Ketamine for PTSD

Category: Blog Ketamine Mood Disorders Psychedelic therapy
Post-traumatic stress disorder, shortly known as PTSD, is a condition people often develop due to suffering some extreme trauma or […]

Post-traumatic stress disorder, shortly known as PTSD, is a condition people often develop due to suffering some extreme trauma or stress. PTSD is becoming more common since people nowadays are more emotionally vulnerable.

Any devastating situation or traumatic incident that leaves negative imprints on your life can cause PTSD. One of the leading causes of PTSD is stressful past relationships involving physical or sexual assaults and domestic violence. Other than that, PTSD may also develop in people who suffer from a severe automobile accident or a natural disaster. Sometimes, warriors participating in battalions and refugees of wars who have suffered the death of a partner/coworker or a loved one may also develop PTSD.³

Symptoms and treatment of PTSD

If you know someone with PTSD, you can vouch that PTSD patients can be a little more dramatic than others. It’s because of their fears. Whenever anything triggers PTSD patients, their long-lost anxiety kicks in, and they cannot comprehend what’s happening around them. The recurrent traumatic attacks feel like the patient is reliving the trauma. The patient becomes easily irritated and jumpy and usually suffers from excessive nightmares and irrational fears. They may also suffer from anxiety or depression.³

Conventional therapies suggested for PTSD patients usually include psychiatric care. It doesn’t have to be a psychic ward, but family therapy and cognitive medications can also be used. One of the most shockingly unique treatments includes the use of Ketamine

“Ketamine is one of the most exciting developments in mental health in recent years.”

Professor Allan Young from the Royal College of Psychiatrists

“Ketamine” —A PTSD drug

Discovered in the 1990s during the war in Iraq, Ketamine was used to treat traumatic PTSD patients. Suffering injured soldiers were given Ketamine as an anesthetic agent that showed positive effects on treating their trauma.⁴

Ketamine was approved as an anesthetic agent (mind-numbing) by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). With the help of proper dose maintenance, Ketamine shows positive response in treating various mood disorders. Today, Ketamine is being used by patients suffering from anxiety, migraine treatment-resistant depression, and Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).¹,²

Ketamine Treatment For PTSD


How does Ketamine work?

A well-known excitatory neurotransmitter, Glutamate, is responsible for mediating normal to stressful brain signals needed to generate memories. (traumatic or otherwise)²

Research shows that Ketamine, an NMDA receptor antagonist, can effectively block and break the brain circuit pathway. Breaking the glutamate neurotransmission pathway, Ketamine stops the depressive signaling of the brain and restores operational responsiveness.⁴ Thus, Ketamine acts as an antidepressant besides being an anesthetic agent. It increases the translation of brain-derived neurotrophic factors, thereby activating synaptic plasticity. Ketamine also blocks the glycogen synthase kinase-3 and facilitates rapamycin signaling.⁵


PTSD patients suffer from unidentified depression and anxiety attacks leading to abrupt behavior. Ketamine has shown notable effects on treating severe depression even at single infusion doses.⁴ With its anti-inflammatory properties, Ketamine also treats chronic inflammation. Effective in regenerating and repairing damaged neurons, Ketamine is particularly helpful for treating long-term memory issues such as PTSD.⁶

Ketamine Treatment For PTSD


























  1. Sanacora G, Frye MA, McDonald W, et al. 2017, A consensus statement on the use of Ketamine in the treatment of mood disorders. JAMA Psychiatry. 2017;74(4):399-405.
  2. Feder A, Parides M, Murrough JW, et al., 2014, Efficacy of intravenous Ketamine for the treatment of chronic post-traumatic stress disorder: a randomized clinical trial. JAMA Psychiatry. 2014;71(6):681-688.
  3. Juliette M Harik et al. April 2017, What people with PTSD symptoms do (and do not) know about PTSD: A national survey, Depress Anxiety. 2017 Apr;34(4):374-382. doi: 10.1002/da.22558. Epub 2016 Oct 27.
  4. Wilkinson ST, Ballard ED, Bloch MH, et al. 2018, The effect of a single dose of intravenous Ketamine on suicidal ideation: a systematic review and individual participant data meta-analysis. Am J Psychiatry. 2018;175(2):150-158.
  5. Schwartz J, Murrough JW, Iosifescu DV. Ketamine for treatment-resistant depression: recent developments and clinical applications. Evid Based Ment Health. 2016;19(2):35-38.
  6. Felix Liriano, Candace Hatten, et al., 8 April 2019, Ketamine as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder: a review, Published online, Drugs in Context, doi: 10.7573/dic.212305, PMCID: PMC6457782.
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