I was NOT prepared for the highs and lows of a 4hr Ketamine treatment for chronic pain

I am a pain patient; I have CRPS. It was recommended to go through ketamine treatment to help with the chronic pain. The protocol I followed was 4hrs a day, 5days in a row.
It was THE hardest thing I’ve endured in my life. By day 3, I legit felt like a science experiment- completely out of body. My husband is also a chronic pain patient and we did ours together… we agreed it was pure HELL.
We think that the doctors who write these protocols do research, but don’t experience what they’re putting people through.
Coming down is INCREDIBLY HARD. We barely slept for 5 days. The first 3, I don’t think either of us got even 5 minutes of sleep. We spent time just staring at the wall, holding hands. We felt so disconnected with reality even after the 4 hours that it didn’t feel real.
He was only able to complete 4 days. I completed the full 5 but like everyone else is saying, we felt depleted-
In every sense: physically, emotionally, and mentally.
We only could stomach 2 meals in the 5 days. We survived on Gatorade. My mom said it was obvious that I lost weight that week. I couldn’t grasp what was going on around me even after the 4hours.

Unfortunately the closest facility that took our insurance is 2hrs away in another state, so we had to stay in a hotel. It was beyond horrible to try and feel sane afterwards.

During the 4hr treatment, some of it was tolerable- some visions were very vivid, sometimes I felt like an out of
Body experience. Sometimes I saw colors, or what looked like marshmallows cave in on me. I heard pill bottles shaking and even 3 months later I can’t stand that sound.
On my 4th day, I felt static electricity throughout my ENTIRE body- like every nerve ending was wiggling. I could even taste it. It was so bad I wanted to rip the IV out of my arm, but my facilities weren’t all there, so I couldn’t figure out how.

If anyone hasn’t done it and is looking into it-
Please truly talk to someone who’s gone through it. We weren’t warned and I wish we would have been. As much as we were so called “prepared”- we never expected what we experienced.

My husband who was blown up in Iraq, in the Marines said he feels like he handles his PTSD from that fairly well (and he does. He does well, all things considering), but this Ketamine protocol gave us both PTSD. I’m not sure if or when we’d be able to do it again and it’s suggested for our protocol that after you complete the 5 days, it should last 2-4 months and then need to come back for a 2-3 day re-infusion (booster infusion)- whatever you want to call it and neither of us plan to. It was rough. I gave it EVERYTHING I had and I truly felt like what I saw/mentally went through is not something any human should have to endure.

……and yet we do it, in hopes of chronic pain relief. It goes to show how HORRIBLE living with chronic pain is, and what we’re willing to put ourselves through in hopes of relief- any relief.

Thanks for listening. :slight_smile:



I can’t even imagine.

I go for depression, a bit of anxiety. Anything I may have thought of as pain that is chronic is definitely not Chronic Pain.

The clinic I go to treats vets for free. That isn’t me. You have my respect on that account.

My clinic does a 6 dose build-up to full dose, but they start low and build up (to state the gratuitously obvious), but they also recommend doses to be at least every other day. Once you get to full dose, they say that the average is 3 months, some less, some more. For me the average works.

My experience has not been pleasant. Some of the staff at my clinic are vets, one a former SEAL, who are also patients. They haven’t told me any details, but all of us agree that ketamine works for us.

I haven’t been everybody. I can’t say it works for everybody. I know it works for me. It isn’t pleasant, but it isn’t bad. It is an improvement on antidepressants that make a promise, make me wait until they start to work, then eventually taper off until I try another one that ends up about the same.

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I’m glad you’re getting relief and so are others at your clinic. That’s amazing. It really can be an amazing medication.

We did 6 doses every other day or so too originally; closer to our house. Insurance didn’t cover it so we paid out of pocket. We were getting 1hr infusions, total of 6 for the protocol which we later found out is the mental health protocol- not chronic pain. Our moods were awesome, it helped with pain somewhat but never lasted longer than a couple days, maybe a week- which is why we were suggested a higher/stronger protocol.

We thought because we had done the 6, we’d handle these easily. Expected to leave happier- like the 1hour infusions. Figured if 1 hour worked so well, 4hours we’d be walking on clouds. Oh Hell No- it was a fight that we had to endure every day we walked in there. Every day was different. We hoped by day 5 we’d be bouncing off walls, instead at one point- we were both sitting on the ground of our hotel, staring at the ceiling- absolutely no thoughts in our heads, me cuddled up in his lap, holding hands— just trying to wrap our heads around the torture we went through….

People do this for fun, people do this on the streets, at music festivals… neither of us could comprehend how someone would willing put themselves through this process for fun.

The 1hr sessions we didn’t have too bad of struggles with. His 1st one he had rebound pain because it pissed off his nervous system really badly (the dose wasn’t right). The 7th, I got 2 weeks after surgery on my CRPS leg; my nervous system was already unbearably flared to the point where I would throw up for hours- my doctors thought a ketamine session would calm it down, but a 1hr session it made it worse… MUCH worse. My BP was reaching 198/134- I couldn’t get it under scary stoke levels. My neurologist suggested THC to try and calm things down which did seem to help some. By the time we did the 4hr ones I was about 4months out from surgery and my nervous system was slightly more calm so my neurologist suggested to keep going and try again.

I did…. Don’t think I’ll do 4hrs again anytime soon.

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@E.Bono Wow. I am so very, very sorry you had to endure such a horrific experience. Having a positive/effective experience doing the mental health protocol I have been very curious about the chronic pain treatment. I appreciate more than I can say your honesty in recounting your (and your husband’s) experience. I think I’ll live with my perpetual leg ache rather than endure that kind of misery. I would have assumed the same exact thing you have described - thinking that the 4 hour sessions would be similar just longer. Thanks again for sharing with all of us!


Semper Fi!

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