How Some Women Are Using Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy to Treat Postpartum Depression

On Sam’s first trip, he took a ketamine lozenge, placed an eye mask over his eyes, and was instructed to relax and open up to everything that appeared — images, memories, emotions. Unlike in a traditional therapy session, he did not talk about his struggles. Instead, he was asked to observe whatever happened during his trip.

“My therapist said I would deviate from my conscious mind and step into a‘ transformation state ’of unusual consciousness,” Sam explains. “I was a little nervous, but I trusted him.”

When the ketamine started working, Sam says his body felt heavy and he slipped into a “sleep state.” He felt a little confused at first until he remembered his therapist’s words and was able to settle deeper into the experience. Then he remembers being greeted by a feeling he had never experienced: compassion. During her journey, she also saw herself as a baby and joined in her own sense of innocence. “I remember saying I was lucky because I could be a mother myself.”

Similar insights can occur in speech therapy, but this can take a long time because the human mind is trained to avoid thoughts and feelings that cause discomfort. However, in ketamine therapy, “breakdown of the ego” can occur, allowing these repressed feelings and memories to surface without the mind getting stuck in reactivity, chewing, or judgment.

Sam’s self-critical thoughts were paused during his journey, when he was able to create a fresh account of his maternal experience. “It showed me a new way of thinking about myself,” he says. “Instead of spinning [in worry], I could listen to my stomach. I can’t even explain the freedom this change has given me. “

Some experts call this fresh perspective a “new mind,” and it could be one of the immediate pros of the KAP. The idea is that when mothers take a break from their worries, obsessions, and spirits of shame, they can see that it is possible to think and feel differently.

How do I know if KAP is right for me?

In the treatment of PPD, speech therapy, medication, and group support are still front-line treatments, as many studies show that they are successful. However, for women with severe or recurrent PPD, ketamine is another drug, Dr. Schultz says.

And although many studies suggest it antidepressants can relieve maternal depression, Dr. Schultz says they are not for everyone. Unwanted side effects such as drowsiness and weight gain can be challenging to tolerate. “The burden of ketamine side effects is minimal and when it works, it works quickly,” the psychiatrist adds. For this reason, it can be helpful for depressed mothers who have not found relief with therapy or medication alone.

Birth or childhood trauma is often at the root of a mother’s suffering. In these cases, KAP can help the new mother deal with her trauma by providing the necessary space and distance to stop experiencing the frightening triggers.

Since ketamine is a List III substance, mothers can understandably be concerned about becoming addicted to the drug. However, all psychotherapy work with ketamine is closely monitored by the prescribing doctor or nurse. However, KAP’s ability to treat PPD is still very new, so all mothers should consult with an obstetrician or mental health provider before making a decision.

How do I find a service provider?

If you are considering KAP, it is important to know that it requires special training and that it is only provided legally by mental health professionals working alongside your doctor.

How Some Women Are Using Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy to Treat Postpartum Depression Source link How Some Women Are Using Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy to Treat Postpartum Depression

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