Wild times, we’re living in.
It doesn’t seem like all that long ago when ordering random stuff on Amazon became such a norm. The COVID lockdowns really taught us how well equipped we are to stay at home. And where we weren’t so prepared, innovative companies stepped in to fill the need in areas like virtual therapy and psychiatry. But perhaps the most exciting area to watch grow, in my opinion, has been psychedelic-assisted therapy.
Now the truth is that the global shift toward telemedicine wasn’t the primary catalyst for enabling online psychedelic therapy to become so accessible. With hundreds of millions (billions?) being poured into medical research, it’s actually been a long time comin’ – although we’ve still got a long way to go in integrating psychedelic medicine into therapeutics.
Within the overall scope of psychedelic-assisted therapy, ketamine therapy has been (for lack of a better term) the first to market. And it’s proving to be more effective than traditional therapy for helping patients deal with severe anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other mental disorders.
And of the handful of companies enabling people to undergo ketamine therapy from home, there’s none more well-known than Mindbloom.
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Mindbloom vs Nue.life vs My Ketamine Home: The best online ketamine therapy providers at a glance
Before we dive into the science and studies behind ketamine therapy, let’s take a quick look at how Mindbloom stacks up against other online providers.
What is ketamine therapy?
Ketamine therapy is a form of psychedelic therapy that uses natural psychedelic substances to treat depression, anxiety, PTSD, substance abuse, and bipolar disorder. There is some debate as to whether ketamine is a legitimate psychedelic medication, but the legal definition of “psychedelic” hasn’t really been settled.
So what really is ketamine, and zooming out even more, what is psychedelic therapy?
For decades, ketamine has been used medically as an anesthetic during surgery. It’s known to have dissociative effects that alter chemicals in the brain, which can lead to:
- Visual distortions
- Auditory distortions
- Detachment from reality
The Alcohol and Drug Foundation defines psychedelics as substances that impact all five senses and have the power to alter a user’s perceptions, moods, and cognitive processes. Ketamine does impact the senses and can cause hallucinations, much like other drugs categorized as psychedelics.
So, let’s tie it all together.
Ketamine therapy is a form of psychedelic therapy that uses the drug ketamine to alter chemicals in the brain for the treatment of mood, trauma, anxiety, and substance use disorders.
If any of this scares you, it shouldn't.
In fact, ketamine is often administered to terminally ill patients as a means of helping them come to “end of life resolution”.
For better or worse, we’re all generally conditioned to think that psychedelic drugs, like ketamine, LSD, and mushrooms are drugs that should be avoided. But the reality is that each shows legitimate medicinal use when administered by medical professionals.
What I found was a growing body of evidence that shows ketamine has the power to make real changes in the brain that can combat anxiety, depression, and many mood disorders.
Also, ketamine has been used for decades as an anesthetic and analgesic. It’s been FDA-approved since the 1970s and has been increasingly used to treat mental health indications for the past twenty years.
Why am I hearing about ketamine therapy so often nowadays?
Ketamine therapy isn’t just another fad. Researchers around the world are looking into its benefits, and the results are surprisingly positive. If you’re seeing it all over the news and social media, it’s because the research supporting the use of psychedelic medicines that produce a psychoactive effect to improve mental health is sensational.
We live in exciting times! Stereotypes and misconceptions that have been revered as the truth for so many years are starting to crumble.
Real quickly, let’s look at some of the more noteworthy highlights from the growing body of scientific evidence supporting ketamine therapy:
- Ketamine psychedelic therapy proved effective when added to the treatment plan for people overcoming alcoholism. More than 65% of study participants undergoing ketamine therapy in addition to standard alcoholism treatment maintained more than one year of abstinence. Compare that to just 24% of participants who did not receive ketamine therapy.
- A small study that included 13 patients diagnosed with treatment-resistant bipolar depression showed that ketamine infusions are effective when used as anti-suicidal therapies. While researchers noted that more research is needed to prove the benefits of ketamine therapy for bipolar patients, they also showed a significant decrease in suicidal tendencies after seven ketamine infusions.
- Studies have shown that repeated ketamine treatments can relieve symptoms of depression for up to three weeks.
- Ketamine is now considered an alternative treatment for depression in patients that have not responded well to traditional antidepressants. One study that has been successfully replicated found that one ketamine infusion produces rapid and profound relief from depression, starting within hours of the infusion. The anti-depressant benefits lasted up to two weeks without additional ketamine infusions.
- In the largest ever study of at-home ketamine therapy, 89% of participants reported improvements in symptoms of anxiety or depression, 63% of participants reported a reduction of 50% or more, and nearly 80% of participants reported suicidal ideation at baseline no longer reported any suicidal ideation after 4 sessions, and less than 5% of participants reported any side affects
Additional research is still needed to understand the impact of ketamine on the brain fully. What we do know already is that ketamine therapy is effective for many people who haven’t had satisfying results from traditional therapy or other mental health treatments.
It’s a great alternative for those who aren’t getting results from traditional therapy, but it also works well when added to a treatment plan with other interventions.
Is ketamine infusion therapy more effective than other methods of taking ketamine?
Okay, so there are three common ways ketamine is administered by healthcare professionals:
- Intravenous (IV)
- Intramuscular (IM)
- Sublingual troches or tablets (oral)
Most ketamine research studies utilize IV because the drug takes effect quickly and bioavailability for absorption is enhanced.
BUT, the problem with injection or infusion is that patients need to receive repeated applications about every two weeks to maintain results. The best results have come from low doses of 0.5 mg/kg infused intravenously at least every two weeks. Some patients may require even more frequent doses, which means visiting a doctor’s office or hospital every week or two.
That has led some clinicians to start prescribing sublingual ketamine, AKA under the tongue. Troches or tablets are the most common form of sublingual administration, because they’re effective, easy, and don’t require any special equipment. Just place ‘em under your tongue and hold them in your mouth for a short period before swallowing or spitting (depending on dose and clinician instructions).
At least one study has shown that at-home sublingual ketamine administration is effective for relieving symptoms of depression and anxiety with minimal side effects.
So how do you choose?
IV administration is best for people who:
- prefer to do ketamine therapy with in-person medical oversight,
- are willing to pay for the added cost of in-clinic administration.
At-home ketamine therapy with sublingual troches is best for people who:
- prefer to do therapy at home with virtual clinical support,
- want to pay less for their treatment (Mindbloom costs up to 70% less than IV ketamine clinics, and ~10% less than other online ketamine therapy providers)
How do I know if I'm a good candidate for ketamine-assisted therapy?
If you relate to one or more of these statements, you’re potentially an ideal candidate for ketamine therapy:
- You’ve tried traditional therapy but haven’t received satisfying results.
- You don’t want to try traditional therapy for personal reasons but would still like to explore other options to treat depression, anxiety, or a mood disorder.
- You’re struggling to get the mental health help you need and want to explore new options.
- You’re getting results from traditional therapy but would like to add ketamine therapy to your treatment plan to enhance results.
- You have taken or are currently taking prescription medication for anxiety, depression, or a mood disorder, but you don’t like the side effects. You’re open to trying something that may offer similar results
- Mental health treatment isn’t readily available in your local area. You want to explore effective online therapy options.
Mindbloom treats primary indications of anxiety and depression but may be able to offer relief for co-occurring indications like PTSD and OCD. The only way to know for sure that you’re a good fit for the service is to sign up and speak with a clinician.
How does Mindbloom work?
What happens when you show up for an initial appointment with a new talk therapist? You arrive at the appointed time, answer a series of questions about why you’re there and what you hope to achieve, and the session is over before you really get into the actual treatment.
Mindbloom is quite different. The process allows you to provide information about your current mental health and intended results before you even schedule an appointment with a clinician.
There are three steps in the process:
1. Complete the candidate assessment online.
The assessment asks basic questions to identify what issues you would like help with, what you already know about Mindbloom services, and your treatment preferences.
Some questions are oriented to preferences that help match you to a professional guide, including gender preference and guide style (i.e. more spiritual, more clinical, a little of both).
The assessment takes about 5 minutes to complete. When I got to the end and Mindbloom told me I might be a fit, I felt a bit emotional (in a good way).
2. Create your free Mindbloom account and schedule an appointment for your initial video consult.
If the assessment indicates that you may benefit from Mindbloom, it will ask you to provide basic contact information to create your free account. You can then learn more about the program and connect with a professional Clinician through video. The clinical consultation will determine final clinical eligibility and give you time to get your treatment questions answered by a licensed psychiatric clinician.
After this consultation, you will select your Guide. You can filter through guides by gender, facilitation style, availability, and location, ensuring a good fit moving forward. It can take a bit of time to get to your first therapy session because Mindbloom mails your Bloombox and medication to your home.
3. Set your intentions.
Before you start meeting with a professional guide, you will have the opportunity to set intentions for your treatment program. While this may seem difficult before you even begin treatment, think of it as expressing what you hope to gain from ketamine therapy.
The best thing you can do is relax. There are no right or wrong answers for intentions. You’re simply asking yourself what you hope to gain from going through this experience. If your intentions change as you receive treatment, it’s okay!
What’s it like being a Mindbloom client?
Once you sign up for Mindbloom, you will receive everything you need to start therapy in the mail. That includes your prescribed ketamine medication and your Bloombox. The box includes valuable tools and guidance that will help you prepare for your first experience and follow through with effective habits between sessions.
Your treatment will start with a virtual visit with a professional Clinician. They will make sure that you understand how the treatment works and answer all of your questions. You will go over your intentions and secure tips on making the most of your future sessions.
Each treatment session requires you to take a sublingual ketamine troche and then move through one hour of guided meditation. Music will help you relax and connect with yourself on a deeper level, opening the door to fresh discoveries and insights. Immediately after the session, you write in the journal provided to dive deeper and discover even more life-changing insights.
Are ketamine therapy and Mindbloom legal?
Ketamine therapy is legal in the United States when prescribed or administered by a licensed clinician. Mindbloom has the authority to prescribe ketamine and have it shipped directly to your home because it will be used during medical treatment with a licensed clinician who understands how the drug works and what it can effectively treat. And remember, signing up doesn’t necessarily mean that Mindbloom’s prescribers will deem you a good fit for ketamine therapy.
Your clinician will prescribe your first dose and then follow up with you after your first session to make dosing adjustments as necessary.
Does Mindbloom have any promo / coupon codes?
At the time of this writing, Mindbloom doesn’t have any promo codes.
Which states does Mindbloom support?
Mindbloom is available in the following states:
- District of Columbia
- New Jersey
- New York
- North Carolina
- South Carolina
Mindbloom Reviews: What are Mindbloom patients online saying?
Mindbloom patients are sharing their experiences in great detail through Reddit and other social channels online. Those who stick with the treatments for more than a few sessions report amazing experiences where their senses merge together and provide heightened awareness of who they are, why they’re here, and what makes them unique individuals.
Many patients consider Mindbloom a “game changer” as they notice positive changes in their internal dialogue. The further they get in the treatment, the more positive and productive their thoughts become. That has a long-lasting impact on their mental health, which improves all aspects of their lives.
Clients also benefit greatly from having a dedicated guide to see them through the process. Many note that their ketamine treatments become more “spaced out” as they progress further into their overall Mindbloom journey. (Some feel great enough after just six treatments that they never feel the need for more!) That means fewer treatments and less expense for ongoing mental health support and relief from troubling symptoms.
tl;dr – Is Mindbloom worth the cost for ketamine therapy?
Here’s the bottom line: Mindbloom is one of (if not the) best online ketamine therapy providers out there.
Not only is Mindbloom more affordable than its biggest competitors, like Nue.Life and My Ketamine Home, but they operate in more states and don’t seem to cut corners when it comes to client care.
If you’re looking for at-home relief from symptoms of depression or anxiety, it’s worth giving ketamine therapy a try. Mindbloom stands apart from competitors and with a commitment as long as $1,158 for six sessions of ketamine therapy and ongoing care, it’s sort of a no-brainer.