For decades, medical professionals have used ketamine as a surgical anesthetic to help ease their patients’ pain. While undergoing surgery, it works rapidly to diminish sensation, promoting the efficacy of sedatives. And in the aftermath, it helps reduce the need for as many addictive painkillers such as morphine.

Once researchers discovered the positive effects of ketamine in patients with psychiatric mood disorders, ketamine began to boom as a treatment for individuals with treatment-resistant depression. Medical professionals everywhere are now opening offices to provide ketamine treatment, and the use of this powerful drug for treating major depression is becoming more and more prevalent.

But what does all this mean for you and your pain? 

If you are exploring ketamine therapy to treat your depression, there are some critical factors to consider. Ketamine therapy, particularly when administered intravenously, is a treatment that’s advancing simply because it helps its patients, in most cases, progress just as quickly.

Still, just because IV ketamine is becoming more widely available today does not necessarily mean anyone who can legally provide your ketamine treatment should. That is to say, there are ethical and practical factors to consider when choosing someone to administer your treatment.

A psychiatrist can provide the safest ketamine treatment possible and the most effective one. For one, there is so much more involved in this treatment than the ability to safely and effectively monitor a patient throughout an infusion treatment. For example, a highly skilled anesthesiologist who is proficient with starting IVs and familiar with ketamine can technically provide this treatment. However, their expertise is in pain medicine, not psychiatry. 

Additionally, the person providing ketamine treatment to their patient must also know a great deal more than how a patient might respond to the drug’s potential side effects. As well-versed as medical doctors are in prescribing medications, it begs the question, how well could a doctor respond in terms of their patient’s psychiatric response, not just their physiologic one?

This is not to say that every psychiatrist is a specialist in everything either, as there are vast psychiatric disorders, from behavior disorders to cognitive and personality disorders. However, psychiatrists are specialists in mental disorders as a whole and understanding how the brain works. They are prepared to treat a patient in any way their state of mind shifts throughout ketamine treatment.

Most of all, psychiatrists are most suited to provide ketamine treatment because they are well versed in a patient’s suffering, and they know that a safe and effective treatment factors in not only what happens within that 60-minute infusion window. Instead, a psychiatrist has a thorough grasp of everything that comes before it and is an expert in managing anything that comes after.

For the best possible outcome with your ketamine treatment, it should be under the care of a psychiatrist. Because everything these treatments require, including patient assessment and proper dosage, is best left to someone who knows how to make adjustments and manage a patient’s responses. In curating the experience of ketamine treatment, a psychiatrist can manage everything from a patient’s physiological reactions to their psychiatric ones — including their fears and expectations. 

In other words, when they make adjustments within the realm of dosage or the psychotherapy that follows, psychiatrists are prepared for how a patient’s mind adapts along with it all. When you choose to receive your ketamine treatment from an experienced psychiatrist, you can relax knowing that you are under the care and continuous monitoring of someone who is no stranger to what you are going through — someone who believes that relieving your kind of pain is possible. 

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