Ketamine for Generalized Anxiety Disorder
What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder?
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) is an extremely common illness. The condition has symptoms similar to panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other types of anxiety. The primary symptoms include constant worry, restlessness, and trouble with concentration. From an emotional standpoint, anxiety can be characterized by feelings of intense worry, uneasiness, and nervousness about things that are about to happen or which we perceive can happen in the future. It can also be accompanied by certain physical manifestations like:
Butterflies in the stomach
Increased heart rate
What causes Anxiety?
It is hard to live with the fact that the cause of your anxiety may never be fully understood. The standard answer for the cause of your anxiety disorder is usually: “it is not a single factor, but usually a combination of multiple factors including physical health, personality traits, brain chemical imbalances, genetics, life experiences, environment and so on.” It can be frustrating to hear that especially when there is really know way of knowing where one factor starts and the other ends, let alone how much of one factor is at play versus another. When confronted with this reality, certainly you can probably pinpoint a few culprits, but in the end, acceptance is really your best answer because it is the only real way to move forward. With acceptance comes the willingness to seek treatment and get the help you need, and that is ultimately what matters.
If you are suffering from Generalized Anxiety Disorder you are not alone. It is said to affect some 6.8 million adults or 3.1% of the U.S. population. Yet experts estimate that only 43.2% of sufferers are actually receiving treatment meaning many go undiagnosed or simply do not realize their condition. You may have heard that women tend to suffer more from anxiety. It is true that studies suggest that women are twice as likely to be affected as men and that GAD often co-occurs with major depression. However, those numbers are relative because historically, men have been less likely to seek treatment, though more are beginning to seek treatment today.
The mind and body 'on' anxiety
So what is happening with your mind-body and anxiety? Anxiety is linked to that adrenaline rush or fight or flight response that occurs in response to danger. If you suffer from anxiety, you know the feeling--butterflies in your stomach, increased heart rate, cloudy thinking, fear, worry so intense it seems real. When exposed to repeated fight or flight response scenarios overtime, anxiety can develop. For many, anxiety becomes the auto-response to everyday situations. Anxiety becomes a real problem when it starts impacting your daily life and prevents you from what would be considered "routine living" (working, going out, managing relationships and so forth). Probably one of the hardest things to overcome with anxiety is the idea that we need the anxiety, that we need the edge anxiety gives us. We think that without it, we will not be ourselves. The truth is, well, it is not true! You will actually be better because you will be more productive, better able to think clearly, and better able to achieve. Anxiety actually hampers your ability to progress and hinders your relationships. Think about all the relationships you have lost and the bridges you have burned--your anxiety is not helping you, it is hurting you.
Treatment for anxiety
For many people, standard prescription medication works! There are a number of effective prescription drugs that do offer real relief. Further, many patients combine prescription drug treatment with therapy, as well as lifestyle changes like yoga, meditation, reflexology, nutrition, and more, and truly enjoy some real relief from anxiety.
And then there are the patients that try everything only to find that nothing works—and that they are somehow treatment resistant. These patients have it tough and live a life hinged on hopelessness. It is no way to live. But, there is new hope with IV ketamine treatments for anxiety. Ketamine is still considered off label for the treatment of anxiety, but there is a lot of published research supporting the benefits of ketamine for the treatment of anxiety (and other mood disorders). Here, we point to one standout study that is often cited in ketamine research.
A study published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology titled, “Effects of ketamine in patients with treatment-refractory generalized anxiety and social anxiety disorders: Exploratory double-blind psychoactive-controlled replication study” examines the safety and efficacy of ketamine in subjects with treatment-refractory generalized anxiety and social anxiety disorders (big mouthful, we know). The main finding of this study was simple: most subjects’ symptoms were alleviated following treatment. They also found that subjects tolerated the ketamine treatment well and reported significant improvement in social and work functioning.
Lead researcher on the study and notable ketamine expert, Paul Glue provides an excellent summary of the study. He notes:
“Perhaps the most striking benefit of maintenance treatment was the improvement in work and social functioning. Most patients reported being markedly impaired by anxiety since adolescence. Their experience of ketamine treatment enabled them to make substantial changes to their lives (e.g. employment, study, making friends, engaging socially and travelling). Reduced anxiety meant everyday tasks were less onerous. Most patients reported an increase in their ability to concentrate, leading to improvement in their functionality. Those patients who were in employment reported they were more effective at work. For many, ketamine treatment reduced their social anxiety to a level where they were able to conceptualise that they could effect changes in their lives, and this experience was empowering for them. Patients gained greater perspective on life after having ketamine treatment, and many reported that even after treatment stopped they had a better understanding of their experience of anxiety. They came to recognize that it was ‘just anxiety’ and that anxiety did not define who they were as people. This treatment response meant that, for some of the patients, relapse was only partial and they were able to take what they had learned about themselves during ketamine treatment and continue to apply it in their everyday lives.”
This is just one of many pieces of scholarly research published demonstrating the benefits of ketamine for the treatment of anxiety and other difficult to treat mood disorders.
How does ketamine work for anxiety?
Anxiety takes a toll on your brain and weakens the connections between the amygdala and the prefrontal cortex. There are a couple of emerging theories about how ketamine works for anxiety, but the dominate idea centers on the finding that ketamine works by blocking the NMDA receptor in the brain thereby allowing your to increase glutamate production--which is an integral chemical in the control of depression and anxiety. Overtime, this is thought to result in improved neuroplasticity, allowing a patient’s neural activity to overcome unhealthy recursive patterns. For many, ketamine has a calming, therapeutic effect on the mind and body.
How many ketamine infusions do I need?
We can give you a general answer but to find out what you personally need requires a consultation. For the treatment of anxiety, twice weekly infusions for a minimum of three weeks, is shown to be effective, but again, only you and your provider can determine the best course of treatment.
To find out if ketamine is right for you today, schedule a consultation with us. We offer affordable ketamine solutions and our doctors have vast experience with Walter Reed patients and a deep understanding of the suffering related to treatment-resistant depression.
Pricing & Rates
Price per Infusion: $450
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