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Holistic Pathways Pave the Way for Mental Health

Holistic Pathways Pave the Way for Mental Health

Mental health news made the “front pages” recently, spurred on by a study claiming to debunk the ‘serotonin theory of depression. An important, although misleading conversation then took shape, specifically around the treatment of depression, which afflicts about 5% of the adult population worldwide. We want to sharpen the focus of this important conversation by pinpointing an aspect of current research on cutting-edge treatments that will help curb the dramatic increase in mood disorders, such as depression if properly integrated into a holistic model of mental well-being. 

The authors of the study (which was first published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry and then made widely available as a popular review on nature.com) analyzed decades of research on the role of serotonin in depression and determined there was no causal connection between the two. News and media outlets quickly circulated the headline and ultimately helped stir conversation surrounding the complex, multifactorial nature of depression, as many experts weighed in. 

Reactions from the media, and many individuals I spoke with after the headlines spread across seemingly every outlet – together with the cascading critiques – reveal that while most experts in the field of mental health do not prescribe a singular ‘chemical imbalance theory of mood disorders, a large segment of the general public tends to believe this account. Most likely given the marketing strategy at the turn of the century used to promote SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) as a magic-bullet cure for depression. The study says more about our societal inclination to rely on quick fixes than it helps to bring clarity to the complexities of mood disorders. As we well know, there is no singular source for depression given the dynamic interplay of the biopsychosocial factors that can lead to it, not to mention the genetic features of major depressive disorder that potentially remain latent until triggered by particular life events. 

Several individuals sent me messages and Instagram shares referencing different aspects of the ongoing conversation surrounding the serotonin theory of depression. A few colleagues, some of whom take these prescribed antidepressants, asked for my opinion, not before denouncing the use of SSRIs in some cases. My initial reaction mirrored that of many experts in the field raising the strongest critique, that the treatment of depression requires a multifaceted approach to the whole person, the biopsychosocial layers of being (I include the bioenergetic field that connects us to the world’s most intimately). Sadly, there have been short-sighted psychiatrists, especially a generation ago, taking a shortcut to mental health by focusing primarily on the neurological pathways of pathology, motivated by the hope of finding a targeted approach to mental health treatment, but at times in a vacuum of care. Yet, neither can we sidestep the fact that these medications work in many cases. Thankfully, integrative health falls within the larger nexus of mental health today compared to twenty years ago, but it has always been the cornerstone of psychodynamic theories and body-centered therapies. An article critical of the review points to this view above by rejecting the authors’ singular focus on serotonin.

Depression requires an integrative approach to health, wellness, and worldview that often requires lifestyle changes in order to align one’s take on life with how one lives out that life. A pill cannot do all of that for us, however, SSRIs work for a portion of the population for a reason. This does not negate the fact that most individuals require several tools and psychodynamic treatment methods (and spiritual alignment through traditions, fellowship with others, and direct connection with the natural environment) to address both the symptoms and the causes of mood disorders. Ultimately, SSRIs are prescribed to help an individual artificially induce what lifestyle changes (through movement) can often help establish on their own when undertaken with sufficient support addressing all layers of being. There are, of course, many instances when additional support is required. Medication for mood disorders is an important tool (SSRIs are only one type of antidepressant medication), hopefully, a temporary one, to help create kinetic energy that provides the internal motivation to move and grow and explore one’s environment with a sense of purpose. These medications can be efficacious as tools to help one move past the inertia that keeps one stuck. But they do not work, even in tandem with other treatment methods, for some individuals diagnosed with “treatment-resistant” depression. 

Most antidepressant medications were designed decades ago. Unfortunately, in arguing that a chemical imbalance of serotonin levels is not proven to play a causal role in depression, the review somewhat undermines the growing scientific evidence that does point to the role that neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine have in our mood regulation. Current knowledge of the neurophysiology of our brain and the relational structure of our minds and bodies to our environment in all its layered complexity is more sophisticated. Today’s technology, and more so with what’s coming online in the future, allow for more targeted approaches to mental health than ever before, paving future pathways to mental wellness.

By pinpointing more concretely the interrelated nature of our physiology and the importance of a dynamical approach to treatment for holistic mental health, we are poised to create a patient-tailored treatment for specific mental health disorders. Research groups directed by anesthesiologist Stuart Hameroff, for example, look at ways to create disorder-specific treatments as we expand research into neuroimaging; including a study using transcranial ultrasound (TUS) to alleviate chronic pain. Another review of a study on Ketamine infusion therapy provides promising research on the causal connection between Ketamine (which directly targets the overarching glutamate neurotransmitter) and the monoamine neurotransmitter serotonin. The study shows Ketamine directly increases the number of serotonin 1B receptors, possibly a mechanism to explain its fast-acting results in individuals diagnosed with treatment-resistant depression. The review provides a research path forward it seems, by raising the need to better understand the intricate dynamics and role of neurotransmitters in the regulation of mood and motivation, and the overarching interplay between the excitatory Glutamate and inhibitory GABA neurotransmitters that constrain the neuropathways, of which serotonin is a “downstream” component. More importantly, though, we will continue to learn how to manipulate our various systems through a variety of modalities, and different ways of bringing into kinetic balance the layers of our whole self, ultimately creating the epigenetic changes that can lead to sustained wellbeing. 

The foundational principles that guide Ketamine Health Centers are that of a holistic approach to wellness that strengthens overall well-being. We provide alternative therapies such as Ketamine infusion therapyTMS treatment, and the still important component of talk therapy (with Ketamine assisted psychotherapy) to treat mood disorders. We emphasize the wellness spectrum as a preventative scope of mental health, precisely because of the many sources of mental illness that may be more stress related or connected to life events. However, the holistic and integrative approach to mental health is also a critical aspect of mental disorder treatment to address the needs of the whole self as a supportive ground for deeper therapeutic work. Ketamine Health Centers will guide you in creating your path to wellness.

Summer Vibes: Stay Cool Under Pressure

Summer Vibes: Stay Cool Under Pressure

Maybe it’s the vitamin D boost or the energy you get from being near a source of water that rejuvenates and refreshes. Whatever the combination, the summer vibes can generate a healing space. Summer music with its upbeat groove has a way of moving us into a more easy-going state of mind. These days there is great relief in being outdoors, as we savor our time with others in open spaces where we can feel safe and comfortable (even if a little toasty with these heat wave temperatures!). Yet, the extremes we experience at the height of summer also remind us that we must find ways to cool down. We all need to find outdoor spaces for quiet and calm, where the stillness of mind and body can bring the natural environment to life in vibrant and healing ways. 

I will assert that most of us sense the need to focus on healing at many levels. In May, a month designated to focus on mental wellness and ways to heal ourselves and our communities, our nation faced another school massacre with the ensuing and tragic consequences that force us to make hard choices. Our health concerns, along with climate imbalance and a multitude of social stressors that we are contending with will continue to put undue pressure on all of us well into the year. So, perhaps it is best to take this time to settle ourselves into stillness and greater self-reflection through breathwork, mindfulness practices, and moments of release to help us heal at our core and stay positive despite the heaviness.

In a sense, we must cool our thoughts and do our best to focus on self-care, so that we can respond to all individuals that shape our day with respect and grace, and when we find it necessary, simply move along with our day without losing our cool. Because we all have our days, and sometimes we need grace from others, but usually it’s nothing that a friendly smile from a stranger or a hug from a loved one can’t help resolve, along with exercise and a little evening fun. Take advantage of the extra hours of sunlight and stretch your relaxation time outdoors – take in the sunset; or walk off a hearty meal of fresh food and veggies, all made easier in the summer with nature’s abundance. Find a lake, a pool, and a beach to recharge.

We must be intentional about keeping it cool because summer is h-o-t. And that’s not all bad! Music and dance are almost synonymous with summer vibes. And rightly so. Some of the most important ways to keep up our energetic, physiological, and psychological state of well-being are through movement, and in particular through the power of music on the mind. Whether you feel moved by your favorite song, or you find your rhythm in sports or other types of exercise, do what feels good to you. And do it each day. Get in 15-30 minutes of outdoor cardio early in the morning before the summer heat sets in. Leave the evening hours for more leisure activities like a neighborhood stroll or a lazy bike ride through a nearby greenway. Chair yoga (or seated stretching) and chair dancing provide alternative options for engaging one’s body.

Include time at the start of your day (or cap off the night) with active reflection, stating or writing down two things you are grateful for. At that moment, take in a deep breath and let that positive reflection fill your whole being. Then exhale that breath, completely emptying your lungs, and inhale once again a full, deep breath. Feel the gift of air in your lungs and the warmth, the fuel, that gratitude provides the soul. This calming practice creates a space to organize your thoughts around setting intentions for the day, which helps engage the mind in ways that move you to accomplish your goals. 

Journaling, simply writing out your thoughts and emotions, is quite helpful in curbing negative thinking by revealing your patterns of thought. It is a direct way to relieve stress and let go of those harmful thoughts that may weigh you down. By writing them out, you release them from your mind’s grasp and give yourself permission to name them or claim them, making it easier to let it go so that it lets go of you. Journaling provides a gentle, yet powerful, way to work through grief and trauma, while helping to strengthen memory and cognitive abilities, increase affect and boost mood especially when it involves incorporating positive thinking, and so many more positive effects of sorting out one’s thoughts on paper. 

There are many more modalities and activities that can help you find that cool groove that you need this summer to feel your best. Still, there are also many traumatic events that too many minds and bodies are contending with, so many individuals experiencing trauma directly. Many more are affected each day by the growing mental health crisis and the inability of mental health care providers to keep up with increased need and awareness.

Thankfully, there are alternative methods that effectively and more quickly help treat mental health challenges such as PTSD, depression, anxiety, chronic pain, etc., and can help address the need for more targeted and accessible care. Whether you find yourself facing challenges, or someone you know needs the help of a mental health professional, Ketamine Health Centers is here to provide support and guidance to achieve mental wellness. Contact us today to learn more about the various treatment options available to alleviate post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and a wide range of conditions. We are here for you.

 

Supporting your Post-Infusion Care to Maximize Results

Supporting your Post-Infusion Care to Maximize Results

At Ketamine Health Centers, we ensure a successful and comfortable experience at our clinics. Once you leave our clinic, there are elements of post-infusion care that are important to keep in mind to help maximize the results.

To start, a friend or family member who can support your post-infusion experience is most beneficial. You will get more support from a loved one who is able to able to help you create a curated and safe space for you to make what you need out of your infusion experience. 

There are the procedural and healing aspects of post-infusion care that a third person can help with that would allow you to focus more on your experience. Listening to the after-care instructions from the nurse may not be entirely possible while still processing your emotions and experience after a session. You may be overtaken by your thoughts, or still in a dreamy state of mind, and not fully able to take in all the details of post-infusion care. A friend can help be your eyes and ears immediately following your session by listening to the post-care instructions that will be reviewed with you. And that friend or family member can help once again review those instructions with you once home.

As a caretaker, you can help ensure the safety of your loved one by offering them safe transportation back home and helping them settle in comfortably. Additionally, we stress the importance of arranging transportation for a safe way home with a friend or family member. 

A confidant is important to have during the post-infusion period. You may be tempted to share your experience with just about anyone who will listen! It is important though to keep in mind that many of your experiences will be difficult to capture in words. Not everyone will understand your perspective or be able to provide you the space of non-judgement that is especially important to help you process the insights that emerge immediately following (and days after) your session. Being selective of who you share with means you are less likely to try to fit your experience into neat perceptual frameworks to help someone else understand what you are trying to convey. You must first take the time to understand for yourself what your experience is trying to convey to you.

As a caretaker, you can best support someone going through infusion therapy by holding a non-judgmental space for that person to feel invited to share in a way that speaks to them. Try to provide feedback that helps the individual explore their experience for the messages that resonate for them, rather than trying to understand what they are speaking of in any concrete terms for your own understanding. Your curiosity may not be helpful at this stage, though it is important to show your interest during the post-infusion, it is much more important for you to share compassion through attentive listening. Remaining quietly present is a powerful gesture of support by simply holding a space for them to fill as they see fit. 

Ketamine Health Centers provides a cutting-edge therapeutic model to address the mental health crisis that is on the rise. By combining ketamine infusion therapy with a variety of alternative treatments such as SGB treatment or TMS therapy we can target specific mental health challenges and tailor a treatment plan that addresses your needs. Contact us today at 1-833-542-3040 to learn more about the various therapies and treatments available throughout Florida and Mexico City.

Set an ‘Attitude of Gratitude’ to Balance Mental Health this Holiday Season

Set an ‘Attitude of Gratitude’ to Balance Mental Health this Holiday Season

Entering the second holiday season with Covid brings a new set of challenges for how we balance our mental and emotional health, considering yet another adjustment to our changing public health landscape. This year feels more purposeful in our month of giving as we enter the Thanksgiving season with the aim of healing and regaining some ground under our feet.

The fact that there are two lived realities to contend with complicates matters. Individuals who are vaccinated and are planning gatherings with friends and family are in a different position to navigate the holidays than individuals who have chosen, for their personal reasons, to remain unvaccinated. This aspect of the endemic phase of Covid-19 is something we will continue to grapple with as we celebrate and move into the new year. While the lived realities of how we go about our daily lives may differ depending on our physical safety measures, there are mental health and emotional steps that we can all practice. By focusing on several modes of love-in-action this season we can also increase our resilience amidst stress and tragedy, while building community ties that are essential for our personal and social welfare. 

Creating an ‘attitude of gratitude’ as a guiding principle is a powerful tool to bolster our mental, emotional and spiritual health, which feeds back into the community building aspect of our personal growth – fostering meaning, happiness and enriching relationships. 

Acts of kindness build a community web of support and help raise our happiness meter.
This month of giving begins with Veterans day, an important day to give thanks for the enormous sacrifices that military families carry for us. As well as Giving Tuesday campaigns for raising awareness and financial support for the multitude of programs that aim to help those in need. A focus on gratitude this month shines bright within us as we strengthen our community through loving actions, big and small, that also increase our own sense of well-being through happiness and connection that comes from spreading kindness. We have seen people step-up in creative ways to support each other in times of crisis. The pandemic has brought out our better angels in many corners of the world. An article in Frontiers in Psychology points to several “silver linings [which] revealed sources of strength that included finding a sense of community, closeness, gratitude, and a belief that the pandemic may spur positive social change.” Acts of kindness generate the greatest amount of emotional healing and community connection. 

Love and gratitude towards acquaintances, neighbors and passersby in our life, can also come through simple acts, such as smiling at everyone you pass by throughout your busy day. Thanksgiving week is not simply time to be with family. Especially for those who are not traveling this year but want to have a fellowship gathering for the holiday, consider a small Friendsgiving feast. It would be healing to spend the holidays amongst whatever sense of community is available to you within the safety measures that you are comfortable with. Perhaps setting up an outdoor neighborhood potluck to connect individuals who would otherwise celebrate alone. Or consider supporting the most vulnerable in your area through sharing your talents or simply your time and presence, if you are able to safely. Through these actions that help us build our support systems beyond that of friends and family units, we begin to see the role of community in a new light. Now these terms, love and gratitude, are so broad they have room for myriad forms of relationships that enhance our well-being, especially when we extend that love to ourselves. Self-love is an important aspect of being able to give love to others in a healthy manner. And for individuals who are struggling with depression, the connection with self-love is often lacking. This study views gratitude and well-being in a psychotherapeutic setting. But self-love encompasses a broader concept, as well, as we look at wellness from the perspective of self-care.

Self-care in the context of balancing our mental health during the holidays means giving ourselves the time we need to relax, recharge to manage the hectic schedule of work demands, family life and holiday preparations. Fitting in moderate exercise, eating a balanced diet, getting proper sleep and carving out time for leisure activities such as reading, sitting by the fire, giving long hugs, taking long walks, reflecting during quiet moments or filling up on music and dancing whenever possible, are all important aspects of self-care. There are countless outlets that can provide you a recharge. Laughter is a wonderful remedy, of course, but not everyone is in a festive mood. It’s OK that you do not feel OK. You are not alone. Too many of us are experiencing grief.

Seek professional help if you need support to manage grief at this time. Contact 

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org or call 1-800-279-8255 if you need immediate assistance.
For a free consultation to learn about various cutting edge mental health treatments for depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation and other mental health challenges contact one of our professional staff at 1-833-542-3030 or https://ketaminehealthcenters.com

Mending hearts and managing grief when faced with an empty seat at the table makes the holidays especially difficult. If you are not experiencing loss, help those around you with your presence, simply offering silent support is what is most needed. You can help someone find solace by finding a unique way of remembrance this holiday season. Below are a few examples of how to pay tribute to a loved one that encourages a personal touch.

  1. Build a Centerpiece.
  2. Set a Place at the Table for Them.
  3. Attend a Service of Remembrance.
  4. Create a Memory Table.
  5. Share the Memories You’re Thankful For.

Lastly, but perhaps most importantly as we enter a season of reverence, is remembering our spiritual connection to traditions and ancestors. The essence of traditions in our social makeup is the source of universal love and our larger communal web of humanity, experienced uniquely and intimately with our families. Our personal experience of these traditions gives us a direct connection to our ancestors, our motherland, and oftentimes elucidates our place in nature. Create those nature-focused moments in our downtime, or an electronic-free day to create quiet space that helps us balance holiday demands with deeper meaning-making experiences. This is a perfect year to begin new traditions that harness energy stemming from new perspectives taking shape during the pandemic. Holidays always represent a mix of memory-making and energy-draining scenarios. It is important to read our emotions and give ourselves the permission to escape it all with our quiet moments of stillness that rejuvenate and reconnect us with a deeper sense of self. That quiet moment in front of a fire, or at dusk immersed in the beauty of a sunset, can provide the energetic refueling necessary to come back to your surroundings with grounded focus and openness. A spiritual connection to traditions or sacred space can provide a similar energetic recharge when we immerse all our senses and let the joy of the season fill our spirit. Peaceful holidays from Ketamine Health Centers!

Speaking Out for Suicide Prevention

Speaking Out for Suicide Prevention

The convergence of many traumatic events that continue to challenge and stretch us too thin requires that we confront hard-hitting topics such as suicide straight on. September marks suicide prevention month, during which we deepen our social outreach to those in need by speaking up and lifting the taboo. 

We strive to raise awareness of the mental health continuum at Ketamine Health Centers, an industry leader providing support and treatment for suicide ideation with proven results. As we face an unprecedented increase in the suicide rate here in the United States, and around the globe, we seek to provide a pathway to healing. 

Our veteran population remains a high-risk group, especially as we begin to wind down 20 years of war fatigue. The elderly are suffering more in an era of increasing geriatric mental health care needs, as the boomer generation ages. And our (mental) healthcare options shrink while we absorb other pressures on our healthcare system just as the need for services expand.  

Ultimately, our youth remain the most vulnerable to an increased rate of substance abuse and depression, strong indicators of potential suicidal ideation, in particular when the future seems so bleak. As a society, it is our responsibility to balance the realities of the world with the beauty and possibilities that have always existed in tandem. To highlight the hope that humanity is capable of and to inspire change at all levels. To help bring our youth into the fold as agents of change.

By providing alternative treatments for a wide range of mental health disorders, Ketamine Health Centers helps curb suicide and refocus mental health as overall wellness. Ketamine infusion treatment guided psychotherapy is a powerful new therapeutic that effectively reduces suicidal ideation by 98%. Individuals who suffer chronic pain and illness are also at high risk for suicide and can most benefit from ketamine infusion therapy. 

What to look out for if a loved one is in a high-risk group or has suffered trauma

The challenge with identifying suicidal tendencies is the variety of signs that differ across each individual. However, often the most prominent emotion is hopelessness and a subtle or not so subtle denial of self, such as feeling a burden to others, giving away prized possessions, or being extremely withdrawn.  

Some signs could be rationalized away as “teenage” behavior such as increased risky behavior, diving recklessly or taking unnecessary risks often. And again, though not always present, for older individuals nor for youth, often starting or increasing substance use, or using other unhealthy modes of coping skills such as gambling, are warning signs that should not be overlooked.

Recent events such as a job loss, great financial loss, or trauma (individual or collective) can lead to suicidal thoughts and behavior as well. If you or someone you know is in this position, reach out to a professional for guidance. Contact your mental healthcare provider, a clinician at Ketamine Health Centers for information (1-833-542-3040) or for immediate assistance call

1-800-273-TALK (8255) the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Do not be afraid to talk about suicide with someone who you fear is having suicidal thoughts, or possibly planning a suicide. Break the taboo.

Directly ask what plans have been made, if any? How far have they prepared according to set plans? Talking about it helps to destigmatize and disarm possible suicidal ideation.

Talking about your concerns directly provides the individual with much-needed support and a direct confrontation with their thoughts that is crucial but requires the support of others. The best way to help is to connect them with a professional.

 I wish to highlight valuable information and support provided by volunteers around the country to help curb this mental health crisis. We must address the lack of necessary mental healthcare facilities and providers for the level of care that is currently needed. We must especially mobilize to meet the demands for the increased need that is on the horizon.

For in-depth information or for ways to offer direct help as a volunteer, please visit:  https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/how-we-can-all-prevent-suicide/

To schedule a free consultation to learn more about IV Ketamine infusion therapy, call 1-833-542-3040 or email us at info@ketaminehealthcenters.com

Ketamine Health Centers Offers Free Consultations During National Suicide Prevention Month

Ketamine Health Centers Offers Free Consultations During National Suicide Prevention Month

Industry leader in Ketamine Infusion Therapy reduces barriers and increases accessibility to meet the growing demand for effective solutions for mental health conditions

MIAMI, FL — September 10, 2021 —  Ketamine Health Centers (KHC), the leading provider of IV ketamine infusion therapy in Florida, has announced it will offer free consultations across all five of its Florida-based facilities during the month of September, also recognized as National Suicide Prevention Month. Suicide is the second leading cause of death for those between the ages of 10-34, and ranks as the tenth leading cause of death overall in the United States.

Suicides have increased 35% in the U.S. since 1999 and Suicide Prevention Month hopes to shed light on this dark and taboo topic.  Suicidal thoughts can affect anyone and do not discriminate in age, gender or background. Oftentimes, suicide results from an untreated mental health condition and suicidal ideation should always be taken seriously. Bringing the topic of suicide to the open allows for open conversations about what suicide is, the resources available to prevent it and to further destigimtize mental health.

Ketamine Health Centers prides itself on providing the highest-caliber ketamine treatments. Current data suggests, when given intravenously, ketamine may be the most important breakthrough in antidepressant treatment in decades. With a holistic, multidisciplinary approach to delivering long-term solutions for treatment-resistant mental health and pain conditions, Ketamine Health Center’s success rate for treating depression surpasses the national average, exceeding 85 percent.

As these treatments become more popular and with increased insurance coverage, our company continues to be at the forefront of the field–one infusion at a time. With over 10,000 patients treated since inception, Ketamine Health Centers brings experience and hope for patients with mental health and pain conditions. KHC is proud of its continued company growth and its ability to provide leading mental health and pain care to patients in more areas, coast to coast.

“The effect of our treatments on mental health is transformational for patients,” says Dr. Raul Cruz, Chief Medical Officer. “To offer free consultations allows us to extend awareness about our services to all patients, providing them an alternative option for mental health conditions.”

The facilities include ketamine infusion therapy, but also other personalized cutting-edge treatments designed to help patients regain control: Stellate Ganglion Blocks (SGB), Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS), and teleherapy,  to name a few. The KHC approach allows patients struggling with anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other debilitating conditions to find relief and start living again.

For more information on Ketamine Health Centers , call 1-833-542-3040 or email info@ketaminehealthcenters.com.

About Ketamine Health Centers

Ketamine Health Centers is the only full-service health center in Florida fully dedicated to ketamine infusion therapy via joint expertise of board-certified anesthesiologist, Dr. Raul Cruz, and psychiatrist, Dr. Juan Oms, and our COO Dennis Diaz, CRNA. Headquartered in Miami, Florida, the practice is committed to delivering long-term solutions that incorporate ketamine infusions with a holistic, multidisciplinary approach. The collective knowledge and medical excellence of Ketamine Health Centers’ elite team have generated programs to serve those suffering from mental health and chronic pain, offering a plan that supports their well-being and steps toward recovery. The goal is to use ketamine to help patients regain a balance between the mind, body, and spirit. For more information, visit www.ketaminehealthcenters.com.

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