“IV Ketamine treatment…? I can’t afford that.”
“Sure, I want to feel better. I’ve tried so many medicines and treatments. I don’t even know what it’s like to enjoy something, anything…or to feel happy. I don’t have the energy to even get out of bed half the time, much less get anything done. But…the cost of ketamine treatment is way out of reach for me. I don’t even know if it’s worth it?” That’s Ann Marie, out loud.
“When I go to work, my mind is plagued with images of people dying… or me dying. Dark, hopeless thoughts and pictures in my head. Sometimes gruesome…
“But we all know IV ketamine treatment is for people who’ve got money…. right?”
This is what people say to themselves, and to their family…comments like this, or others similar…
So, maybe they aren’t seeing the big picture… in fact, maybe you aren’t seeing it either. It’s something to think about.
Because, you know, you don’t have to have the free cash to pull the payment out of your wallet on the spot. You know that, right? Countless companies offer medical financing to pay for medicines and procedures over time. Advance Care Credit, United Medical Credit, and M-Lend are a few.
For example, have you thought about the benefits of investing in IV ketamine treatment ? Yes, there’s an initial investment, but have you thought about this..?
Discontinue Medications and Save $$
For one thing, you’ve likely been taking medications for your depression or other disorder for years…haven’t you? And even though they haven’t helped, you may still be taking them.
But, the beauty of ketamine is that it works independently of SRIs, SNRIs, anxiolytics, etc. So by investing in as few as 6 ketamine infusions, or a few more as needed, you may find you’re well enough to think about eventually tapering some of the add-ons that didn’t add anything.
Some of your medicines may not be expensive, but some may be pretty pricey. In some cases, people have found that IV ketamine treatment paid for itself in 3-6 months. Even when you have insurance, your treatment costs can be exorbitant. Now it seems like everyone has a huge deductible to pay before insurance even kicks in. How much money would you save if you were able to stop taking those …. add-ons that maybe aren’t adding anything? Well, that money could go toward paying for your IV ketamine infusions.
Then, there are those calls for extra appointments with your doctor when your symptoms flares.
Fewer Doctor Visits
If you’re not having symptoms, you may find you don’t need to see your doctor as often as you were when your symptoms were so persistent and so severe. What a relief that would be–if you didn’t need to call to be fit in for extra appointments when you took a dive, didn’t have to reach out to an answering service on the weekend. You’d probably prefer to spend that time and money doing things you enjoy, right?
Why pay for a parking garage and sit in a waiting room when you’d rather be hiking in the woods, or playing tennis, or shopping? When ketamine goes to work on your brain systems, and restores the circuitry there, you regain the power to enjoy. And if you’re enjoying yourself, it’s likely you may not feel the need to check in with your doctor nearly so often.
Add to that the expense and the hassle of lab work. Some medications require that regular lab work be done to monitor your liver, or your kidneys, or your blood sugar and your cholesterol.
To spend more of your time enjoying your life, your work, your hobbies, and your relationships is a far more fulfilling way to spend your time than having blood drawn in a lab on a Saturday…don’t you think?
And money spent on co-pays and fuel, as well as wages lost from missed work and days you take under your FMLA for symptom flares and doctors’ visits…well, those funds have such better uses when you feel really well. Baseball tickets, funnel cake, or…a picnic in the park!
Cost of Ketamine Treatment Improves the Quality of Your Life
But most of all, it’s the quality of your life. While the costs can be reclaimed in countless ways by a happier, healthier you as time goes on, can you put a price on your improved, deeply rewarding, utterly fulfilling new life?
James comes to mind. A patient of mine who couldn’t remember ever feeling happy, or having fun, or enjoying those little moments in his life. Ketamine worked for him. And now, he enjoys a fragrance he notices in the air, the way the meat responds to the fire when he’s cooking, the clear blue of a mountain spring.
Things he never noticed before because of the dark gray cloud that hung over him, suffocating him. He arranged financing for his treatment, and that monthly payment feels easy, because he lives every day the life he had wished for as long as he could remember.
And his life has bloomed, because he has the energy to step out and live. He has a family that’s growing and his mind is on his family’s future…in fact, he realizes his whole life is ahead of him. He invested himself and the cost of ketamine treatment was part of that.
Then, there’s Lisa. She grew up in a home where she never felt understood. She was sensitive, intelligent, and meticulous. Her parents were hard working, confident, and not so tuned-in. Not really understanding their daughter’s sensitive nature, they made a plan for her from earliest childhood. She would be a doctor, and would make them proud.
But Lisa’s heart turned to music, and she sang like an angel. From the time she was losing her front teeth, she could feel her parents’ pressure to be who they wanted her to be. She wanted so much for them to appreciate her for who she really was.
Lifelong Depression Wears Down Brain Circuity
By her 6th birthday, she would arrive at home after she got off the bus, and enter the dark house frightened, alone, and shaken. The anxiety from those long afternoons alone in a dark house grew to a dread that followed her wherever she went.
Depression drained her energy, and her hope in life. Adolescence turned out to be a cruel time, and she felt she didn’t fit in anywhere. College was a chance to excel. Getting married was a no-brainer. And though she had transient reprieves from the trudging existence she endured, the dark hopelessness and choking despair always returned.
Pregnancy after pregnancy…she could conceive, but had no energy to care for the children, and would just go back to bed. The kids spent a lot of time at their friends’ houses while she slept on the couch. They learned how to make their own mac and cheese.
Hospitalizations didn’t make much difference. Medicines her doctors prescribed brought no relief. The kids raised themselves.
The Cost of Ketamine Treatment
But finally, when her first grandchild was on the way, and Lisa wanted the ability to build a relationship with this child, she heard about what ketamine treatment was doing. She learned that she would need at least 6 infusions, so she needed to be prepared to pay for them.
Those who knew her and loved her wanted to help. Eventually, a friend offered to help her pay for the treatment.
For Lisa, it got unreal right then. There was an unreal-ness about suddenly having a way to get real help…to maybe have an opportunity to feel good for the first time in her memory.
And as she’d hoped, within a week she was improving. Little beams of hope penetrated her cold damp tomb of anxious despondency …one little beam at a time. It was slow. She started taking walks, just because. Then she started reading books and meeting friends for lunch.
A friend’s help made the cost of ketamine treatment manageable.
Now, Lisa is a rosy-cheeked, very active grandmother. She takes her granddaughter on picnics and to the zoo, for ice cream, and to play in the park and feed the ducks. Her grown children watch in disbelief–where was she when they were little?–but they’re relieved that she is finally functioning, happy, productive, and interested.
She has the energy to share all kinds of experiences with her grandkids…both the physical as well as emotional energy. They play games and she teaches them about good sportsmanship and the competitiveness to win, too.
Lisa made little payments to her friend for three years to repay the loan that gave her back her life. She says that loan was the greatest gift she’s ever received. She has the power to love again. To dance and sing and play ball with her family.
Ketamine Treatment Must Be Available to Those Who Need It
Is there anything more important than the power to live your life well? Happily, generously, joyously?
When people ask me how they can afford to pay for this treatment, I wonder. A lot.
I wonder how we can afford to stand by while our sisters, our friends, our kids, and our husbands slowly shut down.
I wonder how we justify the days lost, the jobs lost, the unpaid FMLA’s, the lost opportunities. The kids’ games that we missed, the holidays we suffered through, the long agony of a weekend that was empty.
I wonder how our insurance companies so readily deny payment for an infusion that could stop suicidal thinking and save a life –but quickly fork over $1300 for an ambulance ride to the ER and another $1500 for the night spent on a gurney, waiting to see if the crisis worker will hospitalize you or send you home?
Insurance will pay for that, and refuse to cover ketamine infusions? The procedure exists, the billing code is there, the diagnosis is clear …the results speak for themselves.
I wonder, sometimes, not about affording ketamine, but about how we can afford this: to live like this, day after day. What’s it costing us? What’s it costing our kids?
In the light of the transformative effect of ketamine at its best, you owe it to yourself to find a way to give yourself an opportunity to live – and live well. To enjoy your life, to invest in it, to learn and grow, to stop the suicidal thoughts, to get rid of the depressive symptoms. To be happy.
It’s true that IV ketamine treatment can’t offer a 100% response rate, but no medicine can do that. The cost of ketamine is an investment… But there are few investments available to us with the return that comes from this extraordinary treatment.
James made this comment, “Instead of spending all my energy trying to figure out how to survive the week and how to ignore the suicidal thoughts that are always there, I’m excited about figuring out my next step, and I’m looking forward to good things happening. I’ve never experienced anything like that before.”
Everyone should have the opportunity to live free of symptoms, and to have the energy and hope to invest in the things you believe in.
At Innovative Psychiatry, we’re investing in you and your future. If you’ve suffered and treatments haven’t helped, call us. The cost of ketamine treatment? We think it’s worth it. It can make real living, fulfilling engagement, rewarding relationships, available to you.
To the unveiling of your best self,
Lori Calabrese, M.D.