How ketamine therapy helped this Canadian veteran

Source: Sam Riches, The Province

Canadian Forces veteran Scott Atkinson says he was a different person a year ago.

After a 25 year military career, including two tours of Afghanistan, the former master corporal struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, anxiety and chronic pain. He was quick to anger and could be set off unexpectedly. Self-medicating with alcohol and opioids made things worse, but, for a while, that’s what he did to cope.

After finding some relief in medical cannabis, he became interested in psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy. Then he went through six sessions of ketamine therapy at Field Trip’s Toronto clinic.

“It’s changed my life,” he says. “It’s given me a way to go now. I’m not as angry all the time. The anxiety isn’t there all the time. It’s better with my family and with my kids. A year ago I was a completely different person.”

It’s harder now, Atkinson says, for the rage to break through and upend his days.

“Ketamine slowed me down in so many ways and that’s what’s helped me,” he says. “Before I would get mad at something small, where I shouldn’t be mad at all. Now I stop and think and say ‘Do I really need to put that energy into being mad at something like this?’ And it’s saved a lot of problems for me and my family.”

Ketamine can induce a “transpersonal dissociative experience,” where the sense of self extends beyond the individual to “encompass wider aspects of humankind, life, psyche or cosmos.”

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