My unpleasant experience with ketamine infusion

On the whole the staff were professional and kind I felt they genuinely cared about my well-being. The facility was clean and comfortable. On the downside I feel I wasn’t well prepared for the aftermath. The experience for the first hour or so was very interesting and euphoric at times. I didn’t experience any especially unpleasant content or disturbing emotions, but it was much more intense and psychedelic than I expected. It’s sort of like lucid dreaming. At times I lost touch when my own sense of self, sort of like a dream-within-a-dream where you lose track of what’s real, and can’t remember basic things about yourself.

After that I think was about an hour-and-a-half, they moved me to a recovery room, but I was surprisingly dysfunctional. The videos I watched didn’t really prepare for me the comedown. I felt very fatigued and dull. It took great effort just to walk. I felt unsteady on my feet and slowly shuffled to the recovery room like a geriatric stroke victim. I had trouble with my memory and found it difficult to engage in intIelligent conversation. It was hard just to form complete sentences. Sometimes I just forgot what I wanted to say mid-sentence.

Three days later and I’m still feeling dull and tired. For the last few days, I feel like I’ve lost 10 or 20 IQ points. I’m having trouble focusing on my work, making decisions, staying on task, and remembering things–even having trouble spelling common words when writing in my journal.

I thought the session would leave me feeling energized and having a positive outlook, but the depleted, hungover, spaced out feeling is very troublesome. It’s left me feeling damaged and depressed. I’ve been in a fantastic mood for the past few weeks, but after feeling a bit drunk, tired and dizzy more than 72 hours alter, I’m really left me feeling on the verge of tears.

When I talked to the Illumma staff about my feelings, they said “it’s OK if you feel like crying, Ketamine can help open up feeling you have been repressing” and said I may “need time to process the emotions that have been brought up.” I replied to clarify, “it’s not a matter of needing time to process any emotional content”–nothing unpleasant or negative came up. It’s the hungover feeling which is really disturbing me because it’s left me feeling like a half-wit–my memory and executive function seems to be impaired. Yet again, they wrote, “everything that ketamine brings up is just under the surface, so looking at what comes up feedback and insight from your system is an important awareness tool.” (yes, the grammar of their response was a bit garbled like that.)

The way they keep insisting that I feel drained and depleted is because of the supposed unconscious content I need to process is irritating. It’s patronizing, and feels like they are gaslighting me into thinking there is some imaginary trauma I need to deal with, when in fact this drug has left me feeling like a burnout for days, and I wasn’t given any warning that I might feel this way. I want my brain back.

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That can be one of the side effects of ketamine. I sometimes feel physically and mentally exhausted for a week post infusion.

I had a very similar experience. When I tried to express how bad I felt afterwards: like, I had extreme fatigue and dementia I received a similar response. After one session I was told what felt like ingenuine superficial verbedge. I was also told: "Ketamine’s not for everyone. Upon further research I came to realize that several factors could have contributed to my negative experience. I think that some practitioners aren’t trained well. There are some antidepressants which don’t synthesize well with Ketimine. I didn’t receive important information about the therapy; things that would have prepared me better. There was no discussion at all. It’s a very expensive treatment. Yet, when speaking to others they relayed that they were left alone without monitoring; no session closure, no one came into room after treatment to document a patience experience and to discuss it with them, as well as ensure patient is stabilized prior to leaving. Patients were left to leave with no instruction. I think that Ketamine success is largely dependent on working with knowledgeable and caring practitioners.


I wonder if maybe you got too strong of a hit. As a BIG guy… I wasn’t bothered, but I am 6’2 240. Folks with smaller body mass seem to have more post infusion than us big dudes… no judgment about size at all… when the subject was broached, were you offered a less powerful dose? The reason I say this is that someone I met complained of the same type of issues, the provider backed off the potency, and everything was fine. I hope you find what you need.

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I am so sorry this was your experience. I have had mainly good experiences. However I do have memory issues and do feel fatigued for several days.

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I’m sorry to hear that, too. Echoing what others have said above, my initial experiences (first 2-3 infusions?) left me feeling exhausted and unable to communicate. I talked to the folx at my clinic who said that ketamine can create a short-term brain fog and to give it about 3 days or so after the last infusion (of my initial series) to see how I feel. For me, I appreciated the practical response rather than the “it’s probably an emotional response you’ve been suppressing - journal about it!” response. Journaling is great, dgmw. I wanted to know if I was going to be able to think straight again, though.

Hang in there. It’s a process and some clinics have better techniques than others, it sounds like…


Thank you all. It’s very helpful just to hear that others have had a similar experience—and recovered. I’m feeling better now four days later. But still I’m concerned that something which can leave you feeling incapacitated for so long might be damaging. :scream:

I have that same worry. However, the severity of the complex PTSD I experience daily has also been very damaging. I talked this over with my therapist. I try to hang on to the hope that the Ketamine will develop those new pathway to achieve some peace and relief from the extreme characteristics of the PTSD. I have had some improvement however, I do know it is going to be a long road with some intense work.