Ketamine for End-of-Life Care

Inspiring stories of healing and recovery from depression is strikingly common in the world of psychedelic medicine research and one that has broader implications across the lifespan.

For those who are experiencing fear in the face of new life-changing medical diagnoses or seeking recovery from depression, post-trauamtic stress disorder, other anxieties, workplace burnout and social isolation, Ketamine therapy can be a healing experience both emotionally and spiritually.  This included those in palliative care and at the end-stage of their life where fear is all too common of the unknown once our bodies fail us and we physically die.

Individuals who have access to psychedelic medications and their derivatives including Ketamine, as part of treatment for their terminal illness have found that they were not scared of death anymore. They frequently say that the treatment was one of the most meaningful experiences they have ever had. They talk about gaining a sense of peace with the universe and having a sense of universal oneness and serenity. Their anxiety typically decreases significantly.

Federal Drug Administration (FDA) trials for psychedelic medicines for end-of-life anxiety through the Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research are currently in phase III clinical trials to approve psilocybin, also known as magic mushrooms, for market as a prescription medication.  

Palliative and hospice care professionals, as well as all of the individuals who care for their loved ones, do an exceptional job caring for those in the various stages of dying. But often the depression, anxiety, and melancholy that come with having a terminal diagnosis go untreated. Ketamine infusions may be one good option for addressing this part of end-of-life care. In most cases, ketamine works instantly and helps to treat those often-overlooked symptoms in a way that few if any treatments beyond psychedelics can.

An appropriate treatment regime may involve a series of outpatient infusion therapies followed by maintenance treatments from time to time as needed by the patient.

The opportunity to provide some relief from depression, anxiety and fear may be a great gift for many facing death. And for those who are particularly struggling it may be especially welcome.

 

 

Author
Yung Park, M.D.

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