The article New Study Treats Teenagers With Ketamine Therapy, Shows Promising Results was originally published on Microdose.
From successful clinical trials using ketamine for alcohol-use disorder, to the countless patients benefiting from treatments at ketamine clinics and at-home delivery services — ketamine-assisted psychotherapy is gaining acceptance as an effective and accessible treatment for patients with a variety of mental health conditions.
A new study has now, for the first time, documented the use of ketamine therapy for teenagers.
Published in Frontiers in Psychiatry, the paper “Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy in adolescents with multiple psychiatric diagnoses” documents the treatment of 4 adolescents suffering from a variety of serious mental health conditions. The teens were given a range of ketamine treatments and the results were promising.
- Therapists from the Center for Transformational Psychotherapy and Ketamine Research Foundation published the first case studies of ketamine-assisted psychotherapy (KAP) in adolescents.
- Four adolescent patients (between 14 and 19 yrs old) received treatments, suffering from a range of conditions including: eating disorders, anxiety, treatment-resistant depression, bipolar disorder, and suicidal thoughts.
- The patients had already received conventional medication and psychotherapy, yet still struggled with their conditions.
- They each initially received sublingual ketamine, followed by sessions with intramuscular ketamine.
- Their courses varied, but each had symptomatic and functional improvements, and the treatment was well-tolerated.
- Family involvement in the treatment process appears to be essential to success.
The paper goes into extensive detail, describing the patient’s history, conditions, and treatments.
For example, “Bianca”, age 14, suffered from an extensive history of physical trauma, potential sexual molestation, PTSD. “Andy”, also 14, struggled with major depression, suicidal ideation, intentional self-harm, and anorexia nervosa.
In both these cases, ketamine-assisted therapy, along with additional talk therapy and family involvement, significantly reduced patient symptoms and well-being. The paper gives detailed follow-up of how these teens were able to better integrate into school and society, with positive reports from patients and parents.
Given her positive experience with the ketamine lozenges, with her enthusiastic agreement following discussion, we began a course of intramuscular sessions (50 mg) supported by at-home lozenge sessions two times a week with full parental supervision and presence…this rapidly provided a sense of her own agency and ability to handle the experience with an increasing sense of autonomy. She began attending the school of her choice and after initial nervousness about acceptance, she made friends and has thrived.
This is of course a very small sample size, and prescribing psychedelics to minors could be a contentious topic (although one could argue that it shouldn’t be considering how easily we medicate our children with traditional SSRIs and other meds). Still, the results were promising and track with positive outcomes for adults in a number of other situations and conditions.
Another data point and step forward in the slow march toward acceptance of psychedelic therapy options.
Read the full study here.