Understanding What Ketamine Commonly Feels Like
- Having questions and concerns is a normal part of beginning ketamine therapy.
- The “felt experience” of ketamine therapy is less intense than people expect.
- Clients often describe ketamine therapy as calming and relieving of negative thoughts.
Trying any new therapy or treatment can be scary. Here is what you need to know about how ketamine might feel. Keep in mind that every individual's experiences are unique, and each session will be different.
Ketamine is incredibly safe.
Ketamine has been approved by the FDA since the 1970’s and is included on the World Health Organization's list of Essential Medicines.
When used in surgical anesthesia ketamine has been proven to have a remarkable safety profile at doses considerably higher than those used in ketamine therapy.
Furthermore, in the largest clinical study of ketamine therapy the results show minimal risk of side effects.
Notable outcomes from the study include:
- 89% of the participants reported improvement in their depression or anxiety symptoms, and 63% of participants experienced a greater than 50% reduction.
- For both depression and anxiety, over 30% achieved remission (or virtually no symptoms) after 4 sessions.
- Fewer than 5% of participants reported side effects from treatment.
The experience has a gentle onset.
Mindbloom’s method of sublingual administration—using a rapid dissolve tablet placed under the tongue— has a more gentle onset than IV or IM-injections, which are commonly used at ketamine clinics.
The experience is gentle, bringing you slowly into and out of the experience, and returning to normal consciousness around 60 minutes later.
A common timeline for the ketamine experience can look like:
For most individuals following our protocols, the experience typically lasts less than an hour. It is important to note that exact timing may vary from person to person, and from session to session.
This is a general overview of the ketamine experience provided by our clinical team.
Ketamine can be very calming.
One of the most common things we hear from clients is how their sessions can be very calming.
Here are some direct quotes from previous Mindbloom clients who have gone through our Basics program:
- “The most surprising part of my Mindbloom experience was how gentle and safe it felt.” — Brenna, Writer
- “I expected a punch in the face, but it felt more like a tickle on the arm.” — Brittni, Project Manager
- “I appreciate the comfort and safety of my own living room.” — Noah, Land Use Consultant
Ketamine can induce a feeling of relief.
During and after the experience, many clients describe feeling relief from ruminative thoughts and other, normally-present anxieties.
The ketamine experience can provide new and novel perspectives on your life, which gives you a new way to relate to and manage old thoughts that may have previously caused or contributed to daily stresses.
Here are a few quotes from Mindbloom clients who have had similar experiences:
- “Mindbloom gave me a better perspective on anxiety, depression, and life itself.” — Deborah, Student
- “I’ve reframed my negative thoughts into positive ones.” — Sarah
- “Mindbloom helped build a foundation that I needed to keep me from spiraling and feeling lost.” — Andrew, Financial Advisor
Ketamine works with you
While there are moments when working with ketamine that can be challenging or emotionally intense, ketamine has proven itself to be safe, approachable, and gentle throughout decades of use and hundreds of thousands of individual sessions.
Ketamine works with you, not against you, as you move towards your own healing and wholeness.
This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment. If you are in a life-threatening situation, call the National Suicide Prevention Line at +1 (800) 273-8255, call 911, or go to the nearest emergency room.
Ketamine is not FDA-approved for the treatment of depression or anxiety. Learn more about off-label uses here.
Side effects of ketamine treatment may include: altered sense of time, anxiety, blurred vision, diminished ability to see/hear/feel, dry mouth, elevated blood pressure or heart rate, elevated intraocular or intracranial pressure, excitability, loss of appetite, mental confusion, nausea/vomiting, nystagmus (rapid eye movements), restlessness, slurred speech, synesthesia (a mingling of the senses).
Do not proceed with ketamine treatment if any of the following apply to you:
- Allergic to ketamine
- Symptoms of psychosis or mania
- Uncontrolled high blood pressure
- CHF or other serious heart problem
- Severe breathing problem
- History of elevated intraocular or intracranial pressure
- History of hyperthyroidism
- Other serious medical illness
- Pregnant, nursing, or trying to become pregnant
Ketamine has been reported to produce issues including, but not limited to, those listed below. However, lasting adverse side-effects are rare when medical protocols are carefully followed.
While ketamine has not been shown to be physically addictive, it has been shown to cause moderate psychological dependency in some recreational users.
- In rare cases, frequent, heavy users have reported increased frequency of urination, urinary incontinence, pain urinating, passing blood in the urine, or reduced bladder size
- Ketamine may worsen problems in people with schizophrenia, severe personality disorders, or other serious mental disorders.
- Users with a personal or family history of psychosis should be cautious using any psychoactive substance, including ketamine, and discuss potential risks with your MindBloom® clinician before proceeding with treatment.
- The dissociative effects of ketamine may increase patient vulnerability and the risk of accidents.
To promote positive outcomes and ensure safety, follow these ketamine treatment guidelines:
- Do not operate a vehicle (e.g., car, motorcycle, bicycle) or heavy machinery following treatment until you’ve had a full night of sleep
- Refrain from taking benzodiazepines or stimulants for 24 hours prior to treatment
- Continue to take antihypertensive medication as prescribed
- Avoid hangovers or alcohol intake
- Refrain from consuming solid foods within 3 hours prior to treatment and liquids within 1 hour prior to treatment
- Ketamine treatment should never be conducted without a monitor present to ensure your safety