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The Wellness NorthStar
Woman with generalized anxiety disorder in her home.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Ketamine as Treatment

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is characterized by persistent and excessive worry about a variety of issues, according to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America.

People with Generalized Anxiety Disorder may be overly concerned about money, health, family, work, or other issues. Individuals often find it difficult to control their worry or may expect the worst outcomes in life even when there is no apparent reason for concern.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder is diagnosed when a person finds it difficult to control worry on more days than not for at least six months and has three or more symptoms. This differentiates Generalized Anxiety Disorder from apprehension that may be specific to a specific stress trigger, such as social anxiety or situational anxiety, or experiencing anxiety for a more limited period of time.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder affects nearly 7 million adults across the United States in any given year. Women are twice as likely to be affected than men. The disorder comes on gradually and can begin across the life cycle, though the risk is highest between childhood and middle age. The exact cause of Generalized Anxiety Disorder is unknown, yet health conditions, family background, and life experiences can all contribute.

People living with Generalized Anxiety Disorder often feel their feelings of anxiety are beyond their control, even though they recognize that their anxiety is more intense than the reality of the situation. Anxiety disorders may stem from a difficulty tolerating uncertainty and people with Generalized Anxiety Disorder try to control situations.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder Signs and Symptoms:

  • Feeling nervous, irritable, or on edge
  • Having a sense of impending danger or panic
  • Having an increased heart rate
  • Breathing rapidly, sweating, or trembling
  • Feeling fatigued
  • Having trouble concentrating
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Experiencing gastrointestinal problems

Ketamine for Generalized Anxiety Disorder:

When properly treated, people with Generalized Anxiety Disorder can function in social situations, live meaningful lives, and be gainfully employed. Many with Generalized Anxiety Disorder may not take advantage of opportunities in life due to their apprehension about the situation or its possible outcomes. Some people can have difficulty carrying out simple daily activities when their anxiety is severe.

Ketamine, first developed and approved by the FDA as an anesthetic, is a promising innovation in the field of Generalized Anxiety Disorder Treatment. When infused at a low dose into the bloodstream, research shows that Ketamine may be up to 80% effective at providing relief for anxiety disorder symptoms. Ketamine also shows a promising potential to treat anxiety associated with other conditions, such as PTSD.

One benefit to treating anxiety disorders with ketamine is its ability to sometimes bring relief to symptoms within minutes or hours, rather than the weeks or months required by most anxiety medications.

Ketamine also has the ability to provide lasting relief following the infusion, instead of common medications to treat anxiety which only provide relief while the medicine remains in the bloodstream. Consequently, these medicines may cause anxiety for someone when there is no external cause, simply because the medicine left the body.

As research from the Yale School of Medicine has found, ketamine triggers glutamate production, prompting the brain to form new neural connections. This could allow the brain to be more adaptable and to create new pathways, which would in turn provide an opportunity to create more positive thoughts and behaviors. Ketamine may also reduce signals in inflammation (which has been linked to mood disorders in past studies) or help aid communication within certain areas of the brain. Regardless how it helps, one of the pioneers of ketamine research, Dr. John Krystal, M.D., said in an interview that ketamine is a gamechanger.

“With most medications, like valium, the anti-anxiety effect you get only lasts when it is in your system,” Krystal said. “When the valium goes away, you can get rebound anxiety. When you take ketamine, it triggers reactions in your cortex that enable brain connections to regrow. It’s the reaction to ketamine, not the presence of ketamine in the body that constitutes its effects.”

If you among the millions of Americans suffering from an anxiety disorder, ketamine therapy may offer rapid and lasting relief. To find out if ketamine therapy for anxiety is right for you, book a consultation request form online.

If you are in crisis, get immediate help: