64: Who is Not a Good Candidate for Ketamine Therapy

Who is Not a Good Candidate for Ketamine Therapy

Ketamine therapy has brought a revolution, as it is a way of innovation that has long not been in use to treat people with depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. The distinctive successful methodology of this therapy has made amazing results even in some critical cases and provided instant relief to the patients. Despite that, specify the one who needs this kind of therapy. This might be a great option for you in case you would be. In this article, we will consider the possible conditions of ketamine treatment, discuss the other treatment options, and stress the importance of recommendations from a qualified mental health professional.

Benefits of Ketamine Therapy:

The drug ketamine is an anesthetic that induces dissociation and was considered to be a new treatment for mental health problems. The drug works by interfering with the glutamate system in the brain which in turn produce neurotrophic factors and promote synaptic connections. Ketamine, in simplest terms, works as a moderator of mood, which leads to a reduction of anxiety and the manifestation of PTSD.

Unlike the common antidepressants that take some time to work effectively, ketamine therapy has the unique feature of being a quick-acting treatment for depression. In contrast, conventional antidepressant drugs may need multiple weeks or even months before the effects are visible. However, the ketamine drug often works within hours with days. This spontaneous responsiveness proves to be quite a useful thing for people who are dealing with acute stress or severe depression.

Who Might Not Be a Good Candidate for Ketamine Therapy?

Considering Ketamine Therapy? Ask Yourself These Questions:

Have I ever had high blood pressure that was difficult to manage or other heart-related issues?

Ketamine can have a temporary effect on blood pressure and the heartbeat as well. Patients who are liable to face that their blood pressure is uncontrolled or who have a history of heart problems can suffer from the complications associated with the use of ketamine. The doctor’s opinion will be the first thing to consider before the introduction of ketamine therapy as cardiovascular health needs to be checked.

Am I pregnant or do I carry a baby now?

However, there is insufficient research on which is the security of ketamine therapy in pregnancy or breastfeeding. Ketamine has the potential to be harmful throughout fetal development or during breastfeeding as the infant is more likely to become ill. This means, that it is strongly recommended to abstain from ketamine therapy in prenatal and postnatal periods. In the case of your pregnancy or breastfeeding, the medical professionals should be consulted and other options for treatment should be discussed with them.

Have you ever experienced any adverse reactions or intolerance to ketamine or other medications in the past?

If you ever had a negative reaction with ketamine or comparable medicines you should tell your healthcare provider about it. But, allergic reactions or other side effects may appear and your medical history will certainly help to decide whether ketamine therapy is suitable for you.

Detailed Explanation for Each Contraindication:

Uncontrolled high blood pressure or a history of heart problems:

Given subcutaneously and intramuscularly, or by mask, ketamine will work fast on the mind and body. In the first half hour, patients may observe an appreciable increase in blood pressure and heartbeat. Human beings with heart problems will have more chances of developing heart rhythm abnormalities or heart stress during the flight. Close monitoring and maintenance of the cardiovascular system are the key points in ketamine therapy.

Schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorder:

The dissociative properties of ketamine, however, might worsen psychosis or cause psychotic symptoms in people who already have schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder. It is important to explore the other mental disorders like the background psychopathological ones as well as prescribe the most effective treatments.

Pregnancy or breastfeeding:

Concerning the safety of ketamine therapy during pregnancy or breastfeeding, some research has been done, however, it is still insufficient enough to be used as a basis for the safety of this treatment. The problem lies in the limited number of ketamine studies, which leads to its usage not being recommended during the pregnancy period due to the potential consequences for the fetus and the baby.

History of substance abuse or addiction:

When ketamine is implied, it may also lead to misuse and abuse of the substance. Individuals with previous experiences with alcohol and drugs, or those in the category of addicts, will most likely be addicted to ketamine. To be successful, we must concentrate on recovery and search out alternative treatments based on peer-reviewed research.

Previous negative reaction to ketamine or similar medications:

While the majority of patients are likely to benefit from ketamine or medications that work via a similar mechanism, we need to be prepared for the possibility that some patients may experience side effects. Telling your healthcare provider about the bad experience is vitally important to make sure that you are not put into any harm by ketamine therapy.

Alternatives to Ketamine Therapy:

This has been proven by the success of ketamine therapy but that does not imply that everyone can benefit from it. Finally, depression, anxiety, and PTSD may use alternative treatments based on evidence. Some alternatives include:

Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS):

TMS is a non-invasive procedure, where a magnetic field through specific regions in the brain is guided, which is related to mood regulation. It has been proven to be an effective alternative treatment for a person who wouldn’t be responsive to ketamine therapy.

Psychotherapy Approaches:

Among the CBT, DBT, and EMDR, psychotherapies that are used to reduce depression, anxiety, and PTSD are well-known. With this approach, there is a high chance of finding the source of the problem that is being corrected, and skills to deal with the problem are taught. Also, the process of emotional healing is facilitated.


At this point, the best way to figure out whether you are a good candidate for ketamine therapy is to check your safety, health, and personal well-being. Referring to a professional mental health practitioner who would then give the medical history evaluation and take you through the best treatment options available would be the next step. Ketamine therapy may be a quick and successful method of intervention for some, but it might not be applicable for others due to the existence of some medical conditions.

It needs to be noted that this blog post is not a substitution for a medical expert’s guidance and care, so seek the help of a doctor if you have any health issues. Of course, one should consider the doctor’s opinion as a starting point for personalized information.

In case you are interested in ketamine therapy, you can consult a licensed medical practitioner in the USA by looking for one on the websites of the American Society of Ketamine Physicians (ASKP) and the Ketamine Advocacy Network (KAN). Here is an area where you can be able to interact with professionals who have the experience of giving ketamine therapy.

Medical Disclaimer:

Remember that this blog post is not intended to be a diagnosis or a substitution for a proper professional’s recommendation. It is the time to go and seek the opinion of a knowledgeable medical practitioner who can give you personalized direction concerning your health problem. In my blog post, I use information that I have retrieved from original, scientific medical journals and websites of mental health organizations.

Data and Sources:

Newport, D. J., Carpenter, L. L., McDonald, W. M., & Potash, J. B. (2015). Ketamine and other NMDA antagonists: early clinical trials and possible mechanisms in depression. American Journal of Psychiatry, 172(10), 950-966.

Sanacora, G., Frye, M. A., McDonald, W., Mathew, S. J., Turner, M. S., Schatzberg, A. F., … & Nemeroff, C. B. (2017). A consensus statement on the use of ketamine in the treatment of mood disorders. JAMA Psychiatry, 74(4), 399-405.

American Society of Ketamine Physicians (ASKP): https://www.askp.org/

Ketamine Advocacy Network (KAN): https://www.ketamineadvocacynetwork.org/

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