Home HEALTHY LIFESTYLE Ketamine For Anxiety: Pros, Cons, And Some Interesting Alternatives

Ketamine For Anxiety: Pros, Cons, And Some Interesting Alternatives

Ketamine for anxiety has been getting quite a bit of attention lately. While it might be effective, here are a few alternatives for those of us who are not quite ready to take the plunge.

by Emma Caplan
The young man with his head in hand suffering from anxiety.

Ketamine For Anxiety: Pros, Cons, And Some Interesting Alternatives:

What is Ketamine?

Ketamine (Ketalar) is a dissociative or disconnected, quick-acting anesthetic and painkiller used to induce general anesthesia for medical procedures that don’t require muscle relaxation. By preventing the brain from receiving pain-related nerve messages, the anesthetic creates hallucinations or distorted perceptions – much like drugs like LSD or PCP (angel dust) do.

The odorless, colorless substance is used in both veterinary and human medicine. Since the hallucinogenic, mind-changing or “trippy” effects and vivid dreams can be addictive, it gets abused and often obtained and used illegally, too. So, it’s often administered with a sedative to balance its impact.

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Ketamine for Anxiety

Over the past several decades, Ketamine has developed into a treatment for anxiety and depression when other treatments have failed. The drug is continually being researched and administered in medically-supervised, controlled clinical settings.

Ketamine was originally used as anesthesia for animals in 1960s Belgium. Then, in 1970, it was approved by the FDA for people when injured soldiers of the Vietnam War were treated with it. Emergency responders also use it to treat rescued patients from suicide attempt, which is how the drug was discovered as being helpful against anxiety, depression, and suicidal thoughts. And, recently, Ketamine has been found to help people with social anxiety disorder (SAD), which is a fear of social interactions or situations.

Pros of ketamine for anxiety

There are several potential benefits of taking ketamine for anxiety, like the following.


More and more clinics for ketamine treatment are popping up, so they’re pretty accessible to many people. This means you can be choosy about finding the right doctor until you feel comfortable and secure with them and how they administer your treatment.

Fast and painless

Aside from the infusion insertion during setup of the ketamine IV, treatments are painless and you’ll feel their effects pretty quickly. Many patients get at least some relief after just their first session, which is more than can often be said about other depression treatments.

Minimal or non-existent side effects and down time

The only likely side effects you’ll experience from ketamine are psychedelic or hallucinogenic feelings and distortions, which is why treatment is medically-supervised. When these fade away, you shouldn’t experience any down time or other side effects and can go back to day-to-day life – unlike some antidepressants which can create lengthy, debilitating side effects.

Cons of ketamine for anxiety

While the benefits of taking ketamine to reduce anxiety are valid, there are also some downsides or risks that come with it and should be considered before starting treatment.

Girl heading toward the wall with no hope in life.

Potentially addictive

Just like with any other drug, you’re at risk of becoming dependent on ketamine because of its addictive potential. So, avoid abuse by keeping your treatment sessions controlled with medical professionals. They understand and monitor dosage to stay at the right levels.

Minimal research and regulation

Overall, research around ketamine for depression or anxiety is still fairly recent. Though it became prominent in medicine in the 1960s and used as a psychedelic in the 1970s, that stopped. Today, it’s gaining traction with studies showing its benefits for anxiety, but more work needs to be done and, for this reason, some medical professionals hesitate to recommend ketamine treatment for depression or anxiety.

Another reason ketamine isn’t widely prescribed is because of the lack of regulation for its use in treating anxiety and depression. There are no universal standards that clinics must adhere to, meaning all sorts of ways to administer, dose, and monitor side effects can leave room for error and end poorly. Plus, while the FDA recently approved it in non-psychedelic form for clinical trials, ketamine has only been approved for patients in one form, esketamine, and this hasn’t been as successful as the IV infusions.

Health issues

No matter what you decide about taking ketamine for anxiety, never take the drug without medical supervision by a trained, licensed health professional. The most serious casual use risks include high blood pressure and susceptibility for heart attack or stroke, slowed breathing, and even unconsciousness.

Longer-term issues can also arise, like stomach or bladder pain and ulcers, kidney issues, and memory loss. And, if taken while drunk, ketamine can be fatal. Less severe risks include confusion of your surroundings and not being aware of potential injuries or being able to stand properly, since ketamine removes one’s ability to feel pain.

Ketamine Alternatives That Reduce Anxiety and Promote Calm

People have found relief from using ketamine for anxiety and depression but if you’re not quite ready to take the leap, thankfully, there are some great alternative options worth exploring. Check out these products to promote calm and reduce anxiety.

Grateful smiling woman happy after recovering from depression.

[This article “Ketamine For Anxiety: Pros, Cons, And Some Interesting Alternatives” was originally published in HealthXWire]

HelloHealth: Happy Calm Magnesium

HelloHealth believes in healthy, happy lives for all through natural, holistic wellness solutions and innovative formulas. Its Happy Calm Magnesium is a dietary supplement that boosts the immune system and supports relaxation and calm through magnesium bisglycinate chelated, vegetable capsule (hypromellose), rice flour, and magnesium stearate. You’ll get a deeper, more restful sleep and optimal function in the digestive, nervous, and muscular-skeletal systems for better relaxation, heart health, energy, metabolism, and brain function.

Troop Mushrooms: Reishi Mushroom Gummy

Troop Mushrooms’ mission is to “demystify mushrooms and make them approachable”, as they believe mushrooms hold many of the answers in preventative health. The company created its Reishi Mushroom Gummy to offer users vitality, balance, and calm. The gummies, which contain reishi mushroom fruit (ganoderma lucidum), tapioca syrup, organic cane sugar, water, pectin, organic rice starch, and natural fruit flavor, are designed to offer users:

  • a better night’s sleep,
  • healthy response to stress,
  • boosted cognitive function,
  • support for the cardiovascular, immune, and nervous systems,
  • better antiviral and anti-inflammatory responses, and
  • protection from bacteria and viruses.
Aged woman feeling relaxed after using ketamine for anxiety.

Medicine Man Plant Co.: The Serenity Pill

Medicine Man Plant Co’s The Serenity Pill contains various plant properties that offer total emotional support. For instance, ashwagandha root extract boosts your mood by triggering serotonin release, which brings feelings of well-being. The compounds in the passion flower extract promote a calm sense of security. Nutmeg has many bioactive compounds that boost the brain’s “feel good” neurotransmitters, and the pill’s green tea extract contains antioxidants and phenolics to support energy, a positive mood, and anti-anxiety.

Ketamine For Anxiety: Pros, Cons, And Some Interesting Alternatives is an original (HealthXWire) Article

Luma By Laura: sleep products

Luma by Laura offers several sleep products that help produce calm and reduce anxiety:

  • Luma Mood combines lutein to help boost energy and feelings of happiness, ashwagandha root to help reduce the body’s cortisol levels, and vitamin B6 to help with proper adrenal function.
  • Luma Calm contains ashwagandha to help the body deal with stress, fatigue, and anxiety, reduce cortisol levels, and encourage serotonin to promote calmness and overall well-being.
  • Luma Snooze contains melatonin to help calm the body and brain, L-tryptophan to encourage sleep, lemon balm powder for a mood-booster, and hops to aid with restlessness.
Man is cuddling his pillow while deep sleeping.

BrainLuxury: DELTA

BrainLuxury’s natural sleep support formulation, DELTA, uses tryptophan, glycine, vitamins, and essential fatty acids that stimulate natural serotonin and melatonin production. This gets you off to sleep quicker and improves your overall sleep quality, plus helps you to feel fresh and energized in the morning.

Partnered Process CBD products

Partnered Process makes a variety of CBD products that help with anxiety. For instance, its Mint Full Spectrum Oil is made with organic MCT coconut oil, hemp extract, and natural flavoring to bring tranquility, relief, calmness, and help with sleep.


Further Resources For Reference:

American Addiction Centers Ketamine As Medicine

Medical News Today Therapeutic Uses

Government of Canada Effects Of Ketamine

Important Note: The information contained in this article is for general informational purposes only, and should not be construed as health or medical advice, nor is it intended to diagnose, prevent, treat, or cure any disease or health condition. Before embarking on any diet or program of nutritional supplementation, it is advisable to consult your healthcare professional in order to determine its safety and probable efficacy in terms of your individual state of health.

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