Suffering from Burnout? - Ketamine May Get You Back in The Game!

By Ketamine Institute staff

The price many of us pay for hard work and achievement is very high and it sneaks up on you slowly. It may begin with just feeling tired all the time. It’s the sense of not having any energy, of being completely spent all the time. And the exhaustion can be emotional, mental or physical. Then you feel like what you’re doing doesn’t matter that much anymore, or you may be disillusioned with everything.

Frequently you, or others around you, might notice that you seem to be more generally pessimistic than you used to. While everybody experiences some negative emotions from time to time, yours seems to be there more often than not.

Family members are affected too. Your spouse and children notice that you’ve changed. You may be more distant, less involved, less attentive. You just don’t have the energy or enthusiasm you once had and relationships suffer.

Then your boss may casually remark that your work isn’t quite up to par and ask what’s going on? The stress mounts and it begins to interfere with your ability to pay attention or concentrate. You begin to find that you’re more forgetful and have a harder time concentrating and remembering things. It finally reaches the point where you just don’t care anymore and you don’t want to keep on doing this. You may want to quit your job or worse yet you may be in danger of being fired.

Now what do you do?….you begin to wonder if you can ever get your old life back again.

But now there may be a new way to get back into the game and enjoy life again. Ketamine, which was once typically thought of as an anesthesia medicine or even a club drug, is now generating a lot of interest among anesthesiologists, psychiatrists and other physicians as a new and rapidly effective approach to treating many hard-to-treat medical conditions like depression, anxiety, PTSD and even “burnout syndrome”.

What is “Burnout?”

The term “burnout” was first coined by Dr. Herbert Freundenberger in the 1970s and is recognized as an actual disease entity with a constellation of symptoms that can include many or all of those seen in other condition like depression, anxiety and PTSD. Burnout now even has its own classification in the latest medical handbook on the International Classification of Disease. Burnout occurs after prolonged exposure to chronic stress and leads to':

• physical and emotional exhaustion

• cynicism and detachment

• feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment

But more than that, burnout shares many of the same serious symptoms of depression, anxiety and PTSD combined. These can include feeling of anxiety, apathy and hopelessness, loss of energy, increased irritability, difficulty concentrating and sleep disturbance.

Ketamine – Treatment and Prevention

Researchers are now considering ketamine infusions as a treatment for burnout. What’s more they are even considering it as antidote to prevent severe burnout symptoms from developing in the first place. We know that in many clinical studies, people with severe depression, anxiety or PTSD can obtain significant relief of their symptoms in just minutes following a single ketamine infusion. It’s not approved by the FDA for that use, but some physicians are using ketamine with their own patients who severe burnout symptoms, says Gerald Grass, MD, Director of the Ketamine Institute.

“We see many executives who initially come to us with traditional diagnoses such as anxiety or depression but when we listen to what they are telling us, it becomes clear that they are suffering from burnout syndrome due to chronic job related stress”, says Dr. Grass. Many of my patients are in such distress that they cannot function optimally in their job or profession and are often in danger of quitting altogether or being fired, said Grass. And they are often not just having difficulties at work but at home as well, their families are suffering too, Grass says.

A Restore ketamine infusion, given at the right dose, can be a remarkably effective therapy in reversing these symptoms. Often after just one ketamine treatment they rapidly notice an improvement in their mood and anxiety levels. Many find that their ability to focus and concentrate improves and they become much more effective at work and at home. In fact, recent studies have suggested that ketamine infusion treatment may not only treat symptoms of burnout and PTSD but it may even prevent it from occurring in the first place, says Dr. Grass.

How Does Ketamine Work for Burnout?

People with these symptoms are often prescribed antidepressants or anxiety medications by their physicians. Often patients need to take them for weeks or a few months before they start to work and then only about 38% see any benefits after treatment. Those medicines need to build up in your system to have an effect. Ketamine is different. Its effects on depression, anxiety and PTSD happen within just a few hours as it leaves your body, Grass says.

Remarkably, ketamine works in just hours and the effectiveness is over 75% - twice as good as traditional medications or treatments. Researchers aren’t sure exactly how ketamine eases these symptoms. One theory is that it “reboots” the nervous system by prompting the regrowth and expansion of connections between brain cells that are involved in mood.

Grass calls the effect “absolutely amazing” and says it works “far more rapidly and effectively” than standard antidepressants. He is not the only one who says this. “Recent data suggest that ketamine, given intravenously, might be the most important breakthrough in antidepressant treatment in decades,” says Thomas Insel, MD, director of the National Institute of Mental Health.

One day, doctors may use ketamine routinely not only to help severely depressed people and those with burnout syndrome, but many who suffer from related conditions such as alcohol and substance abuse issues.

“While the science is very promising, ketamine is not to be considered lightly and must be carefully monitored when used. But with the excitement generated by early results, we will have more information soon,” Grass says.