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Ketamine For PTSD: What You Should Know

Has your mind ever felt like it’s in a loop, replaying the same intrusive memories over and over?

That’s often what it feels like to live with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a condition affecting millions of people, making it difficult to lead a normal life. Traditional treatments like medication and psychotherapy are effective for some people. But for others, they may not provide enough relief.

But there are alternative treatments, with one of the most promising being ketamine for PTSD. Ketamine is primarily known as an anaesthetic, but recent studies have shown its potential for treating mental health disorders like depression and PTSD.

So, how effective is ketamine?

Before we answer that question, let’s define what PTSD is and how it affects people diagnosed with it.

Understanding PTSD

PTSD can develop after you witness or experience a traumatic event. This can include:

  • Acts of terrorism
  • Childhood abuse or neglect
  • Military combat experience
  • Natural disasters like earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, or tornados
  • Physical or sexual assault
  • Serious or life-threatening car accidents

Active-duty military, first responders, and veterans experience the highest rates of PTSD.¹ However, anyone can develop PTSD after experiencing a traumatic event.

What are the Symptoms of PTSD?

Symptoms typically begin within three months of the traumatic event but can also develop later. For a mental health provider to diagnose you with PTSD, symptoms must last for at least one month and significantly affect daily life.

Symptoms can vary from person to person but may include:

  • Avoidance behaviours: You avoid people, places, or things that remind you of the traumatic event.
  • Hyperarousal: You constantly feel on edge, easily startled, and have difficulty sleeping.
  • Intrusive memories: You relive the traumatic event through flashbacks or nightmares.
  • Irritability and anger: You may have trouble managing emotions, frequent irritability, and outbursts of anger.
  • Negative changes in mood or thinking: You may have negative thoughts and feelings, difficulty remembering the traumatic event, or feel detached from others.

While these are common symptoms of PTSD, every individual experiences it differently. Some people may only have a few symptoms, while others may experience many. If left untreated, PTSD can significantly affect your daily life and lead to other mental health disorders. In many cases, it can also co-occur with other conditions like anxiety, depression, and substance use disorder.

What is Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD)?

CPTSD is a subtype of PTSD. While both disorders share similar symptoms, mental health providers typically diagnose CPTSD in individuals who have experienced prolonged trauma or multiple traumatic events, such as:

  • Childhood abandonment, abuse, or neglect
  • Forced prostitution
  • Kidnapping, slavery, or torture
  • Ongoing abuse or domestic violence
  • Repeated exposure to abuse or violence

Symptoms of CPTSD may include:

  • Difficulty regulating emotions: You may struggle with managing your feelings and experience intense emotional reactions to triggers.
  • Distorted self-image: CPTSD can lead to negative beliefs, including feelings of shame, guilt, and worthlessness.
  • Relationship difficulties: You may have trouble forming and maintaining healthy relationships because of trust issues and fear of intimacy. You may also struggle with boundaries and tend to push others away.
  • Physical symptoms: Like PTSD, CPTSD can also manifest in physical symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, chest pains, and stomach issues.
  • Self-destructive behaviours: You may engage in self-destructive behaviours, like substance abuse or risky sexual behaviour, to cope with trauma.
  • Suicidal thoughts: CPTSD can significantly affect your mental health, leading to suicidal thoughts or behaviours. It’s essential to seek professional help and support from loved ones.

In addition to these symptoms, you may experience dissociation — feeling disconnected from yourself or reality. This can manifest in many ways, such as feeling numb, detached from emotions, or losing touch with one’s surroundings.

Not everyone who experiences trauma will develop CPTSD. Factors such as individual resilience, access to support, and coping mechanisms can play a role in the likelihood of developing it.

Is it Possible to Heal From PTSD?

PTSD is treatable, and with the right approach, it’s possible to heal. While some individuals may experience symptoms for a year or longer, others can recover within six months. Seek professional help if you’re struggling with PTSD because early intervention leads to better outcomes.

Traditional Treatments for PTSD

Traditional approaches typically involve medication and psychotherapy, both of which are effective in managing the symptoms of PTSD.


Mental health providers often prescribe antidepressants, like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), to manage the symptoms of PTSD. These medications can help regulate mood, reduce anxiety or depression, and improve sleep. Work closely with your provider when taking medication for PTSD because it may come with side effects or interact with other medications.


Psychotherapy, particularly trauma-focused cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), is a cornerstone of PTSD treatment. This form of talk therapy helps individuals process traumatic experiences and develop coping methods to navigate their symptoms. Mental health providers also use narrative exposure therapy, and eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing for PTSD treatment.

While traditional treatments are effective, they may not work for everyone. This is where alternative therapies, like ketamine-assisted therapy, come into play.

Ketamine for PTSD

Ketamine is a dissociative anaesthetic that healthcare providers have used for decades in medical settings. In recent years, it has gained recognition for its potential to treat mental health conditions, including PTSD. Ketamine-assisted therapy involves the use of ketamine, administered in a controlled and supervised setting, to facilitate psychotherapy.

The drug helps reduce fear and anxiety while promoting emotional openness and self-exploration. This effect can help you process trauma and develop new ways of thinking about your experiences. It can also help establish trust between you and the provider. Removing shame and emotional barriers is essential for making progress in therapy.

Ketamine-assisted therapy has shown promising results in treating PTSD. Researchers found that clients given ketamine exhibited longer-lasting symptom improvement compared to those who received a placebo.²

When used in conjunction with antidepressants and psychotherapy, ketamine has shown promise in enhancing overall treatment outcomes. One study found that ketamine combined with psychotherapy led to clients sustaining symptom improvement for a month

The Risks of At-Home Ketamine Treatments

While the potential of ketamine-assisted therapy is promising, there are dangers associated with at-home ketamine treatments.

The risks include:

  • A lack of medical supervision: At-home ketamine treatments don’t have medical professionals present to monitor your mental and physical health. This lack of oversight can lead to adverse reactions or complications.
  • Misuse and abuse: With at-home ketamine treatments, there’s a higher risk of clients misusing the drug for recreational purposes. This can lead to addiction and other adverse health effects.
  • No follow-up care: At-home ketamine treatments often lack comprehensive follow-up care, which is essential for clients to maintain their progress and address any potential concerns.

The Benefits of Ketamine Treatments in a Professional Setting

Despite the potential risks, ketamine-assisted therapy is highly effective when conducted under the supervision of a trained medical professional.

A professional setting, like All Points North (APN) London, provides several benefits that make it a safer, more effective option for ketamine treatment.

  • Expertise: Medical professionals who specialise in ketamine-assisted therapy have extensive training in administering the drug safely and effectively. They also thoroughly understand the potential side effects and how to manage them.
  • Medical oversight: Having a medical professional present during ketamine treatments ensures that they can address any adverse reactions or complications promptly. This reduces the risk of serious health consequences and provides clients peace of mind.
  • Individualised treatment plans: Your provider can personalise your ketamine treatments, ensuring you receive the proper dosage and treatment for your condition. Taking this approach increases the likelihood of a successful outcome.
  • Proper equipment: In a professional setting, your provider can access the equipment needed for safe and accurate ketamine administration. This includes monitoring devices to track vital signs and equipment to manage potential side effects.

Remember, your safety and well-being should always come first when considering treatment. Discuss any potential risks or concerns with your provider, and don’t be afraid to ask questions to ensure that you fully understand the process and outcomes of ketamine-assisted therapy.

Get on the Path to Healing with APN London

The first step toward healing is seeking help, and at APN London, we’re dedicated to providing compassionate, effective care for individuals dealing with trauma-related disorders.

We offer:

  • Comprehensive behavioural health and addiction assessments to determine the best treatment approach for you
  • Individualised treatment plans
  • A supportive and professional, in-person environment for ketamine-assisted therapy sessions
  • Access to a multidisciplinary team, including lifestyle psychiatrists, therapists, nutritionists and personal trainers.

If you or someone you know is struggling with the persistent effects of PTSD, it’s essential to explore the full spectrum of treatment options available. By contacting our team, you can access integrated treatment packages and a supportive environment that fosters healing and recovery. To take the first step towards healing, call 0203 984 7699 or complete the online contact form today. Let us guide you on your healing journey.


  1. Ragnhildstveit A, Roscoe J, Bass LC, Averill CL, Abdallah CG, Averill LA. The potential of ketamine for post-traumatic stress disorder: a review of clinical evidence. Ther Adv Psychopharmacol. 2023 Mar 6;13:20451253231154125. doi: 10.1177/20451253231154125. PMID: 36895431; PMCID: PMC9989422,
  2. Mohamed A, Touheed S, Ahmed M, Hor M, Fatima S. The Efficacy of Psychedelic-Assisted Therapy in Managing Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): A New Frontier? Cureus. 2022 Oct 31;14(10):e30919. doi: 10.7759/cureus.30919. PMID: 36465766; PMCID: PMC9710723,
  3. Elsouri KN, Kalhori S, Colunge D, Grabarczyk G, Hanna G, Carrasco C, Aleman Espino A, Francisco A, Borosky B, Bekheit B, Ighanifard M, Astudillo AA, Demory Beckler M. Psychoactive Drugs in the Management of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Promising New Horizon. Cureus. 2022 May 23;14(5):e25235. doi: 10.7759/cureus.25235. PMID: 35747039; PMCID: PMC9214830,