Conditions That Respond to Ketamine Therapy

A variety of NeuroPsychiatric conditions and syndromes respond well with Ketamine therapy at AKTARI.

These conditions include:


Approximately 85% of patients with depression or anxiety experience a significant mood improvement following one to four intravenous Ketamine infusions. The benefits of the treatment last between 25 days and 8 months. A key advantage for Ketamine therapy is its rapid effect compared to other anti-depression medications – many patients go from depressed to well in a single day.

Chronic Anxiety

Most patients with chronic anxiety respond well to ketamine therapy, with significant and sometimes dramatic reduction in anxiety symptoms by the third or fourth infusion. Notable reduction in social anxiety and in physical anxiety symptoms such as rapid heart rate, rapid breathing, feeling jittery, and fidgeting occur in a majority of anxiety patients after a short series of ketamine infusions.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar syndrome is different from other mental problems. According to the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, bipolar disorder is the 6th leading cause of disability, and can decrease lifespan by up to 9 years. More than 20 % of people who suffer from bipolar disorder at some point contemplate suicide. Because of the highly variable symptoms of bipolar syndrome, it can often take years to get an accurate diagnosis.

The good news is that Ketamine infusion also works for bipolar syndrome. Symptom relief from cyclic depression and mania is often achieved after a single infusion. In some studies, bipolar syndrome patients have a 50% reduction in depressions symptoms and a 85% reduction in suicidality, and the effects of Ketamine were prolonged by the addition of other mood stabilizing medicines. Ketamine apparently jump starts a part of the brain deep in the right hemisphere, which is associated with increased motivation and anticipation of pleasurable experience.

Unlike some antidepressant medications, Ketamine does not trigger manic episodes in bipolar patients. Many standard antidepressant medications can cause weight gain, which may further increase depression and reduce self-esteem. Conversely, Ketamine infusion has no weight gain or self-esteem side effects.

Treatment Resistant Depression

Treatment-resistant depression (TRD) refers to patients who have failed treatment with two or more standard antidepressants. In general, these patients have a very good response to Ketamine therapy, with 75% to 85% noting significant improvement in depression symptoms.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

About 70% of patients with depression or bipolar syndrome experience rapid relief after a single low-dose Ketamine infusion. Similar success rates have been seen in returning combat veterans suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Combat and other types of PTSD often lasts years or even decades, and frequently does not respond to other treatments. Since the neurotransmitter glutamate plays a major role in mediating stress response, the formation of traumatic memories, and PTSD symptoms, Ketamine is frequently very effective in relieving PTSD by rewiring the glutamate connections in the brain.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is characterized by uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and driven by the urge to repeat behaviors over and over (compulsions).

In some trials a single low dose of Ketamine was followed by an immediate decrease in OCD symptoms. OCD sufferers seem to have higher levels of glutamate in their brains and since Ketamine blocks NMDA, an important receptor for glutamate, treatment leads to lower glutamate effects, and thereby decreases associated OCD symptoms.

Panic Disorder and Agoraphobia

Ketamine treatment can also provide relief from panic disorders, agoraphobia, and generalized anxiety. In one report a woman suffering from all these symptoms had a Ketamine infusion to relieve pain from a back injury, and surprisingly she experienced a dramatic relief from her psychiatric symptoms for over 10 weeks. She returned to normal life activities and remained symptom free after a single Ketamine infusion.

Anorexia Nervosa

Refractory anorexia nervosa is severe enough that it has minimal or no response to standard medical therapy. Two thirds of patients with refractory anorexia nervosa completely lost their compulsive thoughts after repeated doses of Ketamine combined with an oral opioid blocking medication.

Tinnitus (Chronic “Ringing in the Ears”)

One in five Americans has tinnitus, a constant ringing in the ears for which there is currently no approved effective medication. In two large studies, over half the patients treated with S-Ketamine had substantial improvements in tinnitus symptoms lasting several months.

Alcohol & Drug Addiction

Recently, ketamine studies have reported efficacy in reducing problematic alcohol and drug use. Ketamine has shown to effectively prolong abstinence from alcohol and heroin in detoxified alcoholoics and heroin dependent individuals. In addition, Ketamine has reduced craving for and self-administration of cocaine in non-treatment seeking cocaine users.

We Now Treat Chronic Pain

Impact does treat chronic pain Disorders as well as NeuroPsychiatric Syndromes. Some patients with depression, bipolar syndrome, or other neuropsychiatric disorders also suffer from some degree of chronic pain. In addition, studies have shown that Ketamine also reduces tolerance to opiods, thereby making them more effective at lower doses.

 “The benefits I’ve seen are pretty impressive, and the data are very strong.”

Kyle Lapidus, M.D., Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Stony Brook University