6 Things to Do Before Getting Ketamine Therapy

The rise in depression and anxiety has led to a number of treatment options. However, overuse of these treatments has resulted in resistance. In some cases, major depression does not respond to milder treatments, which is where options like ketamine therapy help. 

Ketamine therapy is gaining popularity for hard-to-treat depression, especially in cities like Chicago with high rates of treatment-resistant cases. With multiple clinics offering affordable Ketamine with satisfactory results, it is becoming a viable option.


But before pursuing this therapy, there are things to consider for a smooth, stress-free experience. In this article, we will look at seven key things you should know to approach ketamine treatment systematically and reduce anxiety.


  • Learn How Ketamine Therapy Works:

The first step is educating yourself on what exactly ketamine therapy is and why it’s so effective. Ketamine is an FDA-approved anesthetic drug that, in low doses, can quickly reduce symptoms of mood and anxiety disorders when given in a clinical setting. It works by growing and strengthening connections between neurons in the brain. This helps rebuild neural pathways that may have been damaged by depression or trauma.

Grasping the science behind Ketamine’s effects will help you know what to expect during your infusions. It’s normal to feel a bit “trippy” or disconnected from reality while under the influence of Ketamine. This dissociative state is temporary and allows the drug to work its magic on neural pathways.


When researching providers, look for those experienced in administering ketamine infusions safely and effectively. Major metropolitan areas like Chicago often have clinics specializing in ketamine therapy. Providers offering Ketamine assisted therapy in Chicago can provide the treatment in a controlled clinical environment with proper protocols in place. 


  • Find the Right Ketamine Clinic:

Discovering the most experienced, reputable ketamine therapy provider in your area is crucial for safe, effective treatment. Look for a clinic with board-certified psychiatrists, anesthesiologists, and therapists on staff who are specially trained in administering intravenous ketamine infusions. The ideal facility should have medical directors who are fellowship-trained in both psychiatry and pain management. This ensures they have extensive expertise in using Ketamine therapeutically for mental health disorders.

The clinic should also integrate psychotherapy into the treatment model by offering counseling sessions before, during, and after the infusions. This psychotherapy component helps patients process the psychological effects of Ketamine and maximize the long-term benefits.


Vetting ketamine therapy clinics takes time but is essential to ensuring you have a safe, effective treatment experience. Prioritizing clinics with legitimately trained staff, integrated psychotherapy, transparent costs, and an emphasis on your comfort will lead you to the right provider.


  • Learn What to Expect During Treatment:

Ketamine therapy typically involves a series of 4-6 infusions given over 2-3 weeks, along with psychotherapy sessions before and after. The infusions last 30-60 minutes, and patients report feeling peaceful, relaxed, and mentally “floaty” under the effects of Ketamine.


You’ll be closely monitored by a medical team during the infusions. Some clinics let you wear eye masks and listen to music to create a spa-like experience. Starting doses are low and gradually increased to find the optimal amount of Ketamine for each patient. Side effects like nausea or dizziness are rare and easily managed.


After infusions, the psychedelic effects wear off quickly, but the antidepressant and anxiolytic benefits persist. It’s normal to feel mentally refreshed with an elevated mood that can last days or weeks after each infusion. Some patients only need periodic “booster” infusions to maintain results.


  • Arrange Logistics and Transportation:

Since you’ll be under the influence of a psychedelic drug, you must arrange safe transportation to and from your ketamine therapy appointments. Most clinics don’t allow patients to drive themselves home after infusions. Ask a trusted friend or family member to accompany you, take public transportation, or use a rideshare service.


You’ll also need to free up your schedule for infusion and therapy appointments that may occur once or twice per week for a few weeks. If you work full-time, talk with your employer and align on taking time off during treatment. Having your schedule cleared will minimize stress and allow you to fully focus on recovery.


  • Optimize Your Lifestyle:

To amplify the benefits of ketamine therapy, opt to improve your overall physical, mental, and emotional health during the treatment process. Are there any lifestyle upgrades you’ve been wanting to make? Now is the ideal time.


For example, adopt a consistent sleep routine to improve insomnia. Cut back on alcohol, which worsens depression. Incorporate more movement each day with walking or yoga. Hydrate, nourish your body with whole foods, and take probiotics. Start journaling or try talk therapy to process emotions and trauma. Practicing mindfulness, meditation, or breathing exercises also helps.


Optimizing lifestyle factors that impact mental health will complement and prolong the benefits of ketamine therapy. Think of it as priming your mind and body to respond best to the ketamine treatments.


  • Manage Expectations and Be Patient:

While ketamine therapy can rapidly reduce symptoms in many people, it doesn’t work instantly or perfectly for everyone. Some only experience partial improvement, and it may take several weeks or months to feel the full effects. It’s important to keep expectations realistic and not get discouraged if you don’t feel miraculously better right away.


Be patient with the process and trust it’s working even if your progress happens gradually. Communicate openly with your treatment provider if you feel your results plateau. Dosages and frequency can often be adjusted to improve outcomes. Remember, there is no “one size fits all” approach, and finding what works for your unique biology takes some fine-tuning.

Stay hopeful through the ups and downs, lean on your support system, and don’t give up too soon. Consistency is key to getting maximum, lasting relief from ketamine therapy.



Preparing properly before beginning ketamine-assisted psychotherapy can set you up for the greatest levels of success. While it may seem like a lot to learn and arrange beforehand, taking these key steps will ensure you undergo safe, effective treatment. Ketamine therapy is a promising paradigm shift in healthcare, and being an informed, empowered patient will allow you to take full advantage of its benefits.