How Ketamine Infusion Therapy Can Help Veterans and PTSD

The percentage of veterans experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (ptsd) and suicidal ideation continues to climb at an alarming rate, but a new treatment option gives veterans a new hope for relief.

-In a 2017 study involving 5,826 United States veterans, 12.9% were diagnosed with PTSD. This is a striking high rate compared to the incidence of PTSD among the general population: Just 6.8% of the U.S. population will experience PTSD at any point in their lives. Across the entire U.S., only about 8 million U.S. adults have PTSD in a given year.

-In a 2014 study involving 3,157 United States veterans, 87% reported exposure to at least one potentially traumatic event. On average, veterans reported 3.4 potentially traumatic events during their lifetime.

Different Rates for Different Military Events

Some research suggests that rates of PTSD differ among veterans who served in different military conflicts. Indeed, there is compelling statistical evidence that military personnel who served in certain wars were somewhat more likely to develop PTSD symptoms.

-Vietnam War Veterans: The National Vietnam Veterans Readjustment Study, conducted from 1986 to 1988, found that 15.2% of men and 8.1% of women who served in Vietnam met diagnostic criteria for PTSD. Additionally, the estimated lifetime prevalence of PTSD was 30.9% among men who served in Vietnam and 26.9% among women. In a more recent study, researchers also found that PTSD was more prevalent among Vietnam veterans who had served in the theater of combat.

-Gulf War Veterans: In a study of over 11,000 Gulf War veterans conducted from 1995 to 1997, researcher Han K. Kang and his colleagues found that 12.1% had PTSD at the time they were surveyed.

-Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans: In a 2008 study, researchers at the RAND Corporation analyzed the psychological health of 1,938 veterans of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF). OEF commenced in Afghanistan in 2001, whereas OIF launched in 2003. Among these veterans, 13.8% met criteria for PTSD at the time they were assessed.

PTSD Symptoms

Individuals with PTSD experience a variety of symptoms from night terrors to severe depression and intrusive thoughts. However, PTSD is generally characterized by a few distinct categories of symptoms, which mental health professionals use to assess and treat the disorder. These symptoms are placed in categories, as described in the American Psychiatric Association’sDiagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), capture the kinds of mental health problems that veterans with PTSD experience to differing degrees.

Ketamine as a treatment option for PTSD:

Ketamine treats PTSD in the same way that it treats depression, chronic pain, and suicide ideation. Researchers are discovering that ketamine infusion therapy can be used to rate a variety of conditions.

There are two main ways that ketamine treats PTSD in particular:

By blocking N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA)—a receptor involved in pain signals, opioid tolerance, and the development of central sensitization, and by triggering glutamate production—a neurotransmitter that mediates the response to stress and the formation of traumatic memories.

Completing an infusion allows your brain to reset and rewire the connection between cells, creating new pathways with how you think, behave, and process emotions. Unlike other treatments for PTSD, ketamine provides relief immediately and lasts long-term.

Ketamine Therapy at NeuroMedici

NeuroMedici provides personalized treatment plans for patients struggling with PTSD and a variety of other mental health conditions. Sign up for more information or book a free telephone consultation by filling out this form here. At NeuroMedici, we believe everyone can live a life pain-free and we want to help get you there.