UTAH (ABC4) – Supervised ketamine treatment has been touted in recent years as an effective, innovative form of therapy for those suffering from issues like major depressive disorder or chronic anxiety disorder.

Treatments are held in clinical settings, and the setting is made to feel comfortable and safe. The administration of ketamine is supervised by medical professionals, who then stay with the patient throughout the process.

Many describe the initial administration as a feeling of immediate disassociation, or an out-of-body experience.

Jennifer Bryant, a clinical mental health counseling student at Rocky Mountain University of Health Professions in Provo, Utah, says that some people have stated that they have interesting and insightful experiences, while others have expressed that they have been “drawn into darkness” that has been frightening and negative.

However, of all the people she talked to about their experiences, she says all but one reported a positive overall experience.

Dr. Petersen from Forum Health Utah has spent years treating clients with both chronic and acute conditions, and recognizes the benefits of using ketamine in his treatment plans. His practice has used this approach to treat conditions like PTSD, addiction, depression, OCD, and more.

While there can sometimes be hesitance to undergo this treatment, ketamine has been utilized for its therapeutic effects for several decades. “It’s been effective, safe, and legal for thirty years,” says Dr. Petersen. The drug works to block the part of the brain that controls inhibition and allows thoughts to pass more freely during therapeutic sessions. In addition, ketamine helps to stimulate the synapses and receptors in the brain, making it easier to concentrate.

Ketamine Wellness Centers is bringing more of the modern new medical treatment to Salt Lake City in 2022, opening in the suburb of Taylorsville at 6087 South Redwood Road, Suite B. This will be the first of the company’s clinics to open in Utah. The facility will allow for up to seven treatment rooms.

For the last two decades, researchers at Yale have led ketamine research by experimenting with using doses of ketamine delivered intravenously in controlled clinic settings for patients with severe depression who have not improved with standard antidepressant treatments.

The results have been dramatic: In several studies, more than half of participants show a significant decrease in depression symptoms after just 24 hours. These are patients who felt no meaningful improvement on other antidepressant medications.

According to experts at Yale University, ketamine needs to be part of a more comprehensive treatment plan for depression. “Patients will call me up and say they don’t want any other medication or psychotherapy, they just want ketamine, and I have to explain to them that it is very unlikely that a single dose, or even several doses of ketamine alone, will cure their depression,” says Dr. Sanacora, a psychiatrist at Yale Medicine.

With a total of 550,000 adults in Utah living with a mental health condition, it’s no wonder that alternative treatments like ketamine therapy are getting more and more attention.

Click here to learn more about ketamine treatment in Utah.