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The Importance Of Ethical Guidelines For Ketamine Assisted Therapy

Ketamine Assisted Therapy is Exploding

Ketamine’s use as an alternative to traditional therapies has been exploding over the last few years. Ketamine assisted therapy (KAT) is now being used to treat treatment-resistant depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar affective disorder, and chronic pain. The indications for the use of ketamine continue to widen as a growing body of evidence is published in the medical literature. With this burgeoning use of KAT to treat serious psychiatric conditions comes concerns about who is providing the treatment and what training they have. Many KAT providers have little to no formal psychological or psychiatric training. Some provide the drug with a promise of it being a “cure” to their patient’s condition or exaggerating the efficacy of ketamine.

Raquel Bennett Responds With Ethical Guidelines

In light of this, Dr. Raquel Bennett, Post-Doctoral Fellow in Psychology and the founder of the KRIYA Institute and organizer of the KRIYA Conference, developed the ‘Ethical Guidelines for Ketamine Clinicians’. The KRIYA institute is devoted to treating patients with ketamine and educating clinicians who use the medication in their practices in the most scientifically rigorous way possible. The KRIYA conference was the first of its kind to focus specifically on ketamine. According to Dr. Bennett, the guidelines were written because “I was very concerned about the number of ketamine clinics that were popping up that were advertising ketamine treatment for mental health indications but were not providing psychologically-informed care.” These guidelines are specifically geared towards the use of ketamine to treat psychiatric conditions and not for its use in chronic pain conditions or anesthesia.

According to the guidelines, the ethical KAT provider first acknowledges that ketamine is a powerful psychotropic medication that can cause dissociative and psychedelic effects, both of which can be distressing to some patients. Because of these properties, patients require psychological care before, during, and after receiving the medication. Models of care where patients are given the medication and left in a room by themselves and do not receive psychological after-care would not be considered ethical.

What Do Ethical Ketamine Assisted Therapy Guidelines Entail?

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Ketamine Assisted Therapy is Exploding

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