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How does ketamine treatment improve unspecified anxiety disorders?
September 27, 2022 at 6:00 PM

Anxiety disorders with unspecified causes are exceedingly common in the United States. According to the National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI), 40 million Americans suffer from anxiety disorders. For many people, symptoms include a general feeling of apprehension, tenseness, or the inability to relax. Unspecified anxiety can also cause physical reactions, including sweating, shaking, hyperventilation, dizziness, a racing heart, or an upset stomach.

These responses are normal in stressful or threatening conditions. However, people with anxiety experience them chronically, even when the situation does not warrant such a reaction.

An anxiety disorder with unspecified origins can be debilitating. People avoid situations that exacerbate their anxiety, limiting their activities and quality of life. Anxiety can also lead to other mental and physical health issues, including hypertension, addiction, depression, insomnia, and eating disorders.

Treatments of unspecified anxiety disorder

Anxiety is a challenging disease to treat. Some people may feel embarrassed by the conditions or think they can somehow push through the feelings.

Those who do seek help try cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or anti-anxiety medications. However, medicines do not work for 50% of anxiety patients. As a result, physicians and psychiatrists sometimes prescribe ketamine therapy as an alternative for those who do not respond to traditional medication.

Use of ketamine to treat anxiety

Medical studies have shown that ketamine is effective in treating anxiety disorders with unspecified causes. For example, one study found that a single IV infusion improved the outlook of people with anxiety and depression. Meanwhile, others show that it works for people with generalized anxiety disorder and PTSD.

How does it work? Ketamine is approved as an anesthetic and has been used for this purpose in humans and animals for decades. However, the drug also spurs the production of glutamate in the brain. Glutamine is essential for mood regulation and helps the brain adapt to different situations more easily. Early research has shown positive results for a variety of mood-related conditions.

What to expect from ketamine treatment

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) found that a majority of patients require six infusions to see lasting results. At Long Island Ketamine Infusions, we follow the NIMH guidelines, spacing six infusions out over two to three weeks. Each session lasts for 40 minutes. We closely monitor the dosage based on your weight. Though many patients feel the effects of the drug, it is not strong enough to make them lose consciousness (though you will not be able to drive after the treatments).

Anxiety disorders of unspecified origins are challenging to treat. Though many people respond to the initial course of ketamine infusions, some may require additional doses. At Long Island Ketamine Infusions, we understand that no two patients are similar. Some may require subsequent treatments spread over the following weeks or months.

Our physician, Dr. Michelle Curro, works with each patient to assess their response and schedule additional treatments if necessary.

Ketamine and your insurance

The FDA approved ketamine for use as an anesthetic. However, it is not yet approved for mental health treatments. At Long Island Ketamine Infusions, we follow NIMH's protocols, using minimal doses that achieve results without causing side effects or long-lasting impairment.

However, the lack of FDA approval means that most insurance companies will not cover ketamine infusions, even for patients with diagnosed anxiety disorders. Luckily, ketamine treatments are reasonably priced compared to long-term anti-anxiety medication and cognitive behavioral therapy.

If you are suffering from anxiety and unable to get relief from traditional treatments, contact us at Long Island Ketamine Infusions to see if our treatment options can work for you.