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.

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.

Reducing Anxiety During Times of Uncertainty

Reducing Anxiety During Times of Uncertainty

Anxiety is often defined as fear of uncertainty. As a therapist, I often find myself helping my patients understand the legitimacy of these fears. Through hard work and a strong alliance with my patients, we face the fears, question its validity and as a result, reduce the anxiety. But times today are different. Our world is now full of real uncertainties; uncertainties about what Covid-19 means for us as a society, as a family and as an individual. Many of our patients with preexisting anxiety disorders are describing a sense of “legitimized anxiety”. Recently, I had a patient who told me that his OCD is helping him keep his family safe as his previously “over the top” hygiene practices are now being regarded as approaches to minimize contamination. Anxiety can be productive as it propels us to take action and make the necessary changes to stay safe. None-the-less, many of us struggle in an age of anxiety and now our fears have grown to unsurmountable levels. Covid-19 has pushed us to the next level of legitimized anxiety. How do we get through these trying times where answers are often elusive and uncomfortable?

Some answers can be found when we identify how we view control over our lives or what control means to us. The current uncertainty that Covid-19 represents is leaving us feeling helpless and without control. How long will this last? Will it impact my family or my loved ones? How will our day-to-day life change? Many may already be experiencing the changes that the Covid-19 pandemic has caused. We have children home from school or maybe some of us have lost our jobs. Uncertainty has affected our “life as usual”. Our lives are different and we just want some sense of the familiar and some sense of hope. A helpful way to address this sense of helplessness and lack of control is to consider how often we apply possibility thinking versus probability thinking. The likelihood of being affected is greater in certain areas of our world than in others and through certain actions. Consider all the variables and what this specifically means for your individual situation and then put into perspective your individual risk.

Regardless of your degree of risk and preexisting anxiety disorder, there are a number of things we can all do right now to regain a sense of control over our lives and the consequent sense of hope for the future that results when we feel empowered. As we face this unique crisis we can manage and control our runaway anxiety and overwhelming fears. Following are some suggestions.

Know your information

  • Know what is real news and what is rumor. It is very important that we stay informed in this continuously changing environment. However, there are many rumors running around. Just earlier this week, my 19 year old daughter home from college announced that our community had begun enforcing an 8:00pm curfew. I am enrolled in my town’s Community Newsletter which I receive through email. I had just received a recent newsletter that very day and noticed where they specifically stated that news of a curfew in our town was only a rumor. I felt empowered for knowing where to go to find the information I needed.
  • It is important to always stay aware of the sources of your news. Only consider news coming from reliable sources such as Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), White House briefings, local public health and community government information sites.
  • Do not check your phone or television for news every ten minutes. This limit is unique to each person but consider it a good idea to limit your news exposure to the same times of day, each day.

 Stay aware of what you can control.

  • Follow the directions of the CDC on how to reduce your chances of getting the virus and protecting your family.
  • Take care of your wellbeing. Set aside time to meditate. You can start this with 5 minutes a day of mindful breathwork. This is where you imagine breathing out stress and anxiety and breathing in peace and relaxation. If 5 minutes seems like too long, take in 7 breaths/exhales. Start a stretching routine, read the book you’ve been wanting to find time to read, buy art supplies and learn a new craft or practice an old one. Go for a walk and take pictures with your phone of images that stand out. Share with friends on social media. Try new recipes with all the groceries you’ve stocked up on.

Reach out for help.

  • Reconnect with friends through phone calls and social media. Set aside a specific time during your day for “distant socializing”. It can be very enjoyable to watch the same movie at the same time with a good friend while in separate physical spaces. Afterwards call each other and share thoughts about the movie. We become more insightful and consider the meaning of things that in the days prior to Covid-19 we might have rushed right by.
  • Talking to a mental health professional can help you identify any distorted thinking or other thoughts that can be making this difficult situation even more hard to cope with. At KHC, we are expanding our mental health programs to include telehealth so you can reach one of our licensed mental health therapists from your own home or work. Most insurance companies are currently covering this benefit. Talk to one of our patient care coordinators in Miami, WPB, Weston or Orlando and schedule an appointment.

Whether you have a preexisting anxiety disorder, depression or just find yourself overwhelmed by the uncertainties of our current world, within us we have the tools to work our way through these difficult times. Eventually our world will become more predictable again. For now, lets stay well informed with accurate information, increase our sense of control by letting go of what we can’t control and focusing on the things we can and lets connect and never hesitate to reach out for help.

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.

Guiding our Way to Emotional Health

Guiding our Way to Emotional Health

Mental wellness takes center stage this January as we start off 2020 with an increased focus on emotional health. January also marks National Mentoring Month. Mentorships go hand in hand with helping individuals develop emotional intelligence, as well as relationship bonds that will help strengthen the overall well-being of a given community. Developing coping skills and learning to navigate emotional stressors are essential for children and young adolescents, and can, in part, be taught through peer-to-peer mentoring programs. Elementary schools often have a reading buddy program pairing 5th and 4th grade students with K and 1st graders. Aside from learning to read with a new friend, the relationship bonds that form also help increase self-esteem for all students involved. Middle school is an especially important and vulnerable time for adolescents. A structured mentoring program that pairs older students with the newest members of the school can help guide them into the fold, provide an outlet for those struggling emotionally (which ideally would lead to parental, and if necessary professional, support once identified) and help build an overall sense of community spirit.

As our education system incorporates mental health awareness in school initiatives as a goal to educate the whole individual, mentoring programs will become more commonplace to help achieve that goal – for they help provide support, guidance and a rooted connection through fellowship. We not only garner wisdom from a senior member of a community, we also strengthen our resolve to work through challenges when we feel part of a whole; with the potential to learn to see different aspects of a problem through various lenses, an essential aspect of emotional intelligence. Mentorships can also help us turn our efforts inwards. We become equipped to focus on aspects of our development that we may not have achieved on our own. As we develop emotional intelligence we learn to focus on our own ground and more easily develop our sense of self. By honoring who we are we guide our way to those individuals in our world who resonate with us; who can help guide us towards a fuller sense of self. With early mentorships we can learn to develop these life-coping skills and practices that help us build our inner strengths.

Unfortunately, trauma, genetic predisposition to mental conditions, or the lack of any real connection with others can make the path of self-growth a difficult climb. Ketamine Health Centers provides a variety of treatment options through ketamine assisted therapy, and other procedures, that can help you or your loved one find relief from PTSD, depression, chronic pain and other conditions that impede the journey to emotional wellness. Contact our friendly staff at one of our clinic locations throughout Florida to learn how Ketamine Health Centers can help guide you to a life of wellbeing.

Schedule appointment
close slider

Schedule A Call

  • Please use dropdown to select.
  • Please use dropdown to select.
  • Please accept our terms and conditions by marking the check box below.