Exploring the Wonders of Ketamine: A Revolutionary Approach to Mental Health
In recent years, ketamine has emerged as a groundbreaking therapy in the realm of mental health treatment, offering hope to those who have struggled with conditions that may not respond to conventional treatments. In this blog post, we will delve into the world of ketamine, examining what it is, how it works, its clinical applications, the conditions it treats, the subjective experience, and a comparative analysis with Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs).
What is Ketamine?
Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic that has long been used in medical settings for sedation and pain management. Originally developed in the 1960s, it gained popularity as a recreational drug due to its hallucinogenic properties. However, in recent years, ketamine has found a new purpose in mental health treatment.
How Does Ketamine Work?
Ketamine’s mechanism of action is complex and not entirely understood, but it primarily involves antagonizing the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor in the brain. By modulating glutamate, a neurotransmitter associated with learning and memory, ketamine is believed to induce neuroplastic changes that can alleviate symptoms of certain mental health disorders.
Ketamine is now administered in clinical settings, often in low doses, to treat various mental health conditions, including:
- Treatment-Resistant Depression (TRD): Ketamine has shown remarkable efficacy in individuals who have not responded to traditional antidepressants. Its fast-acting nature is particularly beneficial in crisis situations.
- Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Some studies suggest that ketamine may help reduce the symptoms of PTSD, providing relief for those who have experienced trauma.
- Chronic Pain: Ketamine’s analgesic properties make it a valuable tool in managing chronic pain conditions.
The Ketamine Experience:
Ketamine induces a unique psychological state often described as a “psychedelic” or “out-of-body” experience. Users may feel detached from their surroundings, experience visual distortions, and perceive a heightened sense of introspection. It’s crucial to note that these effects are dose-dependent, and therapeutic doses are significantly lower than those used recreationally.
Ketamine vs. SSRIs:
1. Speed of Action:
- Ketamine: Rapid onset, often providing relief within hours.
- SSRIs: Gradual onset, may take weeks to months to show full therapeutic effects.
- Ketamine: Demonstrates effectiveness in treatment-resistant cases.
- SSRIs: Effective for many individuals but may not work for everyone, especially in severe cases.
3. Duration of Effects:
- Ketamine: Effects may last days to weeks, necessitating periodic treatments.
- SSRIs: Continuous daily use is required for sustained effects.
4. Side Effects:
- Ketamine: Generally well-tolerated, but the potential for dissociation and transient increases in blood pressure.
- SSRIs: Common side effects include nausea, insomnia, and sexual dysfunction.
- Ketamine: Typically administered intravenously or through intramuscular injections in a clinical setting.
- SSRIs: Taken orally as a daily medication.
Ketamine represents a paradigm shift in mental health treatment, offering hope for those who have exhausted traditional options. While its use is still evolving, the promising results in treating conditions like TRD and PTSD underscore its potential to transform the landscape of psychiatric care. However, as with any medical intervention, it’s crucial for individuals to consult with healthcare professionals to determine the most suitable approach for their specific needs.
Watch the full episode: https://youtu.be/tNoHtaZiDVo
- Why did you become a Sex therapist? What did you find so fascinating about it that you wanted to pursue it?
- Looking at an article from Gitnux: 32% of people that watch porn believe their porn habits are problematic or addictive, 56% of divorce cases involve one party having an obsessive interest in porn.
- Have you seen a lot of cases of porn addiction? Why does it happen?
- Typically those who compulsively or habitually watch porn it is due to a feeling of loneliness, isolation, a feeling that they cannot be themselves around others, or that relationships with others drain them. They go to porn then to feel a part of something fun and pleasurable where they can just let their inhibitions go.
- So are they divorcing because of the porn watching, probably not. They are already feeling lonely and isolating themselves or looking for a nonjudgemental place to be themselves. That’s a couples issues.
- Who struggles more with sex men or women? Why?
- They both have their own struggles. The most common struggles for men are erectile dysfunction, using porn more than they’d like, and wanting more or less sex than their partner.
- Women most commonly struggle with the impacts of sexual trauma, lack of pleasure in sex, painful sex, and mismatched desire for sex.
- My theory is that men are more focused on performance.
- What are the typical struggles or thoughts that men go through vs. women?
- Men = Performance due to expectations of what it is to be masculine, you’re not a man if you can’t get hard/want sex all the time/want to be more submissive in the bedroom, and able to become desirous for sex quickly or spontaneously
- All men want is sex/ pressure to keep their men satisfied, only able to desire sex if the stars are aligned or it’s been a good day or after steps, responsive
- Does bad sex lead to a bad relationship?
- Sex is a big part of any serious relationship and I’ve found that a lot of relationships and marriages fall off if there is a lack of sex. Phases/Seasons
- Why do some couples have sex but then find it hard to talk about sex with each other? The world finds it hard to talk about sex, and that’s why. It is not normalized. No practice. Even in medical and therapeutic settings, it has been documented that unless a doctor specifically asks about sex, patients will not bring it up first. Also fear of judgment from partner
- How can women and men increase their libido or sexual drive?
- Men are focused on having peak testosterone levels and lots of times take supplements to promote it or even go on TRT.
- Always good to check in with your doctor about hormone levels for both men and women if they’re experiencing a lack of desire, erectile issues, vaginal dryness, pain with sex.
- Is there anything you recommend for men and women to increase their sex drive? Supplements, sleep, exercise?
- The basics of taking care of yourself, sleep, eating right, exercise, and if that is as good as it’s going to get then prioritizing and finding what it is you’re really looking for (touch, attention, etc.)
- Can working the night shift affect it?
- Absolutely, if partners are two ships passing in the night then their mindset will be in opposite places. Other than that, working the night shift people often lack sleep, sun, socialization with friends and all of these things can affect how sexy we feel. When we lack sleep our hormones don’t always have time to restore to their proper levels and so it can result in a lack of desire and erectile issues, less lubricating.
- How does sex and the perception of sex affect people who have been sexually assaulted?
- It looks different for everyone but some common themes are: Have a lot of sex so that they can feel like they are in control of their sex life and their body but what’s going on here is that they have the sex bc of underlying beliefs of lets beat them to the punch. OR they avoid sex, only have sex out of obligation or duty, or dissociate during sex. Or some people are just fine having sex within the context of a safe rx afterwards but they may have triggers pop up from time to time.
- What does the healing process look like?
- Finding the person’s beliefs about the event, their fault, why it happened, how it has impacted their views of self, others, and the world (can’t trust anybody or questioning higher power) and working through each of those beliefs that are not helping them.
- Sex is such a big part of life, how does it affect relationships when someone is unable to have sex or is uncomfortable with it
- Partners begin to feel unloved, unattractive, unfulfilled
- Have you seen an increase in Non-Monogamy?
- Can you explain a non-monogamous relationship?
- Yes, there has been an increase in various types of non-monogamy
- Swingers: swap sexual partners
- Open: sexual contact
- Polygamy: marriage with multiple
- Pulyamour: romantic relationships with others
- Throuple/Triad: a monogamous relationship with more than 2
Watch the full episode: https://youtu.be/fmSnxfpaAv0
Understanding the Complex Realities of Human Trafficking
The crime of human trafficking is a stark reminder that even in our modern world, where progress and connectivity thrive, a dark underbelly of exploitation and abuse continues to persist. In this comprehensive blog post, we delve into the intricate mechanisms of human trafficking, the staggering number of people affected, and the factors that perpetuate this heinous crime.
The Mechanics of Human Trafficking
Human trafficking is a complex web of criminal activities designed to exploit vulnerable individuals. It involves several key stages:
- Recruitment: Traffickers identify and exploit vulnerabilities, often targeting individuals in poverty, conflict zones, or those seeking a better life.
- Transportation: Victims are transported across borders or within a country using various methods, such as hidden compartments, falsified documents, or coercion.
- Exploitation: Once captive, victims are subjected to various forms of exploitation, including forced labor, sexual exploitation, child soldiering, and organ trafficking.
- Control and Abuse: Traffickers exert control through physical violence, threats, manipulation, and isolation, making escape seem impossible.
The Global Impact
The scale of human trafficking is staggering, with millions of lives affected each year:
- Scope and Scale: The International Labor Organization estimates that over 40 million people are victims of human trafficking globally, generating illicit profits of around $150 billion annually.
- Sex Trafficking: Around 4.8 million individuals are trapped in forced sexual exploitation, often driven by the demand for commercial sex.
- Labor Trafficking: Approximately 16 million people are trapped in forced labor, working in sectors such as agriculture, construction, and domestic work.
- Children at Risk: Alarmingly, children account for nearly one-third of all trafficking victims, with many subjected to the worst forms of exploitation.
Factors Fueling Human Trafficking
- Poverty and Lack of Opportunity: Economic disparities and limited access to education and jobs make individuals susceptible to traffickers’ false promises.
- Conflict and Instability: Ongoing conflicts and instability in certain regions create environments conducive to trafficking, especially among displaced populations.
- Gender Inequality: Women and girls are disproportionately affected due to gender-based discrimination, making them targets for sexual exploitation and forced labor.
- Weak Legal Frameworks: Inadequate legal systems and corruption can enable traffickers to operate with impunity.
Breaking the Chains: How to Make a Difference
- Raise Awareness: Educate yourself and others about the realities of human trafficking. Share accurate information on social media and within your community.
- Support Anti-Trafficking Organizations: Contribute to NGOs working to prevent trafficking, rescue victims, and provide support.
- Advocate for Change: Pressure governments to strengthen anti-trafficking laws, improve law enforcement efforts, and provide support for victims.
- Empower Vulnerable Communities: Support programs that empower vulnerable individuals through education, vocational training, and access to healthcare.
Human trafficking is an affront to our shared humanity, exploiting the most vulnerable among us for profit. By understanding its mechanisms, acknowledging its scope, and taking concerted actions to combat it, we can work towards a world where every individual’s dignity and freedom are upheld.
To watch the interview with Amanda Blackwood, click the watch the full episode link.
Watch the full episode:
Amanda’s website: www.GrowthFromDarkness.com
Benefits of Sauna and Cold Showers
There has been a phenomenal amount of research that came out over the last few years on the benefits of saunas and cold showers. Most of the benefits come from the physiological changes and adaptations that occur but there are more than physiological positives. There are many hidden mental benefits that most people don’t take into consideration. Besides physically feeling better there are many psychological benefits to the sauna and cold showers.
Hidden Benefits of the Sauna
Most people know about the basic benefits of the sauna such as the ones that come from sweating. Sweating opens up your pours and rids the body of certain toxins. Did you know that beyond sweating the sauna extends your workout, increases stress tolerance, and makes you more open-minded?
Extends your workout
- Sauna keeps your workout going by continuing that vasodilation. Our body dilates with heat and constricts with cold, by going to the sauna you’re prolonging the increase of blood going into your muscles and tissues.
- If you had a cardio day, the sauna maintains a higher heart rate and you can get a little bit more squeeze out of your workout. If you’re someone that’s 5ft 8in 165lbs you can lose around 100 calories just by sitting in the sauna for 20/30 min more if you hop in right after a workout. Doesnt sound like a lot but it’s more than you’ll lose if you just go home.
Increases stress tolerance
- This is the ability to take on pressure without feeling negative or letting it consume you.
- The sauna builds stress tolerance because you are putting yourself in an uncomfortable place. It’s hot, you’re sweating, and you want to get out of there. By forcing yourself to be there all while your brain and mind are telling you that you can just simply step out and be more comfortable.
- You forcing yourself to stay in the uncomfortable translates to life outside of the sauna. It makes doing the uncomfortable things a little easier because you are subconsciously showing that you can get through tough challenges by focusing on what you want to do and not so much on your body.
Makes you more open-minded
- I’ve had some of the best conversations in the sauna. There’s something about suffering and suffering in a group makes people more open. I noticed that some of the most intellectual or groundbreaking conversations I’ve had were in the sauna. Everyone is miserable and that allows some people to put their guard down.
- By having a conversation with people of all races, backgrounds, and ages it gives you a broader perspective of the world. People have been through different circumstances and offer a lot of knowledge on how they got out or how they felt. Some people have been in the exact same situation as you but in turn, did all the right things and some did the exact opposite.
I’ve been doing cold showers on and off for the last 5 years. I used to do ice baths regularly when I lived in San Diego and had access to them, but overall I have been doing cold showers for a long time and can speak to its effects.
The research behind cold showers
Do cold showers really do anything? At the surface taking a cold shower might seem like it would have some benefits because you are going from warm temperatures to cold temperatures but remember that the average shower doesn’t take a long time. So the question is do cold showers have any benefit when taken for the average time and at what temperature?
We know the colder the better and the longer the better.
Most research studies use temperatures between 20-25 degrees Celsius which is about 65-75 degrees Fahrenheit. Illinois shower water. Overall studies show that ice baths are superior to a cold showers but that doesn’t mean cold showers don’t have any benefits.
Basic Physiologic Affects
When the body comes into contact with cold water, the initial cold sensation stimulates the skin’s surface vessels, causing them to narrow and redirect blood flow to preserve heat.
- The brain and vital organs receive a fresh supply of oxygen and nutrients from the blood.
- Unlike warm receptors, cold receptors are abundant on the skin surface, ranging from 3 to 30 times more numerous. This abundance explains why the body feels invigorated by the sudden contact with cold water, as it promotes vasoconstriction and applies pressure to these receptors, resulting in heightened brain activity.
Cold exposure offers numerous benefits for human health, encompassing both physical and psychological aspects. Regarding physical well-being, cold exposure can potentially aid in body
- Cold temperatures stimulate increased energy expenditure and metabolism. Additionally, exposure to cold prompts the activation of brown adipose tissue (brown fat), which utilizes stored body fat as fuel. Consequently, cold exposure holds promise as a means to facilitate body fat loss.
- Nonetheless, further research is necessary to establish conclusive evidence. Realistically you won’t lose fat from cold showers this was seen to be more effective with ice baths and really cold temperatures. A shower won’t stress your body enough for you to start using your fat as fuel.
Improved cardiovascular health.
- Initially, cold exposure raises heart rate and blood pressure, leading to enhanced circulation. Blood is redirected from the skin towards vital organs, necessitating increased effort from the heart to pump blood effectively to these organs.
- Regular brief cold exposure over time can enhance heart efficiency and improve blood flow. Enhanced circulation yields various health benefits, including a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, improved cognitive function, and enhanced metabolism.
- Contrary to common misconceptions (e.g., the belief that exposure to cold weather causes illness). Brief cold exposure actually increases the number of white blood cells and natural killer cells in the body, effectively bolstering the immune system.
- However, it is crucial to note that brief cold exposure is beneficial, whereas prolonged cold showers or extended periods in cold weather may not yield the same effects and could even be detrimental.
Alleviate pain and reduce inflammation:
- The reduced blood flow during cold exposure helps minimize swelling and other inflammation-related factors.
- Additionally, the release of endorphins during cold exposure activates opiate receptors in the brain, diminishing sensations of pain. This aligns with the common practice of using ice packs or cold therapies to alleviate inflammation, injuries, or pain in specific body areas. Similarly, cold showers can reduce systemic inflammation, soreness, and overall pain, making them an efficient and potent pain-relieving strategy.
Cold shower as an analgesic
One interesting theory about cold showers and cold therapy, in general, is its potential to act as an analgesic. There is a basis for how cold showers and cold therapy can improve mental function. There are 2 interesting theories, cold showers and therapy as a battle against depression and psychosis.
- Cold showers and psychosis
- With respect to cold stress, an adapted cold shower could work as a mild form of electroshock applied bilaterally to the sensory cortex, and cold showers appear to have an anti-depressive rather than a sedative effect. Since electroshock therapy is known to have beneficial effects on psychotic symptoms of patients with schizophrenia, it is possible that adapted cold showers might have a similar antipsychotic effect. In addition, cold hydrotherapy is known to cause analgesia, suggesting that it may act through the mechanism of stress-induced analgesia involving the mesolimbic pathway and thus could have the effect of “crowding out” psychosis in that region of the brain similar.
- This idea is referred to as hormesis, our body’s response to a low amount of stress or toxin which causes a beneficial response. Over time the threshold increases and the effect of the toxic or stressor is decreased.
- Cold showers and depression
- Exposure to cold temperatures leads to greater blood flow toward the brain, resulting in the simultaneous increase of endorphin production. These endorphins activate opiate receptors, which can contribute to an improved mood.
- Additionally, cold exposure enhances the transmission of electrical impulses in the brain and potentially raises dopamine levels. The combined effect of increased blood flow, endorphins, dopamine, and enhanced electrical activity can have potent anti-depressive effects. Notably, the boosted electrical activity resembles the mechanism employed in electroconvulsive therapy for depression, but without the associated potential side effects.
- Therefore, incorporating cold showers into one’s routine can serve as a simple approach to alleviate depression or low moods, while acknowledging that depression encompasses more severe symptoms beyond a mere transient low or bad mood.
Watch the full episode: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8eOkLijbl4
The Failure of Modern Medicine: A Critical Look at Childbirth Standards
We would like to introduce you to Nathan Riley. Nathan is a board-certified OB-GYN and fellow of ACOG who left the medical industrial complex due to his disillusionment with the “standard of care” within the conventional maternity care model. He advocates for home birth and still attends births for those in need. He boasts a c-section rate of <5%, which is one of the best in the U.S. His mission is to uphold midwifery as the art that it is and to honor birth as a sacred process and the transition to parenthood as a spiritual transformation.
Questions and Topics
- Can you give us a little background about yourself? Why did you choose the OB-GYN route? Is it something you were always interested in?
- What do you do as an OB-GYN? What does your day-to-day look like? Do you do home visits?
- What are some of your responsibilities?
- What pushed you away from the typical OB-GYN career path?
- What was it missing? When did you realize the flaw in patient birthing or the typical hospital birthing process?
- How is it being a male working as an OB-GYN?
- Did people or your colleagues look at you differently because you were a male going into this field?
- How does your practice differ, and how have you achieved such a low C-section rate? (Average rate was about 30% in 2021)
- Can you walk us through the whole birthing process, the actions you and the future mother take, and some of the emotions that come with it?
- What do you think physicians in your field need to understand? Where is the lack of education, or even where does medical school fail its students?
- What is man’s role in childbirth, and how do you balance the masculine and feminine roles?
Infertility is starting to become a problem; where do you think it stems from? Is it because people choose to get pregnant later in life, or is diet and lifestyle an issue? Is it multifactorial?
- What is some advice you can give to future mothers and fathers
- Can you share with us some history of medicine and what is Rockefeller’s medicine?
Watch full episode: https://youtu.be/CRFlWxZt5BE
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