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Your Ketamine Therapy Experience: What To Expect

By Ashley Barnes, M.S.

Reviewed by: Mark Hrymoc, MD


Ketamine is a safe, widely used, and evidence-based medication. The ketamine that is used in medical settings is carefully created in labs and administered by licensed medical professionals. Your doctor will start you on a low dose the first ketamine treatment and work up from there depending on what works best for you. While you receive ketamine, nurses and doctors will carefully monitor your blood pressure and other vital signs.

Doctors also take extra precautions to ensure that your experience is safe, such as providing the following instructions: no food 4 hours before or drink 1 hour before a ketamine treatment (to prevent nausea which is one of the few side effects of ketamine), no driving the rest of the day (alike what an oral surgeon will tell you if you get your wisdom teeth out), and drug screening at the first visit (to make sure that you are not taking drugs that may interact with ketamine in any way).

Before your first appointment, you will have spoken with your doctor during your Ketamine Therapy Evaluation to determine the best route of administration: intravenously (IV), intramuscular injection (IM), or nasally (Spravato). Typically, we find that many patients choose an IV as their route of administration.

It is normal to be nervous before your first ketamine treatment, especially if it is your first time. Our skilled, compassionate ketamine team is there to support you and to create a comfortable, enjoyable experience as you embark on your healing journey.

During the Ketamine Experience

Our team at the Ketamine Therapy Center has created a safe, comfortable, and relaxing space for you to enjoy your experience. In the office, we have comfortable couches and recliners to sit or lay in during treatment, dimmed lights, soothing music, a complementary light-blocking sleep mask, and blankets and pillows for your comfort. We also encourage you to bring your own pillow or blanket if it makes the experience more grounding for you.

Depending on the treatment plan you created with your doctor, you may have a psychotherapist sitting with you for Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy, your doctor present, or the nurse present as a sitter. Regardless of who will be accompanying you on your journey, you will be given quality care!

Many patients report that they feel the following during the ketamine treatment:

  • Elevated senses. You may become more aware of visuals like colors and textures, what you hear, what you feel, etc. Many patients describe being able to experience music “on a deeper level” in that they are more aware of the instruments in the songs they listen to.

  • Feeling euphoric. Ketamine may prompt feelings of bliss or happiness. Especially for those who experience treatment-resistant depression, this is a welcome relief from the daily symptoms of sadness and emotional weight.

  • Dissociation or relaxation. Patients describe feeling “light,” like they are “floating.” Many also report that it feels like they are in a dream. This dissociation due to ketamine tends to be a neutral or pleasant experience.

  • Revisiting past memories or trauma in a safe way. Ketamine therapy can allow us to process the uncomfortable feelings or memories that we usually avoid. Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy can help you process your past in order to move towards a healthier, more positive future.


After all of the medication has been administered and you have finished your session, our treatment team will make sure that you remain comfortable during the last 30 minutes as you “touch down” from the experience. Our team will observe and wait with you to make sure that you are ready to go home safely.

Because ketamine can stay in your system several hours after the session, plan to avoid driving or any other activity that requires focus for the rest of the day. Though the time it takes for ketamine to wear off is different for everyone, you can expect to feel the sensations for a few hours after you leave our office.

Many people describe feeling more social and energized in the days after the ketamine session, though it’s also normal that emotions can be heightened during this time. Seek support from loved ones and if you are able to, schedule an integration session with your therapist.

Ketamine Therapy Center

Ketamine Therapy Center is a treatment branch from the Mental Health Center that specializes in ketamine infusion therapy. We plan to offer even more types of psychedelic treatments when it is permissible to do so, as we believe in evidence-based treatment approaches that have the power to transform one’s life.

Our doctors offer Ketamine Therapy Evaluations to thoroughly assess patients for ketamine therapy candidacy; from here, they collaborate with patients to develop treatment plans. Our office in the Cedars- Sinai Medical Office towers houses rooms specially designed for patient comfort. Our highly experienced and talented nurses are well-versed in ketamine infusion therapy and help patients feel comfortable as they move through the treatment process. Our therapists are trained in Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy and offer therapeutic guidance to enhance the psychological benefit of the treatment while simultaneously creating a grounded and safe space.

For more information, please do not hesitate to explore our website or contact our office!

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