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Posted: April 26th, 2023
Greenwood Village, Colo — Ketamine has been used as an anesthetic for decades, but more recently research has been done on how the drug can impact certain mental health struggles.
A clinic in Greenwood Village, Mind Spa, believes ketamine has the power to impact certain people in a positive manner.
Sam Peterson is a combat veteran who spent two tours in Afghanistan as a bomb disposal technician. The last time he left Afghanistan was in 2016, and his first ketamine infusion was around a year later. “A lot of guys in my position are really afraid of losing control,” Peterson said. “Leaving my body sounds really scary. It’s not. It’s something that we hype up a lot in our minds. But especially here, you know, at Mind Spa, the doses [of ketamine] get stepped up. You start in the kiddie pool.”
Peterson is a co-founder of Mind Spa which was opened last summer. He works alongside Dr. Eric French, a psychiatrist and medical director for the clinic. Dr. French describes Mind Spa as a “reboot” of outpatient mental health, providing services that range from traditional outpatient medical management to ketamine infusions.
“Ketamine is actually a dissociative anesthetic,” said Dr. French. “It’s got a good safety profile. It’s really effective, and it’s short acting. And I think that’s why people like working with it.”Dr. French said Mind Spa conducts the treatments intravenously in order to control the rate at which the ketamine is administered. The infusions are done inside of the clinic with a nurse present the entire time to monitor the patient.
“When you microdose this, it’s really effective in helping with things like severe depression, suicidal thinking, but can also be used to work through some traumas that continue bumping into people or reconciliation of a loss,” said Dr. French. “It’s an opportunity to get some really hard work done.” Dr. French said ketamine is most commonly used for mental health struggles like depression, PTSD, and anxiety. Peterson said when he first started ketamine infusions, he was struggling.
“Oh, I was suicidal. It was bad,” said Peterson. “Uncontrolled rampant anxiety and depression,”
Peterson said the infusions, paired with hard work through therapy, has helped level out his highs and lows.
“It’s really provided me the space to do more work in therapy and to go farther in therapy, because a lot of times we have all these walls built up, that we’re not even aware of,” explained Peterson. “Ketamine really allows those walls to come down and for me to reach deeper with my therapists… Ketamine is an absolute lifesaver.”
The drug is legal for a doctor to administer, but unless it is in the form of a certain nasal spray it is not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for behavioral health treatment. It is important to note this treatment is entirely for therapeutic purposes, not recreational use.