For the past 30 years, the most commonly used medications for depression, bipolar depression, anxiety, and other related mood disorders have been SSRI’s (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors). The problem with these medications is they take 4-8 weeks to start working, have many undesirable side effects, and are really only effective in about one third of people who take them!
In contrast, ketamine works almost immediately, has an incredible safety record with very few side effects, and has been proven to be effective in at least 70% of the people who have received it.
Beyond its incredible efficacy in individuals with mood disorders, ketamine also works for many suffering with chronic pain. This includes many different conditions such as CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, previously known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy), chronic migraines, neuropathy, and fibromyalgia. Many people who have been on chronic narcotic pain pills have even been able to completely stop them.
While the scientific community has isolated specific chemicals and chemical receptors of the brain where ketamine functions, our full understanding of its effectiveness is still in progress. Without getting too much into the science, ketamine works by blocking something called the NMDA receptor in the brain which affects a chemical (neurotransmitter) called glutamate. The downstream effects of this reaction are multiple. There is an increase in the feel-good chemicals of the brain. There is an increase in activity in the areas of the brain responsible for emotions, motivation, perception, and thinking. Perhaps most importantly, there is an increase in the connections between braincells. Ketamine regenerates those damaged and dysfunctional cells within the brain’s mood and emotion centers.
But there is also a second theory on why ketamine works. During the ketamine infusion, patients experience a dream-like state. During this time, many report an intensely spiritual or personal experience. Afterwards, all of those previous traumas and negative thoughts are perceived differently. It is like a tired, worn tread has been patched and is now running smoothly again.
We are now utilizing medical insurance to help cover the cost of treatment. If you choose to utilize insurance, the cost could be as low as $250 for a treatment, or only the cost of your co-pay for consultation or therapy services.
We are currently in network with: Medicare, Anthem/Blue Cross Blue Shield, United Healthcare, Aetna, Cigna.
If we do not participate with your insurance provider, you must pay for treatment out of pocket and we can provide you with ‘superbills’ to submit for potential reimbursement.
The full out of pocket cost is Consultation $150
All payments are due prior to each treatment. Cancellation fees apply to appointments cancelled or rescheduled with less than 24 hours notice telephonically. The fee is $50 for treatment sessions and are charged to the credit card on file. For no-call/no-shows the cancellation fee is $250. Read our office policy here.
DEPRESSION, BIPOLAR, PTSD, AND OTHER MOOD DISORDERS
For Depression, Anxiety, OCD and PTSD, it is recommended that you complete 6 infusions over 3 weeks, followed by booster infusions when you need them. The frequency of the booster infusion will differ depending on the patient’s condition and response to initial treatment. On average, people generally need one every 2-3 months, but some are able to go much longer without needing one. Alchemy Wellness uses a daily text program to monitor your mood and help determine the timing between infusions.
CHRONIC PAIN (INCLUDING CRPS)
Chronic pain syndromes are more difficult to treat and require a very different protocol. These infusions are four hours long and occur several days in a row. During these infusions, we may add additional medications, such as magnesium or lidocaine, tailored specifically to your needs and response to therapy. After the initial schedule of 3-5 infusions, subsequent booster infusions will be on an as-needed basis.
Ketamine is not FDA-approved to treat depression, mood disorders, or chronic pain, and there are currently no recognized billing codes for treatment in this capacity. Therefore, insurance companies refuse to pay for it. Insurance will, however, cover the cost of the office visit and monitoring. We charge a medication fee directly to the patient and route the remainder of the cost of treatment to your insurance provider in the traditional manner. Because insurance products and coverage vary greatly, it is best to call us directly and provide us with your insurance information to get specific pricing information.
A full and accurate medication list, allergy list, and any diagnostic/treatment information from prior physicians. It is recommended that you bring a family member or trusted friend to help you understand if ketamine is right for you.
We recommend you wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. Most patients prefer to listen to music during their infusions. Some prefer to watch videos. So, please feel free to bring your portable electronic devices and ear/headphones. We have guest WIFI available.
A history of schizophrenia or psychotic disorder, severe heart or vascular disease, poorly controlled hypertension, pregnancy, active mania, and severe liver disease.
Your well-being and safety are extremely important to us. Ketamine can impair your coordination, attention, and decision-making capacity. Thus, we do not allow anyone to drive themselves home after treatment and for the rest of the day. You must arrange for a ride BEFORE presenting for treatment. We do allow patients to utilize rideshare services, such as Uber or Lyft.
Want more information? Read our Ketamine Guide.