Why is Ketamine Therapy Useful for Veterans?

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Nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety, uncontrollable thoughts, and to top it all off, using coping mechanisms like drug misuse and alcohol consumption are all part of a veteran’s PTSD (Post-traumatic stress disorder).

After serving the country with utmost bravery and valor, the soldiers returning from war are often left grappling with unstable mental health. Ketamine therapy for veterans is emerging as a hopeful solution to address these challenges and enhance well-being.

Our veterans need better solutions for the services they have given to the country. Thus, ketamine infusion therapy is considered one of the best PTSD treatment for veterans. Today, let’s open a door to new possibilities and learn all about how this treatment can be a game changer by shining a bright light on the lives of these veterans.


What is Ketamine Therapy and how does it work?

There are many factors that lead to mood changes and positive after-effects of a veteran when they undergo IV ketamine therapy. Understanding the benefits of ketamine therapy for veterans, let’s look at the building blocks of this process and what makes it work like this.


Ketamine as an anesthetic

Ketamine is often used as a general anesthetic to manage pain in medical settings. It can numb your body’s sensations and also be used to lose consciousness. Mostly used as a sedative and painkiller during surgeries or according to the need of the patient.

The NMDA receptor

Understanding this receptor is key, especially when considering ketamine therapy for veterans. It’s the regulator of mood, cognition, and memory in our brain cells. Acting as a gate, it allows brain cells to share information and engage in learning processes with each other.

When ketamine enters the body, it blocks the activity of these receptors and imposes a psychedelic effect.

The Psychedelic Effect

This is a rather mystical experience that produces a shift or change in mood, cognition, insight, or behavior. Particularly in ketamine therapy for veterans, it is the peak of an intense experience that is very short but provides a soothing after-effect.

What’s important is the rapid decline in depressive symptoms. Therapists make sure only a certain amount of ketamine is induced so that there are no negative effects and you leave with a positive psychedelic experience.


What are the mental health challenges amongst veterans who need ketamine therapy?

Transitioning from combat to civilian life can be monotonous, leaving the veteran feeling out of purpose and low in motivation.


Ketamine therapy for veterans can provide relief from symptoms of PTSD like; intrusive memories, nightmares, hyperarousal, and emotional numbness. 

Travis Zubick, a 42-year-old veteran faced extreme mental health challenges from the day he survived an on-duty jet-crash in 2007 and when he returned back from the U.S. Navy. He mentioned how ‘years of years of counseling and medications did not help him feel better, but his first intravenous dose of ketamine drastically reduced his physical pain and mental anguish. ‘

Thus, ketamine, especially when tailored as ketamine therapy for veterans, has shown promise in prohibiting suicidal ideation, anxiety, depression, and cognitive impairment among the affected individuals. Once we are able to tackle these issues, more disorders like substance use can also be controlled.


What would be the mechanism behind ketamine therapy for veterans?

Veterans often suffer from PTSD, depression, and suicidal thoughts. To get relief from such activities in the brain, ketamine therapy is administered in sessions of 40-45 minutes. 

  1. A consultation prior to the therapy sessions is necessary to determine the veteran’s treatment goals, assess medical history and evaluate all mental health problems that need to be solved through this process. The therapist also needs to take notes on any kind of allergies, previous medications, or underlying health issues so that they don’t contradict the infusions.
  2. The veteran will be suggested to stop any solid intake before 6 hours of the session and be allowed to intake clear liquids up to 2 hours before the therapy begins.
  3. An IV is placed on the veteran’s arm which is used to administer ketamine in the bloodstream. This process is closely monitored by a professional and oxygen levels, blood pressure, and heart rate are continuously kept in check.
  4. When the infusion takes place, it automatically blocks the NMDA receptors allowing the brain to obtain neuroplasticity. When new pathways are made and new connections are formed in the brain, makes a way to break free from obsessive and negative thoughts immediately giving a soothing effect.
  5. Rapid relief and formation of new connections are a way for Ketamine to provide a reset button for the brain. It allows the veteran’s thoughts to break free from being stuck in one place. Ketamine shows results within hours or days, unlike other antidepressants that may take up to weeks to fully administer the problem.
  6. The veteran is then observed for 20-30 minutes after the session ends and sent home with a trusted driver and instructions for a follow-up session.


Is Ketamine Therapy for Veterans clinically approved?

Of course! Ketamine has been approved by US Food and Drug Administration ( FDA) in 2019, and ever since has shown remarkable effects when administered in low doses. A series of experiments have also taken place amongst veterans to yield the maximum positive outcomes and assess the effectiveness of this drug.


Up till now, ketamine therapy for veterans has been proved to be very promising in addressing various mental health problems, specifically the ones aligning with PTSD and depression. A study analysed the changes in 30 US military veteran’s mental health with a series of six 1 hour long ketamine infusions.

The results showed immense potential on the Patient Health Questionnaire . Symptoms of depression dropped down from 18.9 to 9.5 (P < .001). Symptoms of PTSD went from a whopping  average of 56.2 to 31.3 (P < .001). The numbers are proof of ketamine’s success.


The Benefits of Ketamine Therapy for Veterans.

  1. Ease of Use

Most veterans opt for this therapy because it does not have intolerable side-effects, does not take long periods of time to complete a course, and is proven to work for most individuals. Specifically, ketamine therapy for veterans has shown remarkable outcomes when compared to other options.

Other therapies like psychotherapy, anti-depressants, and mood regulation methods are not as effective as ketamine therapy.

  1. Immediate Relief

Unlike other conventional methods, this therapy does not take weeks to kick in and doesn’t need to be completed in the form of a course to start showing improvement.

It can provide immediate relief within hours or days and during the therapy itself, the veteran feels a peak point where he/she may feel disassociated and relaxed from their negative thoughts as new connections in the brain are being made.


  1. Prolonged Solution

These therapies not only alleviate the veteran’s emotional pain but also make sure those traumatic thoughts don’t come rushing back anytime soon.

Veterans stop having thoughts about suicide and may experience positive mood changes as well. Any kind of relapse can also be avoided with the combination of other stress relieving therapies.

  1. Improved Cognition

Some veterans face traumatic brain injuries which can result in problem solving deficits, memory disorientation, impaired decision-making abilities, problem solving difficulties and of course the constant obsessive/traumatic thoughts or nightmares they face.

This is where ketamine therapy for veterans comes into play, offering a promising solution to these challenges. All of this can be blocked off through neuroplasticity and become a reason for new positive connections in the brain. Once a new connection is established, the brain will automatically function in a healthier way.

  1. Ability to live an empowered life.

Most veterans are not used to civilian life, and their severe training and living conditions make them hide their true feelings or signs of stress. This is where ketamine therapy for veterans can be a game-changer. Some might not respond to other methods of relieving PTSD and depression, and continue living a miserable life.

However, once they get infused with ketamine therapy, they will be able to see the world with a clear head and know what it feels like to be stress-free. They will be able to lead an empowered life with a new sense of hope and motivation to try out other new things.


What are some of the misconceptions surrounding Ketamine Therapy for Veterans?

  1. Ketamine is Addictive

Extensive use and abuse of drug can lead to the addiction of this drug but once the veteran is with a trained professional who has assessed their medical history and is performing the procedure as per their evaluations, it is not harmful at all.

  1. It’s Magic

Yes, it has prolonged effects, yes it gives you immediate relief within hours and days but it won’t end the mental stress forever within one single sitting. It is not a magic pill. It will help overcome the difficulties the veteran is facing but with consistency, paired therapies, and purpose to get better.

  1. It is not clinically approved.

Most people believe this is a club house drug hence it is not approved. Although it is an anesthetic drug which was approved of in the 1970s but due its abuse in the years of 1980-1990, it had to be put under control. However it has now been approved for clinical infusions by US Food and Drug Administration ( FDA) in 2019.

  1. Dangerous to use.

Anything used in an uncontrolled setting can be a potential risk. The same is the case for ketamine. It is to be administered by professional therapists who are aware of dosage instructions according to the veteran’s medical history. This is why specialized ‘ketamine therapy for veterans’ programs are crucial for safe and effective treatment.


The Future of Ketamine Therapy.

Unfortunately, 30 % of the veterans that served in Iraq and Afghanistan need a mental health treatment for the terrors they faced during the time they were there . But , not even 50% of these troops end up receiving the correct treatment they need. 

Veterans are brave heroes who gave away their mental peace in order to perform their duties but now they can pave the way for their depressive thoughts by the use of ketamine therapy.

Gone are the days when people used to believe that depression and anxiety are just myths. In today’s world, mental health has become a crucial part of our lives just like our general health.

With longer-lasting effects, combination therapies, personalized treatment plans, newer and better administration methods, and continued research, the potential of ketamine therapy for veterans is immense. As the prominence of ketamine therapy for veterans grows, it can become even more successful in the future.



Veterans encounter numerous and deeply personal difficulties, requiring therapies that are similarly proficient and suited to individual requirements. 

Ketamine therapy emerges as a light of innovation, providing not only immediate symptom alleviation but also the opportunity to remodel the brain’s neural pathways and create long-term changes. 

At Neuroglow, we’re dedicated to dispelling the myths surrounding ketamine therapy. It is critical to approach ketamine therapy with an informed viewpoint, recognizing its potential as a medical intervention supported by research, medical expertise, and our unwavering commitment to recovery.

Thus, a veteran should not step back from reaching out and asking for help because everyone deserves to achieve true Mental Wellness.



How are veterans treated through ketamine?

Mental health challenges like PTSD, Stress, Anxiety, nightmares, impaired cognition etc, are all addressed through controlled dosages of ketamine infusions.

What are the effects of ketamine on veterans?

The immediate relief of ketamine on veterans poses an alleviation to mood , cognition impairments and depression /anxiety . This reduces suicidal ideation and improves over all being of the individual.

Why ketamine is useful for veterans.

Military service can make a person hide their true emotions. They can also be target of constant memory flashbacks of the war zone which might not let them lead a healthy civilian life. This therapy blocks such negative thoughts and helps build new connections causing relief from stress for veterans.

What is ketamine for veterans?

It is a medical procedure that allows ketamine-loaded infusions to take place with a veteran’s body where he/she might get relieved from PTSD, anxiety, or depression.

What are the long-term effects of ketamine on veterans?

Although individuals respond to treatment differently. Ketamne has been promising in showing long term effects which become a reason for better mood , reduction of negative mental health symptoms and improved quality of life.

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Momin Zafarullah
Momin Zafarullah
He is a board-certified anesthesia provider experienced in diverse Texas medical settings, trained at UT Austin, Creighton, and Barry University.
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