At some point, medical practices treating people with off-label ketamine became known as ketamine clinics. There’s nothing inherently wrong with being labeled a clinic. A clinic is typically a specialty-focused, sizable medical practice with an established reputation (e.g. Mayo Clinic). Media sources, however, have used the alliterative combination “ketamine clinic” along with the following descriptions:
• Trendy pop-up practices operating with ineffective medical protocols.
• Get-rich-quick schemes for doctors seeking supplemental income.
• Mental health practices run by non-mental health doctors.
So if you’re looking for a ketamine clinic, keep looking—we’re not one.
It’s understandable, though, why ketamine practices are being heavily scrutinized. Aside from the fact that treating depression with ketamine is currently not FDA approved (despite its unquestionable efficacy and safety proved over a multitude of studies), any breakthrough that changes the way we used to look at something is going to initially face doubt and heavy criticism. Ketamine’s ability to rapidly relieve depression in patients who have failed traditional medications not only challenges the financial interests of medication manufacturers, it also challenges outdated theories on the causes and origins of mental illnesses, forcefully ushering the mental health community into a new era where:
• Most providers stand on the side of tradition.
• Many providers curiously peek over the line.
• Few providers bravely crossover.
Bravery alone, though, is not enough. The treatment itself must be matched by a highly-qualified, well-intentioned provider. Did you know that any doctor can treat a patient with ketamine for mental health? In that same vein, would you want a foot doctor conducting your neurology exam? I know the comparison is harsh, especially considering many ketamine clinics are run by anesthesiologists and ketamine is an anesthesia medicine, but it’s important to note:
• At Actify Neurotherapies, we treat patients at around 1/10th of the average surgical dose of anesthesia, which is a small dose, but one that creates a powerful mental health effect. Would you want a non-mental health doctor translating what is happening to your brain/mind during treatment?
• At surgical doses, which require an anesthesiologist, ketamine sedates everyone, but at smaller doses for the purposes of relieving depression and other mental illnesses, ketamine doesn’t work the same for everyone. Would you want a non-mental health doctor figuring out how to reach the right dose and treatment plan for you?
We are the largest private medical practice treating patients with ketamine. Actify Neurotherapies was started by a psychiatrist and is run by psychiatrists, but we are just one of many providers offering off-label ketamine. As we speak, clinics are popping up all over the world. There is a huge demand for ketamine because of how common it is for traditional psychiatric medications to fail. With so many people interested in ketamine, it actually hurts a practice to not use the word “ketamine” in its business name. We used to be called “Ketamine Treatment Centers” but are now “Actify Neurotherapies”. So why did we change our name?
Because we’re focused on health, not on ketamine.
Let’s liken ketamine to a hammer. A hammer is a tool. Although helpful in construction, it would be silly to call a hardware store a hammer store. Ketamine is also a tool, albeit the most important tool we currently have in treating depression. It is still just one tool. Our mission at Actify Neurotherapies is to continually fill our hardware store with the most advanced and proven tools to fight and eventually cure mental illnesses.
In 2011, ketamine was the only medicine I considered a breakthrough treatment because of its ability to rapidly and safely relieve depression, OCD, PTSD, and other mental illnesses, but now there are new options poised to enter the market that fit our mission. As we decide what avenues to pursue, rest assured, our future treatments will be evidence-based and compassion driven, just like ketamine. New treatments that rapidly and safely relieve mental illness (while taking into account our patients’ wellbeing) is what matters most—not an insistence on a single drug like ketamine to be the only tool.
As I write this, ketamine therapy is a very exciting treatment for depression and other mental illnesses. Its success rate, safety profile, and speed are remarkable. The Actify treatment team stands behind our ketamine treatment protocol in saving lives, but it’s important for all consumers to research and shop for options. Since you may be reading this during the consideration process, I hope you’re now able to differentiate between ketamine clinics and advanced mental health practices. If not, here are a few types of practices I recommend avoiding:
• Clinics who do minimal to no screening for appropriateness of treatment.
• Clinics with treatment protocols that veer outside the available evidence for safety and efficacy.
• Clinics who lack transparency around proprietary additives that supposedly enhance treatment response.
• Clinics that lack a mental health specialist to confirm an appropriate diagnosis or indication for treatment.