Tips for Loved Ones

Ketamine treatment can be emotionally and physically taxing for the patient, and they need supportive care from loved ones. Below are some tips for loved ones who are supporting someone during and after ketamine treatment.

Know the Plan

Ketamine patients will likely have a plan in place with their provider about the treatment itself. It is encouraged that loved ones be aware and respectful of the preparation plan, which might include how they will prepare themselves prior to and after treatment. Make sure to know the route to the clinic and the patient’s home prior to the treatment so that there is no confusion the day of treatment. Above all, being available and flexible to the patient’s needs will go a long way to ensure that the treatment is successful.

During the Session

If the loved one plans to sit with the patient during the ketamine treatment, cell phones should be in silent mode, and the loved one should avoid making loud noises or excessive movement around the room that might distract the patient. It is best for loved ones to stay quiet and not to initiate conversation with the patient directly as they might be confused or surprised by the interaction. Patients can have a wide range of responses to ketamine, including excitement, confusion, become chatty, or go quiet. Patients might even want someone to hold their hand during treatment, and if the loved one is comfortable, it is ok to provide that support. The patient might also express how they are feeling during treatment or ask questions about who they are, where they are, or if they are alive. These are normal responses to the dissociative experience, so whatever happens, it is important for loved ones to stay calm and supportive during the process. If the loved one has any questions or concerns, they are best addressed to the medical staff outside the room.

Conversations During and After Treatment

It is normal to be curious about ketamine treatment and want to know more about what the patient is experiencing. However, the patient might not be willing or ready to discuss their personal thoughts, so it is best for loved ones to be patient and supportive. Do not take it personally if the patient is quiet or emotional. Avoid asking the patient what the “experience” was like and avoid bringing up painful or difficult topics such as politics, family dynamics, money, employment, or trauma.

Post Treatment Activities and Decision Making

It is best to make a plan ahead of time and be flexible to the patient’s needs. Some patients want to go straight home and sleep after treatment, while others are fine or go out, eat, and socialize. Avoid asking patients to make big decisions for the rest of the day.