Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic that can induce a range of experiences, including altered perceptions, feelings of detachment from the body, and changes in thought patterns. At lower doses, it has been used as an effective treatment for depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), often referred to as ketamine-assisted psychotherapy (KAP).
Ketamine is considered a psychedelic because it can produce experiences similar to those induced by classic psychedelics such as LSD or psilocybin. However, unlike these substances, ketamine has a shorter duration of action and does not typically induce visual hallucinations. Nevertheless, ketamine has been found to produce similar therapeutic effects as classic psychedelics, such as increased empathy, altered perception, and a sense of transcendence or spiritual connection.
During a ketamine-assisted psychotherapy session, a trained therapist administers the drug intravenously, inhaled or orally. The therapist guides the patient through the experience and helps them process any emotions or insights that may arise during the session. The dissociative effects of ketamine can help patients detach from negative thought patterns and gain new perspectives on their experiences.
Overall, ketamine-assisted psychotherapy is considered a promising treatment approach for various mental health conditions, including depression, anxiety, and PTSD. However, more research is needed to fully understand how it works and to optimize its therapeutic potential.