety disorders, including OCD and PTSD

It might also be useful in cases of chronic pain.

Alongside sessions guided by a licensed therapist, this IV treatment offers rapid relief and long-term control.

Reclaim clarity and peace. With Forum Health, ketamine-assisted psychotherapy can be part of a comprehensive plan.

Within six sessions, I feel I have accomplished more in my healing and well-being than I have with talking with therapists in over 15 years. I no longer feel debilitated by grief and sadness in my heart. I no longer feel plagued by negative self-harm thoughts, and instead my thoughts are positive and uplifting. I feel at peace and accepting of my life, my challenges, and feel that my coping mechanisms are healthier than ever.

Nessa, Forum Health Patient

Meet Dr. Trish Henrie-Barrus.

Trish Henrie-Barrus

A licensed psychologist with a focus on integrative medicine, Dr. Barrus is the owner of Riverwoods Behavioral Health. She works alongside Dr. Andrew Petersen to lead Forum Health’s revolutionary IV ketamine program.

Developed over several years, their approach expertly combines two effective treatment options: ketamine administration and guided psychotherapy.

Dr. Barrus earned her doctorate in counseling psychology from the University of Utah. She’s now an assistant professor at the school, where she helped create the nationally recognized Positive Psychology certificate program. Her specialties include addiction, anxiety, ketamine-assisted psychotherapy, depression, and pain management.

I believe ketamine-assisted psychotherapy can and does help people who’ve been emotionally stuck become more psychologically healthy.

Trish Henrie-Barrus, PhD

Forum Health does it better.

Some clinics treat ketamine as a magical cure-all. At Forum Health, it’s just one option available to patients as part of their personalized care plan.

With known potential for abuse, ketamine can be dangerous in the wrong hands. Forum Health providers are vigilant. We start by building a relationship with each patient. Then we carefully assess the risks and benefits of ketamine therapy. If we move forward, we’ll determine the right dosage for you based on factors including weight, sensitivity to medication, and history of drug use.

Every treatment takes place at a Forum Health practice. A mental health practitioner — specially trained in IV ketamine therapy — is always in the room. Our medical team will check your vital signs before and after administration. And they’ll be on hand throughout the session to monitor your physiological response.

Brand-name nasal spray esketamine for treatment-resistant depression has a list price between $4,720 and $6,785.1 Forum Health’s compounded IV solution is a more cost-effective approach.

Improve your well-being — safely and effectively.

Call our Utah practice to schedule ketamine IV therapy today.

What is ketamine?

Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic. Because it’s safe for pediatric patients and starts working quickly, it’s the short-lasting anesthetic of choice for many hospitals and surgical centers. In fact, it’s one of the most widely used drugs in modern medicine, listed on the World Health Organization’s Model List of Essential Medicines.

At high doses, ketamine causes a short period of disconnection between the mind and body. In this state, users feel out of control. They might experience hallucinations and sensory distortion. This dissociative effect is proving to have wide-ranging therapeutic potential for mental health conditions — especially after other treatments fail.

I’ve been deeply depressed for years because of chronic physical pain and past traumas that I’ve experienced. I was 100% suicidal. I had a plan. I had written my family a note. I attempted suicide. In the weeks after my failed attempt, I felt more depressed than I had before attempting suicide. I immediately started ketamine therapy with [Forum Health]. It saved me from ending my own life and gave me hope and optimism for the future.

Michael, Forum Health Patient

How does ketamine work?

Ketamine works through the glutamate pathway in your brain. Glutamate is a powerful neurotransmitter. That means it’s responsible for sending signals between nerve cells. This process plays an important role in regulating learning and memory.

Learning and memory directly influence mood and behavior. Experiences — often early in life — can entrench negative thought patterns in the subconscious. These can cause or perpetuate unhealthy mental, emotional, and physical states.

Ketamine treatment allows a reprieve. The dissociated period gives your brain a chance to reprocess painful experiences. As unconscious thought patterns come to the surface, a mental health practitioner will guide the learning of more appropriate perceptions.

Essentially, it’s a loop in the brain of messages that aren’t true. Your brain is telling you you’re not safe. It’s sending a message that leads to depression.

Andrew Petersen, DO

We believe that dissociative experiences tend to relieve psychological pain and allow a more positive way of looking at life. An altered state of mind — and the exploration of possible states of consciousness — leads to new neural pathways and, therefore, different ways of thinking and being.

For psychiatric issues, we’ve found that guided therapy with a psychologist or other licensed therapist makes ketamine much more effective. But for issues like chronic pain, a lower regular dose can be effective without need for dissociation or therapy.

What is the ketamine experience like?

Your ketamine experience will be unique to you, and each session will be different. There’s no “right” way to be during therapy. Treatment sessions will be an adventure, enhanced by relaxing and not resisting the experience.

During treatment, you’ll maintain conscious awareness. But your typical concerns and preoccupations should be eased. You’ll likely have a peaceful feeling — devoid of stress, tension, or depression.

You might also feel psychedelic effects. These can include distorted visualization of colors, a feeling of floating, out-of-body sensations, vivid dreaming, and changes in how you process sight, touch, and sound. Although some experiences might be temporarily disturbing, we’ll work to help you understand and process them.

A licensed therapist will attend every session. They’ll spend time upfront getting to know your concerns and mental health issues. Your therapist will then act as a guide to facilitate a growth-promoting and even life-changing experience.

Psychedelic effects typically start within 5 minutes of ketamine dosing. The dissociative effect usually dominates for 20–30 minutes, although this period seems timeless. Ketamine is sometimes administered again partway through the session to maintain effects.

Each session lasts between 60 and 90 minutes, depending on the individual. Ketamine usually works immediately to some degree and can continue working for days and weeks. Though the benefits might be felt quickly, we recommend 2–3 sessions per week for the first few weeks to achieve more ensuring benefit. Repeated ketamine treatments have a cumulative effect.

We’re confident you’ll feel an improvement in your emotional state and reduction in symptoms. You might also notice a difference in your relationships and perception of life.

Why psychotherapy?

Both psychotherapy and ketamine are effective in helping with mood disorders and pain. But our experience suggests that combining the two is much more effective than either by itself.

During our psychotherapy program, a licensed therapist will:

  • Explore limiting thought patterns and conditions that might be keeping you “stuck”
  • Prepare you for your ketamine sessions, helping with any questions or concerns
  • Guide you through ketamine sessions to ensure a positive experience
  • Help you explore and integrate your experiences after treatment

Ketamine creates an altered state of consciousness that promotes openness and vulnerability. Trust between you and your provider allows the deepest possible work to occur. Psychotherapy sessions are meant to build a sense of connection. They’ll also help you gain insight into what might be keeping you from a healthy relationship with yourself.

Safety & Effectiveness

An emerging treatment, ketamine is still being studied and understood. But as an early adopter, Forum Health has seen its game-changing potential realized. And many studies have found that it’s both safe and effective.

The FDA recently approved a nasal spray form of esketamine, a sister drug to ketamine, for treatment-resistant depression (TRD) after a Phase 3 clinical trial. It’s likely that ketamine has the same effect and safety — for a lower cost. But since it can no longer be patented, no company will spend the money to get ketamine approved in the same way.

Ketamine infusion produces a rapid and robust antidepressant effect, according to an analysis of seven randomized clinical trials.2

A more recent study found that repeated ketamine treatment was well tolerated while producing quick and persistent relief of TRD symptoms.3

Another report suggests strong evidence for the rapid antidepressant effects of a single intravenous ketamine infusion — for both treatment-resistant major depressive disorder and bipolar depression. It also found that IV ketamine is safe and well tolerated when administered by trained professionals.4

IV ketamine can also reduce suicidal ideation, suggests an analysis of 24 articles — including clinical trials, meta-analyses, case series, and case reports.5
A systematic review suggests that ketamine can be an effective treatment across multiple substances of abuse6:
  • For alcohol and opioid use disorders, a single ketamine infusion significantly improved abstinence for up to two years.
  • For cocaine use disorder, ketamine treatment resulted in improved craving and motivation, as well as decreased usage.
In one study, most patients with long histories of eating disorder showed prolonged remission when treated with intermittent ketamine infusions.7
Multiple studies have shown that ketamine is an effective treatment for people with generalized or social anxiety disorders:
  • Ketamine improved scores on the Marks and Mathews Fear Questionnaire.8
  • Treatment-resistant patients reported reduced anxiety for up to seven days.9
  • During maintenance treatment with ketamine, most patients reported ongoing improvements in social or work functioning.10
A randomized controlled trial on obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) found that a single treatment with IV ketamine helped some patients for more than a week.11

In post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), ketamine might enable the brain to reconsolidate memory and release trauma12:
  • A double-blind study showed that ketamine infusion rapidly and significantly reduced symptom severity.13
  • Another study found that ketamine can reduce passive avoidance learning after witnessing a traumatic event.14
A randomized placebo-controlled trial showed that ketamine is effective and safe for opioid-tolerant chronic pain.15

In a study of patients with neuropathic pain from major limb injuries sustained in combat, low-dose IV ketamine infusion effectively relieved pain.16

Several case reports have found that ketamine is an option for phantom pain:
  • Treatment with IV ketamine brought complete remission of phantom limb pain that resisted routine forms of treatment.17
  • Ketamine was effective in reducing the intensity of phantom limb pain.18
  • Pain not managed by opioids responded to a low-dose IV infusion of ketamine.19

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Schedule a short phone call to discuss cost, membership options, and any questions you might have about Forum Health.

References

1. Reuters, “J&J Prices Ketamine-Like Depression Treatment at $590-$885 for Two Doses,” March 2019.

2. D. Jeffrey Newport et al., “Ketamine and Other NMDA Antagonists: Early Clinical Trials and Possible Mechanisms in Depression,” The American Journal of Psychiatry, October 2015.

3. Yoav Domany et al., “Repeated Oral Ketamine for Out-Patient Treatment of Resistant Depression: Randomised, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled, Proof-of-Concept Study,” The British Journal of Psychiatry, January 2019.

4. Lawrence T. Park et al., “Ketamine for Treatment-Resistant Mood Disorders,” Focus: The Journal of Lifelong Learning in Psychology, January 2019.

5. David Dadiomov and Kelly Lee, “The Effects of Ketamine on Suicidality Across Various Formulations and Study Settings,” The Mental Health Clinician, January 2019.

6. Jennifer L. Jones et al., ‘Efficacy of Ketamine in the Treatment of Substance Use Disorders: A Systematic Review,” Frontiers in Psychiatry, July 2018.

7. I.H. Mills et al., “Treatment of Compulsive Behaviour in Eating Disorders With Intermittent Ketamine Infusions,” QJM: An International Journal of Medicine, August 1998.

8. S.M. Shadli et al., “Ketamine Effects on EEG During Therapy of Treatment-Resistant Generalized Anxiety and Social Anxiety,” The International Journal of Neuropsychopharmacology, April 2018.

9. P. Glue et al., “Ketamine’s Dose-Related Effects on Anxiety Symptoms in Patients With Treatment-Refractory Anxiety Disorders,” Journal of Psychopharmacology, 2017.

10. P. Glue et al., “Safety and Efficacy of Maintenance Ketamine Treatment in Patients With Treatment-Refractory Generalised Anxiety and Social Anxiety Disorders,” Journal of Psychopharmacology, 2018.

11. Carolyn Rodriguez et al., “Randomized Controlled Crossover Trial of Ketamine in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder: Proof-of-Concept,” Neuropsychopharmacology, 2013.

12. L. Fattore et al., “Psychedelics and Reconsolidation of Traumatic and Appetitive Maladaptive Memories: Focus on Cannabinoids and Ketamine,” Psychopharmacology, 2018.

13. A. Feder et al., “Efficacy of Intravenous Ketamine for Treatment of Chronic Posttraumatic Stress Disorder: A Randomized Clinical Trial,” JAMA Psychiatry, 2014.

14. W. Ito et al., “Observation of Distressed Conspecific as a Model of Emotional Trauma Generates Silent Synapses in the Prefrontal-Amygdala Pathway and Enhances Fear Learning, but Ketamine Abolishes Those Effects,” Neuropsychopharmacology, 2015.

15. Lucinda Grande et al., “Oral Ketamine for Chronic Pain: A 32-Subject Placebo-Controlled Trial in Patients on Chronic Opioids,” The Journal of Pain, April 2016.

16. Rosemary C. Polomano et al., “Effects of Low-Dose IV Ketamine on Peripheral and Central Pain from Major Limb Injuries Sustained in Combat,” Pain Medicine, 2013.

17. Harsha Shanthanna et al., “Early and Effective Use of Ketamine for Treatment of Phantom Limb Pain,” Indian Journal of Anaesthesia, March–April 2010.

18. Sukanya Mitra and Sunita Kazal, “Oral Ketamine for Phantom Limb Pain: An Option for Challenging Cases,” Indian Journal of Anaesthesia, July 2015.

19. Lucinda Grande et al., “Ultra-Low Dose Ketamine and Memantine Treatment for Pain in an Opioid-Tolerant Oncology Patient,” Anesthesia & Analgesia, October 2008.

Get a free 15-minute consultation.

Schedule a short phone call to discuss cost, membership options, and any questions you might have about Forum Health.