Revitalist Offers New Techniques for Treating Mood Disorders

When Katheryn Walker and Jennifer Hultz worked together as nurse anesthetists, they never expected their careers in anesthesiology would lead to a focus on mental health. They were attending a professional conference when they learned that ketamine—one of the safest, most well-known anesthetic drugs in the world—was being prescribed off-label to treat mood disorders such as depression, anxiety and PTSD. Intrigued, they did their own research, connected with other providers and stepped out in faith to open the area’s first and only ketamine infusion center, Revitalist, located near Kingston Pike at Lovell Road.

Revitalist opened its doors in February 2018, and in just one year the business expanded to its new location on Flickenger Lane in February 2019. While Katheryn and Jennifer thought transitioning from a hospital to clinical setting would allow them more time with their families, after they opened and saw firsthand the lifesaving potential of ketamine treatments, they are now happy to work more than ever to help their growing clientele. With 70 percent of American adults having experienced trauma in their lifetime and increasing rates of depression and anxiety among millennials and teens, the need for innovative therapy for mood disorders is undeniable. In addition to more than 20 years of research in treating depression, low-dose ketamine infusions have also been shown to relieve neuropathic pain conditions such as migraines, fibromyalgia, diabetic neuropathy and especially complex regional pain syndrome, (CRPS.)

While research is ongoing, it is believed that ketamine increases the production of the neurotransmitter glutamate, which aids in the repair and production of healthy neural pathways in the brain. Many mood and chronic pain disorders have been shown to be a result of poor or misguided neural connections. By creating these healthy connections, ketamine helps the brain relearn the biological patterns that support mental health.

“You can get further in one session [with ketamine] than would take six months of standard counseling,” says Jeff Cockerham, one of Revitalist’s licensed professionals.

In addition to the community atmosphere, Revitalist also credits their high success rate to their commitment to holistic treatment, not relying on the ketamine infusions only. The center provides intravenous vitamin infusions to support hydration, boost immunity, relieve allergy symptoms, reduce fatigue and more. They also offer counseling services, acupuncture, nutrition education and are soon adding massage and yoga therapies.

“It’s the most powerful treatment I’ve experienced,” says one client, who wished to remain anonymous. “It’s changed me for good at my core.”

Jeff, a former pastor and educator with more than 20 years’ experience, says the results he has seen through coupling ketamine infusions and cognitive therapy have been nothing short of miraculous.

“[Clients] go from living day-to-day to living for a lifetime,” he says. “They are creating a future for themselves.”

No. 1

Ketamine infusions are given intravenously over an extended period, anywhere from 40 minutes to four hours, depending on the condition and severity. Unlike an IV push of the anesthetic that is given in a hospital setting, the slow infusion reduces unwanted side effects of ketamine while still allowing clients to feel relaxed during their treatment.

No. 2

Jennifer says ketamine causes a psychological disconnection during infusion, which allows the subconscious to surface. Jeff says this process “breaks down barriers” for clients to process trauma and emotional triggers. Counseling services are offered before, after and even during infusion treatments.

No. 3

A full series of ketamine treatment consists of five to 10 sessions over the course of five to 14 days, and fully half of the patients never have to return for a booster infusion. Ketamine providers report 70 to 80 percent effectiveness nationally, but Jennifer says Revitalist’s rate is more like 85 percent effective thanks to their comprehensive discharge protocols and holistic approach to healing.