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Ketamine Infusion Therapy vs. Stellate Ganglion Blocks

It’s an exciting time in medicine: new treatment options are emerging in mental healthcare research. Ketamine infusion therapy and stellate ganglion blocks (SGB) are increasingly documented to be promising options for depression, PTSD, and anxiety.

While both treatments show potential, they’re administered differently and should be evaluated based on each patient’s individual needs. We’ll help you learn more about each to determine which may be right for your unique situation.

Please note: both ketamine infusion therapy and stellate ganglion blocks are best-suited for patients continuing with traditional therapeutic procedures, such as talk therapy, SSRI’s, and anything else your current healthcare team has recommended. 

Ketamine Infusion Therapy

Ketamine, originally used as an anesthetic, is increasingly used worldwide to treat depression and other mood disorders, by administering low doses, intravenously, under medical supervision. It works by blocking NMDA receptors in the brain, leading to a rapid increase in the levels of neurotransmitters like glutamate, which is thought to help reset/rewire neurons to decrease negative thought patterns and increase the brain’s ability to ‘wire’ or path toward new ones. The medication, while delivered very slowly, usually provides fast results, offering quick relief from the symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Ketamine infusions are typically administered in a series of sessions, with each session lasting about 40 minutes. During the infusion, patients are closely monitored to ensure their safety and comfort. We usually offer a warm blanket, eye covers, and playlists to choose from to help your experience feel safe and calm. 

Benefits our patients see with ketamine infusion:

  • Rapid relief from depressive symptoms, often within hours

  • Long-lasting results for treatment-resistant depression specifically 

  • Relief from the symptoms of PTSD and severe anxiety

Normal side effects:

  • Temporary dissociation, dizziness, and nausea

Doctor putting on gloves before ketamine infusion therapy
This photo is by Clay Banks.

Stellate Ganglion Blocks (SGB)

The “stellate ganglion” is a collection of nerves in the neck that can impact the function of the sympathetic nervous system. By injecting a local anesthetic into this area, SGB can disrupt abnormal nerve signals that contribute to PTSD and anxiety. At our practice, this procedure is done under ultrasound supervision, and our patients typically find the blocks “reset” their body's stress response, offering relief from symptoms.

The SGB procedure is relatively fast, typically taking less than 30 minutes. It involves an injection into the neck, performed by our licensed team of medical professionals. Patients may experience immediate relief, though follow-up treatments may be necessary.

Benefits our patients see with stellate ganglion blocks:

  • Quick procedure with immediate effects for many patients

  • Minimal downtime - patients can generally return to work the next day 

  • Effective for PTSD and anxiety, particularly for patients whose other treatments have failed

Side effects:

  • Temporary hoarseness, sometimes a drooping eyelid, and minor discomfort at the injection site

Why Choose Freedom Ketamine Treatment Centers?

We’ve been providing cutting-edge mental healthcare options to patients throughout the DMV since 2016. Our physician-founded and led practice offers care in six offices: Bethesda, Rockville, Columbia, Vienna, Reston, and Marshall. Founded by Dr. Aubrey Verdun, a double-board certified anesthesiologist and pain management physician, we’re dedicated to offering safe and effective treatments tailored to each patient's needs.

  • Free Consultations: We offer complimentary consultations with our Physicians to assess the appropriateness and safety of ketamine infusion therapy or SGB for each individual.

  • Compassionate Care: Our team is committed to guiding you through the treatment process with empathy and understanding.

  • Comprehensive Monitoring: Patients are monitored in-office throughout the infusion process to ensure safety and comfort.

At Freedom Ketamine Treatment Centers, we believe in the transformative potential of ketamine infusion therapy and stellate ganglion blocks, and we’re here to support you every step of the way. Schedule your consultation today and take the first step toward healing.

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