Upon arrival you will experience a calm, peaceful atmosphere with dimmed lighting and soothing music, similar to a spa. After filling out the paperwork and completing the questionnaires regarding your current feelings, you can sit back and relax. You have finished all the work you need to do.
Prior to the initial session of ketamine infusion, you may experience an array of feelings: anxiety, hopefulness, doubt, or a mixture of many emotions. There is anxiety due to the unknown: is it going to hurt, how am I going to feel, and ultimately is it going to work? The hopefulness comes from the possibility of actually feeling some relief and getting to back to a “normal” life.
Once the nurse anesthetist is ready, you move to a private room which has 2 large reclining chairs, windows to see outside and the necessary medical equipment for your infusion. The nurse explains every step of the process and answers any questions you may have. You are welcome to bring someone in the room with you if you would like, know you will never be alone, there will always be somebody with you.
An IV is placed by the nurse, which will be the part that hurts the most – but is merely a quick needle prick. The infusion begins, but you will not begin to feel the ketamine until several minutes into it. Since the dose of ketamine is very small – designed to treat depression, not to anesthetize you or to make you “stoned” – what patients actually feel varies widely. Some feel very happy and talkative right from the beginning and have great conversations with the nurse anesthetist, while others just want to relax and sit quietly. Some listen to music with headphones. Some people may feel dizzy or nauseous, but…don’t worry. The nurse has some medication they can give you that will lessen these side effects. The infusion lasts about 40 minutes and there can be a range of feelings throughout this time. This is normal. One feeling or another doesn’t determine the final result, as stated before – each individual is unique.
Once the infusion is completed, you will have some time to adjust if you are feeling dizzy. Experiencing dizziness at the end of infusion is very common, but subsides in about 10 minutes. You will be assisted to the relaxation room where you will rest for 30 minutes on a couch or chair. By this time, you may feel “happy” or not have much change in your mood – either is normal and doesn’t determine the final outcome. You will be released to go home, but will not be permitted to drive yourself so bring someone who can drive you.
Throughout the process the physician will be checking in to make sure you are doing okay and to answer any questions. The number of infusions recommend will differ for each patient and will be discussed with the physician. All the staff is welcoming, comforting and there to make your experience a pleasant one. If you or someone you love struggles with depression, if your depression is not responding to conventional oral medications, then this is a treatment worth considering.
If you think this will be beneficial for you or someone you know please contact us for more information at