Comparing Ketamine to Traditional Anxiety Medications

Picture with stethoscope for ketamine therapy

Anxiety disorders are among the most common mental health conditions, affecting millions worldwide. Traditional medications have long been the cornerstone of treatment, but ketamine infusion therapy has emerged as a potent alternative, offering rapid relief in many cases. For those considering anxiety treatment in Orange County, understanding the distinctions between ketamine and traditional medications is crucial to making an informed decision.

How It Works

Traditional anxiety medications, such as SSRIs and benzodiazepines, typically work by altering the brain’s neurotransmitter levels to mitigate anxiety symptoms. SSRIs increase serotonin levels, which can help regulate mood, sleep, and anxiety. Benzodiazepines work by enhancing the effect of the neurotransmitter GABA, which has a calming effect.

Ketamine works differently by blocking NMDA receptors in the brain, which is believed to have a rapid effect on mood improvement and anxiety reduction. This action is much quicker compared to traditional medications, often taking effect within hours or days rather than weeks.

Speed of Relief

One of the most significant differences between ketamine and traditional anxiety medications is the speed at which they provide relief. Traditional medications often require several weeks to build up in the system before a person begins to feel the benefits. On the other hand, ketamine infusion for anxiety can provide relief from symptoms almost immediately after treatment, making it an appealing option for those suffering from severe and treatment-resistant anxiety disorders.

Side Effects and Risks

While traditional anxiety medications are generally safe, they can cause side effects such as weight gain, sleep disturbances, and sexual dysfunction, which can affect long-term compliance. Benzodiazepines can also be addictive and are usually recommended for short-term use.

Ketamine, while effective, must be used under strict medical supervision. It can cause dissociative effects during infusion, such as a feeling of detachment from reality, which can be unsettling for some patients. However, these effects are temporary and typically resolve soon after the treatment session.

Long-Term Effects

Traditional medications for anxiety are designed for long-term use and often require ongoing adjustments to maintain their effectiveness. They can be quite effective when used consistently and as prescribed.

Ketamine’s long-term effects are still under study, but it has shown promise in providing anxiety relief for a prolonged period after a treatment course, with some patients reporting lasting improvements. However, more research is needed to understand its long-term benefits and potential risks fully.

Accessibility and Cost

Access to anxiety treatment involving traditional medications is generally straightforward, with many available in generic form, making them affordable and widely accessible. On the other hand, Ketamine treatments can be more expensive and are not always covered by insurance. However, they are becoming more accessible as more clinics offer ketamine therapy for mental health conditions. For residents in Orange County, several clinics specialize in ketamine infusions, providing local options for those exploring this treatment.


Choosing the right treatment for anxiety can be a complex decision influenced by factors such as the severity of the condition, response to past treatments, and personal health considerations. Traditional medications have a proven track record and are effective for many. Still, ketamine offers a promising alternative for those seeking rapid relief or who have not responded to other treatments. Consulting with a healthcare provider who specializes in anxiety relief can help you navigate these options and choose the best treatment path based on your specific needs.

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Obsessive Compulsive disorder (OCD) is unfortunately resistant to many forms of medical treatment including both medication and therapy.

Ketamine has been shown to be an effective, fast acting, safe option for patients with OCD. Over the course of the Ketamine infusions (2-4 weeks) neuroplasticity can lead to a change or abatement in the intrusive, repetitive thoughts and behaviors that typify OCD.

When combined with our unique post infusion integration process, patients with severe OCD can see profound relief of their symptoms.

Start here for a free physician consultation to see if Ketamine assisted psychotherapy can help renew you.

Chronic Pain

“There is extensive research currently being done on this topic. I can say from personal experience as a practicing Board Certified Pain Medicine Physician, I have had patients with chronic pain, including fibromyalgia, who have had significant relief of their symptoms with Ketamine assisted therapy. With that said, Ketamine assisted therapy will definitely not work for everyone with chronic pain, and each patient will require a thorough evaluation to ensure they are an adequate candidate for a trial of Ketamine assisted therapy for relief of their chronic pain” -Dr. Justin Yanuck.

The current evidence of Ketamine assisted therapy for chronic pain is fairly mixed. The majority of studies only looked at ketamine infusion without any assisted psychotherapy.

Ketamine has the ability to lead to relief on its own (and the mechanisms for this have been well studied). We feel quite strongly that the real potential for Ketamine to provide relief, especially for chronic pain patients, is when combined with psychotherapy. Psychotherapy allows the individual to process their experience and build off this experience to lead to new psychological frameworks for processing both internal and external stimuli.

Pain is complex, and Ketamine assisted psychotherapy is not one-size-fits-all. Our treatment plan gives patients with treatment-resistant chronic pain and even opiate dependance a chance to try a different and effective treatment. Start here (button) for a free physician consultation to see if Ketamine assisted psychotherapy can help renew you.

Start here for a free physician consultation to see if Ketamine assisted psychotherapy can help renew you.


Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a major public health concern, affecting up to 7% of Americans.

As many as half of all Americans with PTSD get inadequate relief from traditional treatments which include antidepressants, antipsychotics, and cognitive behavioral therapy.

Ketamine combined with psychotherapy has been shown to be very effective at reducing the symptoms of PTSD. These effects last well beyond its near immediate relief.

Many mechanistic actions for how Ketamine works in PTSD have been proposed.

Ketamine allows people to reacquaint themselves with their past inciting trauma from an emotionally neutral perspective. Ketamine will not make you forget about the trauma. It can allow you to acknowledge its occurrence in a neutral way in order to not be continually re-traumatized by thinking about it.

Depending on the patient, outcomes can be noticed almost immediately with a sense of lightness and joy. Ketamine followed by psychotherapy has been shown to lead to significant relief of the burdens of PTSD.

Start here for a free physician consultation to see if Ketamine assisted psychotherapy can help renew you.


Traditional treatments for anxiety will often either work poorly, have addictive properties, or severe side effects including brain fog and drowsiness. Furthermore, these treatments tend to have reduced efficacy over time, and lead to only transient relief of symptoms.

Ketamine, when combined with our novel integrative psychotherapy, can lead to significant relief of anxiety.

During the ketamine infusion and integration process, patients will often get a better understanding of their anxiety, and are able to reframe many of the triggers that often provoke their anxiety.

Ketamine has properties that allow for rewiring of the brain (new synapse formation and repair of existing synapses). Ketamine allows people to effect changes into their own lives. It shows people that they have the power to heal from within and take control of their relationship with anxiety.

Start here for a free physician consultation to see if Ketamine assisted psychotherapy can help renew you.


Ketamine has been shown to be extremely effective and safe for patients with depression and treatment resistant depression (those who fail to get relief from two or more antidepressants).

Ketamine is highly effective at rapidly (within 2-8 hours) reducing depressive symptoms. Traditional antidepressants often take weeks to months to work.

Many traditional antidepressants have side effects including reduced libido, weight gain, GI upset, mood disturbances, and unfortunately require daily use for months to years.

Many antidepressants, even if they do work, require you to be on them for years, if not for the rest of your life.

Ketamine treatment has been shown in most patients to lead to resolution of symptoms without the need for any further medications.

Ketamine is not a medication meant to be taken for the rest of your life. The goal is to provide sustained relief after the completion of a set treatment plan. This is accomplished by combining the actions of Ketamine in the brain with psychotherapy. Additional enhancement sessions available as needed.

Unfortunately, there is a significant subset of patients that do not get significant relief from traditional cognitive behavioral therapy. Ketamine acts as a catalyst to stimulate a patient’s innate capacity for psychological healing. This allows patients to overcome past experiences and learned behavior to truly heal. Ketamine, combined with therapists who are specifically trained to work with psychedelic therapies, can lead to profound breakthroughs and deep psychological healing.

Start here for a free physician consultation to see if Ketamine assisted psychotherapy can help renew you.

Ketamine infusion combined with integrative therapy to help you renew your outlook

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