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Unraveling the Benefits of Ketamine Therapy Beyond Depression: A Focus on Rumination and the DMN

At Driftless Integrative Psychiatry, we're continually exploring innovative treatments. While ketamine's benefits for treatment-resistant depression are well-documented, its emerging potential in addressing other mental health challenges deserves attention.

This blog post delves into how ketamine therapy might be particularly beneficial for conditions characterized by an overactive Default Mode Network (DMN) and rumination.

Understanding Rumination and the DMN

Various conditions, including eating disorders, anxiety, depression, PTSD, and addiction, share a common feature: an overactive pattern of rumination. Our brain's default mode network (DMN), active during introspection and daydreaming, is often hyperactive in these conditions, potentially fueling a cycle of negative thoughts about oneself. This hyperactivity can potentially exacerbate emotional dysregulation seen in conditions like eating disorders, trauma manifestations, and borderline personality disorder.

Ketamine’s Impact on Rumination and the DMN

Ketamine therapy shows promise in disrupting this cycle. By altering the DMN's activity, ketamine may decrease the tendency towards rumination, offering relief and a new perspective for those trapped in a loop of negative thoughts. Individuals may notice this shift during their ketamine journey or in the hours, days, and weeks afterwards.

The way ketamine impacts the DMN could be likened to hitting a 'reset' button on deeply ingrained neural pathways. It offers a pause, a much-needed break from the constant internal chatter that characterizes rumination.

Ketamine and PTSD Treatment:

Recent studies, including a comprehensive meta-analysis (not yet peer-reviewed and still in -pre-print), have illuminated the effectiveness of ketamine in treating PTSD, demonstrating significant reductions in symptom severity and improvements in remission duration. The use of ketamine-assisted psychotherapy (KAP) has shown even more promise, suggesting a synergistic effect that enhances the benefits of ketamine and prolongs remission. While these findings are promising, it's important to note that the exact mechanism of action of ketamine in these improvements, particularly its interaction with the Default Mode Network (DMN), remains a topic of active research and theory. This growing body of evidence offers a hopeful avenue for those struggling with PTSD, although the precise role of the DMN in this process is not yet fully understood. We hypothesize that the DMN is involved.

Ketamine for Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD):

A 2020 meta-analysis encompassing 12 controlled trials brought to light ketamine's significant impact on BPD. The findings revealed that ketamine effectively reduces depressive symptoms and is also linked to decreased suicidality, better emotional regulation, and improved social functioning.

This suggests that ketamine holds potential in treating complex conditions like BPD, which often do not respond adequately to traditional treatments like medication. However, as with PTSD treatment, while there is a growing consensus that the DMN may play a role in these therapeutic effects, the exact mechanism of how ketamine interacts with the DMN in BPD remains a subject of ongoing investigation and theoretical exploration.


Ketamine therapy emerges as a multi-faceted treatment option, offering new hope for various mental health conditions. By impacting the DMN and reducing rumination, ketamine provides a unique approach to mental health care, especially in conditions resistant to conventional treatments. At Driftless Integrative Psychiatry, we're excited to be at the forefront of this innovative therapy, unlocking new paths to healing and well-being.

For more insights or to explore how ketamine therapy could be part of your journey, learn more here.


2020 Meta-Analysis about ketamine and borderline personality disorder

Bertsch, K., Gamer, M., Schmidt, B., Wolf, S., Klostermeier, L., & Hellmann, J. (2020). Antidepressant effects of ketamine in borderline personality disorder: A meta-analysis. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 89(3), 178-190. doi:10.1159/000500095

(Pre-print) 2023 Meta-Analysis about ketamine and PTSD

Cyrus P. Mowdawalla, Basant K. Pradhan, Ludmil V. Mitrev et al. Is Ketamine Infusion an Effective Treatment for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder? A Meta-Analysis, 14 November 2023, PREPRINT (Version 1) available at Research Square []

This blog post is designed as a general guide. This is not a substitute for personalized medical advice, nor is a patient-physician relationship established in this blog post.


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