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Ketamine Therapy as an Alternative for SSRIs for Anxiety in Culver City

A medical practioner guiding a client suffering from anxiety through a ketamine assisted psychotherapy session.
A medical practioner guiding a client suffering from anxiety through a ketamine assisted psychotherapy session.

Anxiety, an increasing and deep-rooted mental health issue, has become a hidden epidemic post stay home orders in Culver City, California. Los Angeles and Culver City both promise the experience of bathing in beaches, sun, and socialization, while simultaneously people are silently suffering from the debilitating condition of anxiety. Despite the visualization of a perfect life, the percentage of individuals experiencing chronic stress and anxiety has been very alarming in and around Culver City. Many people living with anxiety often faces daily and on-going struggles that directly impact the ability to manage relationships with self and others, being able to take action and meet their work responsibilities and finding the will to use their voice without being crippled by the voice in their head.

Anxiety has gained enough attention where it has resulted in an increase of new facilities that offer various types of therapy and healing services. People are reaching out to psychiatrists for Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) as a refuge and because it is a traditional first option for treatment. Although SSRIs can have a positive effect on managing mental health symptoms, Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP) is gaining popularity as a SSRI alternative for anxiety in Culver City due to its quick and long-term impact on reducing mental health symptoms.

KAP has shown to be a safe and effective alternative, where traditional treatment approaches with SSRI antidepressants have fallen short. To better grasp an idea of the previously mentioned types of treatment, let me make it more specific what mental health clinics such as Shakti Therapy & Healing Services in Culver City are doing to address the skyrocketing rates of anxiety in the community. What are SSRIs and How Do They Work? Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are a group of medications that are usually used and prescribed for mental health diagnosis such as anxiety and depression. The role of SSRIs is purposely used in increasing the level of serotonin in the brain which is involved in regulating the mood in the synaptic space between neurons. How do SSRIs Work? SSRIs are typically prescribed in the form of oral pills or capsules to treat the symptoms of anxiety disorders such as

  • GAD or Generalized Anxiety Disorder

  • SAD or Social Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder

  • OCD or Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder

  • MDD or Major Depressive Disorder

Though SSRIs have been the go-to treatment intervention for anxiety for decades, SSRIs have limitations and side effects that are not as commonly and openly discussed. People who are not appropriate candidates for the prescription of SSRI may experience negative side effects from undergoing and taking the medication. Such side effects include, and are not limited to:

  • Side Effects. Headaches, sexual dysfunction, weight gain, and fatigue.

  • Lack of response. Sufficient effects can’t be provided by the medication.

  • Delayed Onset of Effect. It takes days or weeks for the symptoms to start to improve. This can lead to frustration and seriously contribute to the progression of anxiety symptoms.

  • Withdrawal Symptoms. Discontinuing SSRIs medication abruptly without proper medical instruction can lead to withdrawal symptoms. Irritability, dizziness and mood swings are few of the most common withdrawal symptoms. This could be very challenging for an individual wishing to stop taking SSRI.

  • Individual Variability. What works for one person may not be great for another. Each person's brain chemistry and body function are unique thus so is the response to any medication. This might lead to seeking an alternative treatment available to better suit its particular needs.

  • Contraindications and interactions. Individuals that have another medical condition that take medicine take medication alongside with SSRI might happen to have lesser suitability for a SSRI effectivity.

  • Preference and non-medication approaches. People may tend to focus on alternative treatment, interests in exploring psychological interventions, lifestyle changes and or other complementary treatment modalities.

  • Treatment durable response. It took place when the previous medication/antidepressants given such as SSRI was no longer adequate to cure - or in other terms, treatment-resistant.

These limitations and drawbacks of SSRIs highlight the need for alternative mental health treatments such as ketamine therapy that has gained attention for its quick and effective ability to address anxiety disorders and other mental health symptoms. It is becoming the go to SSRI alternative for anxiety symptoms in Culver City.

Ketamine Therapy: A promising alternative approach for Anxiety

Intramuscular Ketamine injection being drawn as an SSRI alternative for anxiety in Culver City
Intramuscular Ketamine injection being drawn as an SSRI alternative for anxiety in Culver City

How is Ketamine an SSRI alternative for anxiety?

Ketamine therapy is a type of long researched and implemented medication that involves the use of the anesthesia called "ketamine". It is commonly known as the substance used to inject a patient who undergoes a surgery to prevent patients from feeling pain during procedures. Its high safety profile has led to the use of ketamine in other areas such as certain screening and diagnostic tests, tissue sample removal (e.g., skin biopsies), and dental work. Psychologically, ketamine’s purpose is to treat treatment resistant mental health disorders such as anxiety. It does this by targeting the NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptor and causes a rapid increase in glutamate activity, which leads to the formation of new neural connections that we call “rewiring the brain.”

How is it unique from SSRIs? These are 6 key differences and features of Ketamine Therapy that’s clinically been proven when compared to SSRIs for anxiety disorders:

Chart showing the differences of SSRI and Ketamine for Anxiety Disorders
Chart showing the differences of SSRI and Ketamine for Anxiety Disorders

Process for undergoing Ketamine Therapy for Anxiety in Culver City The process of considering ketamine therapy as an SSRI alternative for anxiety at Shakti Therapy & Healing Services, involves an initial consultation with a licensed healthcare provider. During the consultation, the patient’s medical history, mental health symptoms and necessary information are explored to determine if ketamine therapy is appropriate for the patient to participate in. If a patient is cleared and seen as fit for KAP, the patient will then meet with a medical practitioner for a medical assessment while engaging in psychotherapy services to build rapport. During the rapport process, set, setting, and safety are created to allow the patient to open up and explore the root causes of their anxiety symptoms. Upon medical clearance, the patient will receive a series of intramuscular (IM) ketamine injection over a period of several weeks or months. The session will last anywhere from 120-180 minutes with a KAP trained psychotherapist and medical practitioner. Integration for anxiety incorporates the beauty of Culver City by going on meditative walks at the Veterans Memorial Community Regional Park where a patient can soak in the healing elements of nature and the joys from children playing together. This helps rejuvenate the senses and anchors a person from their ketamine treatment. Self-awareness and Management: A Therapy that Goes Beyond Pill Medications

Avoidance is preferable than management of anxiety since it requires little to no effort. The idea of taking medications for the rest of your life for treatment resistant anxiety can also feel exhausting. Now there is an alternative treatment for anxiety that is not SSRIs or long term. Be more aware of things that's actually happening in your life, learning how to acknowledge emotions and a mind setting that will actually help eradicate the threat of mental disorder.

Choose to live and strive to be grateful each day - there's no therapy that can equate such.

Ektha Aggarwal is an experienced licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) and Founder of Shakti Therapy and Healing Services.

Shakti Therapy is a holistic & psychotherapeutic mental health clinic that helps clients. We realize that we are an integral part of the vast and complex web of life - that the health of the whole is intimately connected with the health of the individual. Shakti Therapy combines both ancient Eastern & the most up to date scientific modalities, to create a basis of connection - mind to body, human to nature, individual to community, physical to spiritual, past to present to future.

To learn more about Shakti Therapy and Healing services, please visit


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