Ketamine Glossary

As the topic of mental health becomes more and more mainstream, new words are entered into the average person’s vernacular. With the sprint to destigmatizing mental health showing no signs of slowing down, it can be difficult to keep up with all the new terms thrown at us. Each issue, KetaView offers a brief breakdown of relevant terms that may help you understand the content within our magazine. Ketamine Glossary brings you closer to wellness and understanding, one confusing compound word at a time.

  • Anesthesiologist: Any physician who specializes in anesthesia, which is a medical agent that induces loss of sensation or consciousness.
  • Antidepressant: Any medication used to alleviate depression or the symptoms of depression. Antidepressants are often used to treat symptoms of anxiety disorders or pain conditions as well.
  • Behavioral Therapy: Therapy that focuses on learning about behavior to correct unhealthy behavior patterns or habits.
  • Intravenous Infusions: In simple terms, intravenous (often abbreviated as the more well-known “IV”) infusions are simply when medical staff inject you, usually in the arms, and start filling you with fluids. IV infusion is, according to Wikipedia, the “fastest way to deliver medications and fluid replacement throughout the body, because they are introduced directly into the circulation.”
  • Chronic Pain: Pain that is long-lasting or especially severe.
  • Clinical Social Worker: PA mental health professional with a master’s degree in social work who was trained to evaluate and treat mental illnesses. They can provide psychotherapy, case management, hospital discharge planning, and more.
  • Cognitive Therapy: Therapy that focuses on a person’s thoughts and correcting dysfunctional thinking patterns.
  • CRNA: Certified Nurse Anesthetists (CRNAs) provide anesthesia-related care across a broad spectrum of healthcare settings, including ketamine infusion clinics.
  • Dissociative Anesthetic: An anesthesia that not only brings pain relief but may also cause changes in focus or consciousness. This is sometimes described as feeling like an “out-of-body” experience. 
  • Glutamate: Glutamate is a chemical that nerve cells use to send signals to other cells. It is thought that ketamine plays an important role in the relationship between glutamate and the NMDA receptor.
  • Holistic Therapy: Therapy that is multifaceted and combines different approaches to suit the patient’s needs.
  • Intravenous Infusions: Intravenous infusion is when medical staff start an IV to administer fluids. IV Infusion is, according to Wikipedia, the “fastest way to deliver medications and fluid replacement throughout the body.
  • Licensed Mental Health Counselor: A mental health professional with a master’s degree in psychology or counseling. They are taught to evaluate and treat mental health disorders with counseling or psychotherapy.
  • Mood Disorders: Mental health conditions that affect emotional state or mood. Depression, bipolar disorder, or anxiety are all mood disorders for example.


  • Neuron: A nerve cell that uses synapses to communicate with other nerve cells.
  • NMDA Receptor: A glutamate receptor and ion channel protein found in nerve cells. If you want to affect important brain functions – like memory and learning, as mentioned above – one way to do it is by affecting the NMDA receptor. This could likely explain ketamine’s therapeutic use, considering the way it influences the NMDA receptor.
  • Novel Treatment: A novel treatment is an original, unique treatment. Ketamine may be considered the first novel depression treatment in decades.
  • Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse: A nurse who received special mental health services. They can provide treatment like psychotherapy and serve as patient advocates.
  • Psychiatrist A medical doctor who studied mental health conditions and the treatment of them. They are taught how to differentiate mental health problems from other conditions. Psychiatrists can provide psychotherapy. but they may also refer you to a specialist depending on your symptoms. 
  • Psychoanalytic/Psychodynamic Therapy: Therapy that aims to work through unconscious issues or conflicts and deal with them on a conscious level.
  • Psychologist: A medical doctor who studied psychology (“the study of the mind and behaviors”). Unlike psychiatrists, they can not write prescriptions or perform medical procedures but they are qualified for counseling and the treatment of mental health conditions.
  • Suicidal Ideation: Suicidal ideation is simply the most commonly used medical or professional term for suicidal thoughts.
  • Synapse: A region where nerve impulses are transmitted and received. Essentially, this is the tiny gap where a nerve cell (a neuron) can send an impulse to another neuron.


About Author /

Writer, illustrator, musician. Since being diagnosed with OCD, Nathan has infused within all his work the same chief objective: destigmatize mental health and the treatment of it.

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