Ketamine Therapy: Can It Help Survivors of Sexual Assault?
Sexual assault is an intensively invasive act of violence that can—and often does—leave deep and long-lasting scars, both physical and mental. It is, simply put, a personal invasion of the body and the mind that can completely undermine the victim’s feeling of control and safety. Because of the deeply personal nature of this type of violence, survivors of sexual assault and/or sexual abuse are at an increased risk of developing post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. While PTSD is a perfectly natural and normal response to this type of violence, it can have a significant impact on a survivor’s long-term health and happiness.
Broadly stated, PTSD is our psyche’s way of coping with fear, vulnerability, and the feeling of loss of control caused by the intense trauma of the sexual assault or sexual abuse. The specific symptoms of PTSD in survivors of sexual assault or other sexual trauma vary widely depending on the individual, but in general, PTSD symptoms can be classified into three general buckets:
- Re-experiencing: the feeling of reliving the trauma through memories, reminders, dreams, or intrusive thought patterns
- Avoidance: deliberately or unintentionally altering behaviors to avoid potential reminders of the trauma or losing interest in activities that used to be enjoyable
- Changes in thought and/or mood: negative thinking, anxiety, depression, and/or frequently feeling angry
- Hyper-arousal: a feeling of being “on-edge” at all times, being easily startled or prone to sudden outbursts, and/or difficulty sleeping
In many cases, symptoms of PTSD overlap and reinforce each other; for instance, the body’s intense “fight or flight” response brought out by feelings of hyper-arousal become so overwhelming that the brain shifts back into avoidance. Thus, these symptoms lead to a vicious cycle from which the survivor is unable to escape without assistance.
How Ketamine Therapy Reduces Symptoms of PTSD
Traditional treatment for survivors of sexual assault with PTSD is a combination of psychiatric counseling and prescription antidepressants, usually in the form of SSRIs and SNRIs such as Zoloft, Paxil, Prozac, and Effexor. Unfortunately, traditional antidepressants can be problematic for some people: they can have intensely negative side effects, including increasing the risk of suicide; they carry a risk of long-term dependency; they take time to “kick in” and have the desired effect; and for some, they simply don’t work.
When combined with therapy and counseling, IV Ketamine Infusion Therapy offers survivors of sexual assault suffering from PTSD a safe and effective alternative to traditional antidepressants. Ketamine Therapy involves administering a low dose of ketamine directly and slowly into the blood stream through an IV infusion. By immediately impacting the chemistry of the brain, IV Ketamine Infusion Therapy can quickly break the cycle of persistent negative thinking, moods, and behaviors associated with PTSD. Freeing the brain from the cycles of negative thinking and acting gives time for therapy and counseling to take effect.
Scientists are still learning about the complex ways in which low dose ketamine infusions impact the brain’s chemistry, but current research indicates that ketamine is an NMDA receptor antagonist and an AMPA receptor stimulator. What does that mean? Simply put, scientists now believe that ketamine inhibits the brain from improperly absorbing glutamate, a neurotransmitter that regulates the number of brain synapses. The ketamine infusion enables an increase in glutamate, which quickly restores the correct balance of neurotransmitters needed for a healthy, well-functioning nervous system.
Contact Ketamine Clinics of Los Angeles
If you or someone you love is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of a sexual assault, we encourage you to contact Dr. Steven L. Mandel at Ketamine Clinics of Los Angeles immediately to find out if IV Ketamine Infusion Therapy may offer a solution.
We encourage you to visit our website at https://ketamineclinics.com/ or contact us at 424-343-8889 to schedule an appointment.
For more information about Ketamine Infusion Therapy treatments for depression, bipolar, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), fibromyalgia, pain syndromes and other conditions contact us at Ketamine Clinics of Los Angeles in Southern California (Orange County) by clicking here or calling 310-270-0625.