Who May Need Ketamine Treatments the Most? Veterans

Military Veterans may benefit the most from Ketamine Infusion Therapy

shutterstock_199599794According to the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) National Center for PTSD, between 10-20% of veterans who completed their military service during America’s most recent conflicts—Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom—suffer from PTSD, or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Unfortunately, for many of these veterans, this serious mood disorder is both disabling and difficult to treat. For instance, one recent study noted that for military veterans, PTSD is highly correlated with problematic social and familial relationships, difficulty maintaining active employment, and “lower income, educational, and occupational success.” Moreover, a vast majority of veterans with PTSD also suffer from at least one other mood disorder and are more likely to suffer from conduct disorder and/or substance abuse (especially males). [1]

Traditional PTSD treatment for veterans usually involves cognitive behavioral therapy coupled with antidepressants such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). For some individuals, this powerful combination does provide effective results. For many others, however, traditional antidepressants like SSRIs do not work. In fact, there are a variety of reasons why reliance on SSRIs may not be appropriate or effective for military veterans. For instance, for some individuals, they do not offer the needed relief from symptoms. For others, they may have serious side effects that are just as problematic and debilitating as the original disease.

For individuals for whom SSRIs might be an effective treatment option, this traditional treatment plan can take several weeks for SSRIs to “kick in” and address symptoms. Moreover, because not every SSRI works for every individual, it can take months to test out a variety of different options in order to find the one that “works.” While no one should have to wait for relief from a serious mood disorder, this delay can be especially problematic—even dangerous—for veterans who may be suffering suicidal thoughts or ideation as a result of their PTSD.

VA Approves Nasal Spray Esketamine as a Treatment for PTSD in Veterans

For many years now, private medical practices around the country have been offering an innovative treatment option for veterans with PTSD: IV Ketamine Infusion Therapy. When offered as part of a comprehensive treatment plan that includes traditional cognitive behavior therapy, ketamine may offer both rapid and effective relief from PTSD symptoms. This is an especially important option for individuals whose PTSD has resisted treatment through SSRIs and antidepressants and for military veterans who are at high risk of suicide.

As the name implies, IV Ketamine Infusion Therapy involves a series of infusions in which low doses of ketamine are delivered directly into the bloodstream. The infusions are performed in a controlled clinical setting, in which the exact dose of ketamine can be rapidly and precisely adjusted as each patient responds to the treatment. For many patients, the infusions deliver nearly-immediate relief from depression, anxiety, negative thinking, and most critically, suicidal ideation. When given as a series of treatments over several weeks or months, the results are often cumulative and effective as a long-term treatment option.

With the recent FDA approval of a ketamine derivative—esketamine  AKA Spravato —the VA has begun to re-think its acceptance of ketamine as a potential treatment option for military veterans with PTSD. The VA announced earlier this year that SPRAVATO™, which delivers Spravato as a nasal spray, will be available to many veterans who receive medical care directly through the VA. Although, Ketamine Infusion Therapy does have a higher success rate, this is still a huge step ahead for the VA and must be applauded.

For military veterans who choose not to rely 100% on treatment through the VA, private clinics such as Ketamine Clinics of Los Angeles can help. Dr. Steven L. Mandel, President and founder of Ketamine Clinics of LA, recognizes the valuable service that members of our military have provided to our country, and believes that every service member deserves to enjoy a healthy, happy civilian life. Therefore, as thanks for your service, Ketamine Clinics of LA is happy to offer a 10% discount to all veterans and active duty military, as well as active and retired law enforcement professionals, for whom Ketamine Infusion Therapy may be an appropriate and necessary treatment option.

[1] Liriano, Felix; Hatten, Candace; Schwartz, Thomas. Ketamine as treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder: a review. Drugs in Context, 2019; 8: 212305. Published online 2019 Apr 8.

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.

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