Trying K again but lack Hope

I had 10-12 infusions about a year ago and I never felt a thing until number 6; then it went downhill because the K doctor tried to be my therapist and discharged me as I wasn’t improving; this was highly traumatic. A year later I’m at the end of the rope and trying a different ketamine clinic. I had infusion 1 today and all I feel is tired. Is this just a waste of time and money? I guess I’m looking for stories of hope because I need it Thank you for any advice or comments. I’m being treated for mental issues not physical pain

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It’s certainly not unusual to feel pretty tired after an infusion. I know I usually do. So I would say it’s much too soon to tell if it’s working.

If you didn’t feel anything until #6 - it makes me wonder (remember I have NO medical expertise!!!) if they were giving you the correct dosage? If the dosage is too low it seems like it’s hard to achieve the dissociative state. Or if maybe you are just one of those people who are slow to respond. It happens.

I hope this clinic and your therapist (hopefully you’ve been able to find a good therapist as well - easier said than done!) are a better match for you and can help bring relief and healing. There are many here who have gone through the process more than once - hopefully they can relate their experiences and give better insight.

I never researched dosing and was asking about that today. Are you supposed to be totally knocked out or what? By the time I was on infusions 10-12 at first clinic, I was totally knocked out during the infusions. Today they started me lower and I knew I was drugged but fairly lucid- I knew what was going on and such. The doctor asked me afterwards if it felt the dose was too “low” and I don’t know. What is it supposed to feel like? I’m going back tomorrow for another infusion and they are increasing some. And no, I never found a decent therapist.

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No, you are definitely not supposed to be knocked out! If you’re totally knocked out… you basically had an expensive nap as far as I know. Yes, you should actually be conscious - it’s thought that the dissociative experience is part of what helps your brain to rewire/regrow those areas that have been damaged by trauma, etc. If you’re not even conscious the dose must have been much too high - that’s just plain anesthesia and not a theraputic dose Again, I am NOT a medical professional…just have discussed this quite a bit with my neighbor who is a recently retired anesthesiologist and his former colleague who runs the clinic.

As far as I can tell most clinics will start you out on the lower end of a dose for your weight. For me, it meant that I could kind of pop in and out of that dissociative state. That sounds a lot like what you experienced today so yes, I would guess that it’s a bit low. Everybody’s different and it may take a few infusions to find the “sweet spot”. They usually increase the dose each time because you build up tolerance.

You can read on here a lot of people’s descriptions of the dissociative state. Try doing a search on that word. You might find reading them really helpful. When I am fully into my ketamine infusion I am fully immersed in the experience. I wear a Mindfold mask (available via Amazon) and listen to soothing instrumental music. What I listen to is actually supposed to also have brainwave benefits but who knows if that makes a difference or not. Anyhoo - I am definitely conscious and experiencing things. I cannot feel my body unless I make a concerted effort to do so (I find I do not want to feel my body so I avoid that). Basically on the camera it looks like I am just resting but in my brain things are happening! Some people see really clear imagery, visions, etc. - not me, I see things but they tend to be not anything truly recognizable. Starry night skies. Maybe the inside of spaceships (no aliens, though!). Sometimes the vague images of branches… I like to think this is the dendrites in my brain regrowing. But I am definitely seeing things - my eyes are open inside the Mindfold mask so it’s like the images are projected onto that black “screen”. I’m not sure I hear the music accurately after the first 5 minutes or so but I definitely hear the sounds.

I had the same reaction when asked if my dose was too low - how was I supposed to know? But I told them that I was able to pop in and out of the dissociation so yes, it was likely too low. And it’s been better with the increased dosages. Definitely keep up that dialog with your clinic!!! They need to know exactly what you are experiencing so they can help to adjust things for a successful treatment.

I’ve haven’t had much luck with therapists either - so I’ve had to do the homework for myself. Definitely try to take time before your infusion to calm your mind and think about what you would like to feel. It really helps sometimes to have a word or short phrase to repeat to yourself if things seem too scary or weird. Afterward, be sure to take time to “integrate”… you will likely be feeling a lot of stirred up emotions and its good to process those. Contemplate where those thoughts and feelings are coming from - ketamine seems to cause us to re-feel a lot of the emotions we have repressed as our brain re-grows connections between our “logical” and “emotional” brains.

There’s some really good information out there now on what to expect from an infusion and how to prepare for it and also integrate. This is one page that is well written: https://www.resetketamine.com/blog/2019/5/20/how-to-prepare-for-and-integrate-from-a-ketamine-infusion

Does ketamine work? YES, I truly believe it does for the majority of people. At least statistically that is true. BUT - I do think it also requires work on our part during the journey to do our best to break negative habits and thought cycles that can damage our mental health in the first place. Cognitive Behavior Therapy is something really helpful to study and practice. It’s something you can do yourself - a book that was recommended to me was “Feeling Good”. https://smile.amazon.com/Feeling-Good-New-Mood-Therapy-ebook/dp/B009UW5X4C/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2X4LP8J88XVH5&keywords=feeling+good+the+new+mood+therapy&qid=1637274283&qsid=137-5548940-0546645&sprefix=feeling+good%2Caps%2C379&sr=8-1&sres=0380731762%2CB01N9TCVLD%2CB00GYUBBRG%2C0380718030%2C1538411725%2CB08RF28K48%2C0452281326%2C1623157803%2CB07CH2PS4K%2CB001R5RTVA%2C1648765092%2C1641523328%2C1976436184%2C1621063046%2CB009R5H19W%2C1951056779

Hope this helps. It sounds like maybe you just needed to find the right clinic! There IS hope. You are obviously willing to fight for health and happiness. Keep asking questions - we are all in this together.

Thank you for all of the info. I now feel today was a waste of time and money as I had zero insights and feel no different. I was looking at the art in the room during infusion, thinking about how this experience may be different than last, and thinking about work and other things and I wasn’t “dissociated” just drugged. I kept asking how much longer it would last as I was honestly bored and thirsty. You have definitely given me things to talk to dr about tomorrow when I go back.

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I think others have already mention maybe your dose is not high enough. Also it needs to increased with each consecutive infusion if you are getting loading doses close together.

What other meds are you taking. There are drugs known to block Ket’s effectiveness. Benzodiazepines especially and there are others.

Good FB group for up to date info.

I do take a benzo but I did not take it or anything else today before my afternoon infusion. This seems like a guinea pig project to me. An expensive one. I’m only doing this again as my psych says I’m out of options. I’ve tried everything else under the sun including cognitive behavioral therapy which drove me mad as it got me nowhere in over a year. So much wasted money and time. I am going back tomorrow for next infusion and will tell them I didn’t dissociate last time and so increase the dose. They are “practicing” medicine and we are the experiment so it feels.

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Definitely ask that they increase the dose. If you’ve had the therapy before it seems that you’d want to start off pretty close to where you left off.

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Benzo’s work on the some of the same receptors as Ketamine. Just stopping it for the day of treatment won’t help much. If use a benzodiazepines everyday then your brain will not have as many receptors for the K to work on.

If you are out of all options I would suggest learning a little more about Ketamine and what can keep it from working. Also ask the doctor about your dosage.

I’ve been getting Ket infusions for two years and have had to increase dosage depending how close together I get them. It turns around mug negative thoughts and SI within 24 hours. Other symptom relief may not be noticeable right away.

Like I said tons of good info on FB page about dosage protocols, meds that block Ket, ket assisted psychotherapy. Also I have Magnesium added to my infusions and take a supplement magnesium threonate supplement. Supposed to help make Ket work better and last longer. Got this info from FB group and they lots of other good info.

You may just be a non-responder. But evidence has shown from research and anecdotal that many times if Ket doesn’t provide relief there is a reason why.

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I’ve been trying to remember if I had any thoughts at all during the infusion that could be of value. This is making me sad because I mostly remember just watching my shoes and thinking how this is all pointless- I mean life in general. It was kind of like my normal thoughts were going on but I knew I was drugged. So the benzo’s are affecting efficacy, the dose wasn’t high enough, and there are preparation calming steps one should take prior to infusion. I’ll discuss all this w doctor tomorrow. I appreciate the info but honestly I just don’t have hope because I think the trauma / ptsd / depression whatever is too much for the drug to overcome. I’m not sure if I can create a self- fulfilling prophesy there…sigh

Sounds like you’re actually a lot better prepared to have a more effective treatment tomorrow. Totally understand your frustration. Yes, there really are so many factors involved there really doesn’t seem to be a way for this process to avoid a certain amount of trial and error - which is exasperating when yes, you’re the experiment. But everyone’s chemistry is different… add in everyone’s medication mixes etc - don’t see how it can be helped.

Best of luck tomorrow - here’s hoping for a breakthrough experience!

I am wondering, not feeling anything until #6? Was that part of the standard issue 6 dose build-up to the full dose? And, if it has been a while, your current feelings of lack of response might be that they are building you up?

What I have been told (both here and by my provider) is that the ketamine does what it does, whether I am conscious or not. I have been taking my troches when I go to bed (i.e., brush my teeth, drink some water, pop the troche under my tongue and crawl under the blankets). Sometimes I notice it coming on before I get to sleep, usually not. But I do wake up the next morning with a more calm outlook on my life. It is definitely not “infusion Jr.”. The effects I get from my injections at the clinic knock me on my ass, I spend a day pretty much napping, if not just giving up and going to bed 5 hours early. But, then instead of registering my “1 to 10” as a fairly constant 5, sometimes lower, I can chalk up a 7 or 8, sometimes 9 for 2 or 3 months. When I start going back to lower numbers, I schedule a clinic session. My average is 3 months between boosters.

During my injection sessions, I can’t say that I have coherent thoughts of any kind. I do get visuals when I close my eyes, but it seems to be mostly some vague indeterminate colors in Euclidian patterns (squares, circles, triangles) that spool by like the dotted lines on the freeway.

I still get confused with “intention” and “integration”. It has been suggested that it is a semantic issue. I’ll concede that. (Which is why I have been trying to find locals that would like to get together and talk about such things). I tend to inject what I think is humor into conversations and then be thought of as callous, because a chuckle is not necessarily a sneer.

My lack of intention or integration aside, I still notice that post-injection, I am much more calm, clearer in thought, less volatile in emotion and just overall more inclined to happiness. Ketamine doesn’t make me happy. I still have to look for the rainbows and butterflies. I still have to do the work, but ketamine puts me into a head space that is more conducive to that work.

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As far as being the lab rat goes, I am happy to do it. It helps me, and if that means someone else is helped, so much the better.

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I had never heard of a troche or integration until today reading these posts. The prior doctor (and current dr) have said nothing about either. More questions for dr. As for the initial 6 sessions from last year, it was that clinic’s standard for 6 initial infusions. I was about to quit but after 6 actually felt better so kept going. But I was never told (or learned on my own) until yesterday that benzos impact, so maybe that was the problem last time. Actually on top of being on benzos I was getting versed in the injections and I’ve since learned that verses can impact efficacy. It’s so hard when you have to learn half the stuff on message boards…thanks all

@Lovebeach you mentioned never hearing of troche or integration before the posts on here…. That’s why I recommended the FB group. These things are all discussed there.

The moderator of group is a nurse aesthetician and is a member of the Association of Ketamine Physicians, Practitioners etc. valuable info on that sight.

She shared with group info from their most recent conference. The said clinics are having very robust results for Ket infusions either preceded by…. Or followed by a TMS session.

You might find some info on the FB group that could point you in a possible new direction of the Ket keeeps not working for you.

I looked at the FB group but I’m not currently a FB member and don’t want to be. The rules said you can’t open a new FB account under some alias (or something like that). I just don’t want my name on FB…i probably sound like the most naive person on the planet, but do you know if you can open a FB page just under any made up name and it would be ok? The rules seemed pretty strict against that…(?)

And what is TMS?

If you mean the trans cranial thing (TMS) I was not able to do it because it hurt my eyes on lowest setting and dr said too dangerous to proceed; I was the first patient ever that couldn’t handle TMS he said (in his office). My brain is just not normal!!!

You say that like it is a bad thing!

I have steadfastly refused to be on FB. No criticism of them that do. You do you. I want no part of it. I quite like my anonymity. Call me a Luddite Old Guy. Go ahead. Please.

There is an “Ask a Practitioner” thread here that I have directed a question to, and received an answer.

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