Ketamine Treatment for Mental Health — Everything You Want to Know

By Dr. Benjamin Busch, DO, MBA

December 22, 2022

Stress is an ever-present part of our lives. Since ancient times when the biggest concerns were finding food, shelter, and avoiding predators, the human brain adapted mechanisms to cope with the sources of stress.

Today stressors look quite a bit different but they trigger the same biology. Instead of avoiding danger from large, opportunistic carnivores, people are navigating ever more complex situations —  endless emails, demanding workloads, and busy schedules. Add to that the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the rampant civil unrest, illness, tragedy or personal trauma, it’s safe to say stress takes its toll on everyone, in different ways.

It can happen slowly and all at once — a deadline missed here, a forgotten appointment there, another day or night spent alone, working your way through on autopilot just to get by. You start to feel down, depressed, and anxious about the way things are heading. Before you know it, things you used to love doing now are uninteresting and you can’t bring yourself to leave your house for much more than the essentials. The meaning your life once held all but vanished and the motivation to fix it is just not there.

When people are stuck in that space, it can feel like they’re stuck there alone. It can be even harder to talk about the experience because there’s so much shame and stigma associated with psychological disorders like depression, anxiety, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar disorder, even though millions of Americans suffer from at least one, if not a combination, each year.

For decades, the standard treatment for major depressive disorder (MDD) has been antidepressants. But in recent years, scientists and doctors are understanding that there are alternatives that work faster and better for many patients suffering from mood disorders. Ketamine can radically transform people’s lives when nothing else has worked.

A new paradigm for mental health treatment

Ketamine is a drug that has been used in medicine for nearly 60 years. It recently gained popularity due to its profound ability to “wake” people out of severe depression. Others report they experience meaning in life again after a traumatic experience. Ketamine is useful for a variety of mental conditions.

  • Treatment-resistant Depression (TRD)
  • Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Personal trauma
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)


Ketamine was first discovered in 1962, when it was synthesized in a laboratory by chemist Calvin Stevens. A year later, it received a patent in Belgium for use as an anesthetic. The FDA approved the first formulation of ketamine in 1970 for use as an anesthetic during surgery, and it is still used today for this purpose daily. Ketamine’s novelty was its pain-relieving properties without the uncomfortable mental side effects of previous anesthetics. 

It was not until the early 1990s when Yale researcher, Dr. John Krystal, discovered that ketamine worked quickly and effectively to reduce depressive symptoms in patients with major depressive disorder. This was a time in medicine when psychiatry was still dominated by the “one-size fits all” approach, where patients were seen as a person with a certain disease, rather than as a unique individual with a genetically determined chemistry suffering from an illness.

Ketamine therapy is effective for patients with depression and other mental disorders, but it can be made more effective by understanding a patient’s medical history, genetics, and unique metabolic profile. This is the frontier of ketamine treatment and the new paradigm that is changing lives. That’s how we make our Enhanced Ketamine Protocol more effective than standard ketamine therapy.

Ketamine creates long-term healing — FAST!

Is Ketamine Therapy right for you?

Ketamine is not right for every patient. Our primary focus is on helping patients for which there is sufficient scientific data to support its use. Patients suffering from treatment-resistant depression (TRD), bipolar disorder with TRD, suicidal thoughts, PTSD, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) are most likely to see a benefit from ketamine infusions. 

We conduct a thorough evaluation to determine if ketamine will be a safe and therapeutic experience for you based on your medical history, genetics, and metabolism. Some patients should not take ketamine either because they have a condition that would make ketamine less safe or because they are on certain medications that would reduce ketamine’s effectiveness.

Is ketamine safe?

The ViveWell approach to ketamine

Ketamine Therapy pricing

Ketamine is a safe, effective and increasingly popular treatment for depression, PTSD, and more. Results are often dramatic and permanent. Ketamine is a pillar of our approach to mental health services

Enhanced ketamine infusions | $450 

Each 40-minute infusion includes a 15-minute monitored recovery period.

At-home ketamine

With approval from your provider, ViveWell can offer self-administered ketamine dosing from the convenience of your own home.

Get more from your ketamine treatments with oxytocin and NAD+ boosts

Oxytocin is a vital hormone-like peptide essential to bonding, connection — and neuroplasticity. Similarly, NAD+ is a crucial molecule known for its role in producing energy and helping our metabolisms run smoothly, but it also profoundly affects health by helping build new pathways in the brain.

Because we utilize ketamine to stimulate the brain toward a more “neuroplastic” state, many patients benefit from adding oxytocin and/or NAD+ infusions to their treatment regimen. Our Enhanced Ketamine therapy with oxytocin or NAD+ involves the patient receiving a boost infusion directly after the ketamine treatment.  So once the ketamine infusion is complete, the patient would move to one of our other comfortable infusion rooms for the treatment to relax for an additional 1-2 hours. 

When paired with the Enhanced Ketamine treatments, patients get discounted oxytocin and NAD+:

100 mg NAD+ infused over 1 hour $100

250 mg NAD+ infused over 2 hours $250

Additional oxytocin dosing is fully customized to your wellness needs. Be sure to discuss this option with our team to explore options and pricing. 

Why ketamine is so revolutionary

For 50 years, the field of psychiatry has been at a standstill. The central hypothesis—that patients with depression have low levels of serotonin—has dominated the way we treat this condition. Although SSRIs/SNRIs DO help patients feel better, nearly one-third of patients do not feel better. It is exactly this group of patients—those who have already tried anti-depressants with little relief—who may be good candidates for IV Ketamine Therapy. Even patients without treatment-resistant depression, but depression with suicidal ideation, may benefit from ketamine therapy.  

SSRIs act slowly, taking 3 weeks to start working. Ketamine acts immediately, with patients experiencing some benefit after one session. Typically, a few sessions are required in the beginning to create sustainable healing lasting from a few months, to a few years. Because ketamine infusions are more expensive, we create an individualized, optimized, enhanced ketamine therapy protocol just for you, with a thorough, pre-treatment evaluation, so that you get the most from your treatment sessions!

The importance of environment during ketamine treatment

Pre-treatment evaluation

Using metabolic and genetic testing, we curate an individualized ketamine treatment protocol for each patient. The study of pharmacogenetics revealed that people with certain genetic sequences metabolize pharmaceutical compounds differently.  That’s why medications have different effectiveness on people. The results of a patient’s certain genetic profiles will guide our clinicians to adjust doses of ketamine. In addition, the way you metabolize drugs influences how you will respond to ketamine, as well as other medications. Using this information, we customize an individualized Enhanced Ketamine IV Therapy Protocol – just for you. We designed this treatment to maximize results in our patients using a precision medicine approach.

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Integrative regenerative optimized healing

Located in beautiful Colorado, our clinic offers holistic customized treatment programs to improve and restore your health. For more information or to schedule your consultation, please contact us today. We’re here to answer any of your questions.

Disclaimer: All statements and opinions provided are for educational and informational purposes, not for medical diagnosis. As with all medical treatments and procedures, results may vary on an individual basis. ViveWell follows all FDA guidelines related to the treatments provided. You’re encouraged to consult with your primary care provider before undergoing any treatment programs offered by ViveWell. Some of our therapies are not FDA-approved. During your personal consultation, the benefits and risks of any recommended therapies will be reviewed with you.

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