Holistic Therapy and Healing for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Holistic Therapy and Healing for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Many of us experience trauma in our lives. In some respects, hardships are what help us create our character strengths as we grow. Life is hard. Full of great losses and unforeseen events that shape us along the way. But not everyone can overcome every situation as a learning experience, nor with time, reflection or even one’s character armor. Post-traumatic stress disorder may intervene in one’s ability to heal if trauma memories become entrenched and, for a myriad of reasons, block one’s ability to move past the experience. PTSD requires a multifaceted, yet targeted, approach to help an individual process the trauma and move beyond the crippling triggers that impede their healing. 

 Ketamine infusion therapy and trans-cranial magnetic stimulation treatment (TMS), along with the meditative arts and other holistic therapeutic approaches, offer the best way to help individuals who experience the debilitating consequences of PTSD finally heal. According to a 2016 study, only 59% of those afflicted with post-traumatic stress disorder find relief from traditional medications, thus alternative methods are required. The study, published in the Journal of Trauma & Dissociation, highlights that “many existing treatments…do not directly target trauma memories that lay at the core of the PTSD pathogenesis. Notable exceptions are medications like ketamine,” among other treatments such as TMS, SGB (Stellate Ganglion Block) and using yoga and mindfulness. 

 It is important to pair PTSD treatment with yoga, tai chi or some type of movement meditation, which allows the body to release pent-up energy, that visceral body tension that helps trigger an individual. Releasing the energy throughout the body is very important. Muscles are controlled by the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system, and the sympathetic system produces our fight or flight response. Releasing tension in the body is directly tied to healing the body’s nervous system at the muscular and molecular level. Stretching allows for healing at the physiological level with the release of endorphins. Releasing tension also helps one reach deeper sleep states which is necessary to fully process the experience at the subconscious level. Mindfulness and focusing on breathing allow for the release of healing chemicals such as serotonin, “the feel-good” neurotransmitter, thus working at the emotional level by helping strengthen neural connections. This is precisely the site of treatments such as Ketamine, which aims to dislodge entrenched trauma pathways. And Stellate Ganglion Block treatments which directly target the Stellate Ganglion of nerves that are mainly responsible for the fight or flight response.

Ketamine Health Centers offers these new mental health tools such as Ketamine infusion and ketamine assisted psychotherapy, TMS, and SGB treatments; especially important alternative methods for patients with treatment resistant PTSD (TR-PTSD), but also effective for a wide range of mental health concerns. The meditative arts help enhance these targeted treatments. A holistic approach allows trauma patients to dislodge old neuropathways and create new connections, working through various levels in the body matrix. The key to lending efficacy to these deeper healing methods. 

The meditative practices that should accompany these various alternative treatments are numerous and should be tailored to an individual’s disposition. Contact one of our clinics today to learn more regarding new PTSD treatment options, and a specialist will help you create a treatment plan that best fits your needs. Treatment can be initiated via telemedicine services. Ask about available insurance options at our Coral Gables clinic. We are here to help you, or your loved one, create a path to mental health and wellness.

Curbing the Rise in Mental Illness

Curbing the Rise in Mental Illness

Mental illness has been on the rise for many decades in the United States. There are various reasons for the increase in individuals diagnosed with a mental disorder. Before the turn of the century, we became more informed of mental health in general as we began to chip away at the stigma surrounding it. As a result, many individuals were able to seek help openly. Over the last twenty years, we have learned a great deal more about the social and neuro-physiological ground of mental illness, helping us diagnose cases earlier on. Still, there has been a growth in mental health cases over the last decade, particularly among adolescents and young adults. And suicide ideation has been on the rise within the adult population (see The state of mental health in America.) These numbers surely speak to more than simply highlighting the problem. Our changing environments have outpaced our ability to adapt to them. Financial disparity is growing. Environmental anxiety is on the rise as many more individuals become concerned by the imbalance in nature. Currently, emotional stability is strained by this onslaught to our public health, the abrupt upending of our lives and the financial fall-out of the coronavirus outbreak.

There is such a wide spectrum of experiences during this pandemic, as most of us shelter-in-place, but all of them carry their own weight of challenges; depending on where you live in respect to hot zones, but also by how you live. Do you live alone or are you with family? Is it a loving family situation, or is someone experiencing trauma in the home? Are you in a struggling relationship made more difficult during quarantine? Are you tasked with juggling too many roles as a parent and employee, turned part-time teacher? A caregiver with no relief in sight? Or are you furloughed and bored, maybe drowning in social media? Perhaps you lost a loved one.

At a time when more individuals need mental health support and services, Ketamine Health Centers is pleased to provide an effective alternative to medications. Ketamine infusion therapy is over 90% effective for treating anxiety, major depression (particularly for treatment-resistant patients), and those suffering from suicide ideation. Ketamine therapy is also effective among a range of other mental disorders with a high success rate.

A study conducted in the early 2000s, reported by the NIMH – National Institute of Mental Health, states that “19.1% of U.S. adults had suffered some sort of anxiety disorder in the past year, with an estimated 31.1% of U.S. adults experiencing any anxiety disorder at some time in their lives”. According to the American Psychiatric Association, one in 15 (6.7%) adults experience depression in any given year, and 16.6% will experience depression at some point in their lives. And these statistics are pre-pandemic numbers from 2017. We now face a new set of unknowns that heightens the anxiety felt by many. The need for mental health support to manage this increase grows acutely, especially among our heroes – the healthcare workers on the frontlines. Ketamine Health Centers can provide mental health support that is effective and immediate. Immediate relief is essential for some individuals during this pandemic.

Hopefully you are among the many that have had time to spend with loved ones and reconnect. Or learn a new hobby. Maybe finally putting that bike to use after so many years. I hope this time has afforded you blessings. But if you or a loved one seeks support during these extraordinary challenges, Ketamine Health Centers can provide a range of services to address your needs. Telemedicine services are in place, and we are happy to announce that insurance coverage is available at our Coral Gables clinic, a blessing during these financially trying times. We are working to provide insurance coverage at our other clinics. Ketamine Health Centers can provide an avenue to healing that is more direct and efficacious. Together with a follow-up plan devised with your therapist, you can find that calm to see past the stressors and focus on the opportunities that these challenging times present us. Contact us today for a consultation.

Telemedicine Services for your Wellbeing

Telemedicine Services for your Wellbeing

Ketamine Health Centers is dedicated to your wellbeing in these extremely challenging times and now offers telemedicine services for your wellbeing . We are here to provide the support that you need as we adjust to a different rhythm of life during the COVID-19 pandemic. These are unprecedented times where all that we know for certain is that we do not have answers to most of our questions. An unnerving prospect for us all. There are subtle ways to help gain some semblance of control in these restrictive moments, such as maintaining the same meal times each day. Set a routine for your weekdays that differ from your weekend days to help maintain your sense of time, or days may begin to run into each other. Make it a point to get outside daily, if possible, and move and stretch – or sit & listen to nature. For emotional health, carve out a space to meditate, or reflect on what you are thankful for. Don’t just let yourself get caught up in home projects and remote work or eLearning. Use this as an opportunity for self-growth.

Thankfully, with all challenges come opportunities. There are many ways to see the positives that this mostly global shut-down has highlighted. I think of the lives of individuals cut off from the daily hustle and bustle. I see two wonderful things occurring as we are forced to slow down. The creative muses have been called from all corners, providing newfound joy and stress release for many individuals. And many family connections have been reestablished, bonds strengthened, and friendships rekindled through a call or text to finally check-in and say hello. There are, however, still so many vulnerable individuals, the poor, the homeless, the elderly who have been cut off from their loved ones; vulnerable to the physical risks, but even more so for most, to the mental health challenges that this new normal presents. Yet, even in the face of physical isolation, many are blessed with the capabilities to connect through technology. Yes, this of course further highlights the digital divide in our society, just as the crisis highlights many insufficiencies in our lives. The optimist in me sees this wake-up call as a gift to make the structural changes necessary to correct some gaping deficiencies. But these changes will come slowly.

For the moment, I am grateful for the resources available to us to remain connected through these challenging times. Ketamine Health Centers, as always, is fully committed to your health and well-being. We know that you need to find a delicate balance between receiving mental health support and staying home and healthy through the duration of this pandemic. Our clinic will provide telemedicine support fully covered by all insurance plans. We can provide your initial consultation, evaluation, and follow-up sessions via live chat Telemedicine sessions (or still by phone if preferred). Our West Palm Beach and Miami clinic locations are still open for scheduled treatment sessions. We can provide teletherapy services as well. Contact us today and let us tailor your treatment sessions with our freely available telemed services. Know that Ketamine Health Centers can support you in various ways to help establish and maintain your mental and physical health, especially during these uncertain times.

Dancing Away the Blues: Soul Therapy & Brain Booster

Dancing Away the Blues: Soul Therapy & Brain Booster

Losing yourself in a dance trance provides a freeing sense of self. While the joy and social connections that foster feel good moments on the dance floor provide fuel for our souls. There is great healing power in the rhythmic movement that exercises the body, as well as through the music that melds mind and spirit to the energy that surrounds us. Dance, especially movement to rhythmic percussions, forms a foundational ground for spiritual worship and an excellent source of emotional release, as experienced throughout human history. Music also constitutes one of the primordial forms of energetic connection to the pulse of life. No doubt when you loosen up and allow your bodies to follow the groove, and truly allow yourself to be guided by the musical rhythms, your soul rejuvenates and energy flows more freely. 

Multiple layers of healing permeate and boost the body when we use dance as a form of exercise and therapeutic release. More importantly, for the millions of Americans who suffer from depression and anxiety each year, the increase in synaptic activity that accompanies cardiovascular exercise can help reverse the effects of depressive brain states. As we exert physical exercise, we also enhance activity in our prefrontal cortex providing a brain boost. Dance increases brain connectivity leading to better working memory, reducing stress and increasing levels of serotonin, as recognized through current research in neuroscience. A wonderful resource, the Harvard Mahoney Neuroscience Institute highlights some of the beneficial neurophysiological changes that dance can bring about, on their page Dancing and the Brain.  

As scientists try to understand the neurophysiology of depression through brain morphology, animal models provide some revealing findings. One such study connects the atrophy of dendritic spine density in regions of the prefrontal cortex to depressed brain states.  Research into the antidepressant effects of Ketamine highlights how Ketamine reverses depressive neurophysiology by “increasing dendritic spine density in the prefrontal cortex, reflecting structural remodeling” and at times the creation of new neuropathways. Providing more acute effects than dancing can for individuals in need of more targeted therapeutic treatments, Ketamine infusion can provide immediate and sustained benefits to brain-based behavioral changes. 

A recently published study, this one focusing on Electrophysiological Biomarkers of Ketamine on individuals with depression, reviews “markers of synaptic potentiation…[including] gamma oscillations and long-term potentiation.” The study points to “changes in long-term potentiation as a promising measure of synaptic [restructuring] following ketamine administration” leading to changes in synaptic activity that helps loosen entrenched neuropathways. In fact, the full effects of Ketamine infusion may not be felt immediately, as reported by some patients, but instead may become more apparent a few days following treatment, and up to about 10-14 days after, as increased synaptic activity and rewiring takes place.  

Along with other therapeutic activities such as dancing, Ketamine infusion treatments establish neuro and electrophysiological restructuring in the brain that potentially lead to behavioral changes, and often an enhanced outlook on life. Contact Ketamine Health Centers today to discuss your specific needs and one of our specialists will help tailor your treatment options. We are dedicated to helping you or your loved one boost mental and emotional wellness to healthy living.

Creating a Calming Space for Children

Creating a Calming Space for Children

For several generations now, we have placed greater emphasis on providing better methods of childrearing and parenting strategies, as we’ve increased awareness of childhood developmental stages and overall emotional and mental health for our youngest members of society. However, the rapid societal changes, driven by technological development, has led to increased stressors for all individuals, and arguably the impacts of social media have hit older children the hardest. From cyberbullying to the constant barrage of screen time, as some children move from one device to another in a given day, these aspects of our modern lives add to the emotional stressors that kids face. Often caregivers have a hard time managing the mental and emotional consequences, even when children are not exposed to high anxiety situations in their daily lives. For children who do experience more anxiety, or trauma, it is crucial to provide a variety of outlets to work through their stress, and possibly depression that may develop. While children are quite resilient, they still need the emotional development and mental health focus that we all need in order to become our better selves.

There are a wide range of coping methods and healing strategies to help children find a calming space in their lives. One easy way is to create a quiet corner for your children at home. It doesn’t have to be more than a corner of a room situated with pillows or a comforter that can provide a comfy spot to sit. Allow your child to decorate that space as s/he would like, using various arts and craft projects along the way. Let them add a few calming mantras or objects, and various activity pieces to provide modes of distraction. It can serve as a calming space for ‘time-out’ moments when they need to reflect on their behavior or think of better ways to express their frustrations. It can also serve as a reading space or play area to enjoy a ‘brain-break’ for electronic-free time. I’ve heard reporting on several programs in various school settings across the country, in hard hit opioid centers in some cases, that are implementing similar settings and strategies to help their youngest students cope with trauma, depression, and high anxiety. Even in communities where children experience less stressors, implementing a growth mindset that focuses holistically on the individual’s development can help children and young adults grow into healthier adults and caregivers.

Ketamine infusion therapy can be effective for young adults experiencing treatment resistant depression, according to a 2018 study, although more research is required to learn about the effects of ketamine on growing minds. Please contact us today to discuss your unique mental health concerns, and a member of our team at Ketamine Health Centers will guide you through our treatment options and help you create that internal calming space for you or your loved one.

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