As the holiday season approaches and Christmas decorations begin to appear in window displays nationwide, the greatest gift for many this year won’t be material.
Ketamine therapy is finally going mainstream and with it, millions worldwide are gaining the gift of improved mental health.
Long-stigmatized as a party drug, ketamine was, in fact, first introduced in 1970 as a rapid-acting, nonbarbiturate general anesthetic. Not long afterward, researchers discovered that the drug’s utility extended beyond surgical contexts, finding neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory, and antitumor effects. Continued studies then led to the awareness that low doses of ketamine also provide remarkable relief from chronic pain and treatment-resistant depression (TRD). This latter discovery has pushed ketamine therapy into the mainstream, beginning with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) approval of Spravato, a ketamine-derived nasal spray used to treat major depression.
Now that ketamine therapy is here and the medical community agrees that it works, those in need of the gift of this life-saving treatment are faced with the difficulty of choosing amongst the multitude of clinics popping up nationwide.
Not All Ketamine Clinics Are Equal: Choosing a Credible Provider
Despite its well-documented effectiveness against TRD, ketamine therapy is not yet widely covered by insurance providers. As a “cash pay” service, a wide variety of medical professionals are thus incentivized to open clinics and try to get in on the “action.” You don’t want an opportunistic and inexperienced provider to manage such an important treatment, though, which is why it is important to carefully vet the clinic you choose. Asking the following questions helps.
1. Who is the provider and how have they been trained?
When answering this question, you want to be sure the provider is a board-certified physician in a specialty related to mental health or pain (such as anesthesia, emergency medicine, internal medicine, or psychiatry). You also want to ask whether they have attended conferences or trainings related to ketamine management. Lastly, you want to ensure they have never had board actions taken against them.
2. When was the clinic opened?
Ketamine therapy continues to be an emerging treatment and so you should not expect a clinic to boast decades of experience. At the same time, you want to apply extra scrutiny to providers who have been open for less than twelve months. The medical community’s knowledge of ketamine therapy is largely experiential, and so it helps to know that the person you are working with has been involved in the field for at least two years.
3. What are they charging?
A 40-minute ketamine infusion should cost between $350 and $450. Longer infusions for chronic pain will cost more. Clinics charging prices substantially higher or lower than this amount are either overcharging or reneging on the critical importance of providing individualized care.
4. Does the Clinic Offer Supporting Mental Health Services?
Ketamine is not a first-line treatment for depression. It is an intervention that saves lives when other treatments have failed. Accordingly, a ketamine clinic that provides supporting services to ensure that ketamine therapy is the right treatment for you should land at the top of your list. Supporting services might include psychotherapy, group therapy, and antidepressant medication management.
Vitalitas Denver is a leading clinic that meets all of the criteria outlined above. We are among the country’s leading providers, we bring deep expertise to our practice, and we are among the few clinics that staff a psychiatrist to ensure we provide holistic mental health care treatment.
To learn more do not hesitate to contact us using the form below.