Why does ketamine cause dissociation?


Ketamine causes dissociation by uncoupling certain brain circuits, specifically between the neocortical and subcortical regions. This uncoupling disrupts the typical rhythms of brain activity. Normally, the brain exhibits alpha rhythms associated with an alert but calm state. Under ketamine, these alpha patterns are replaced by theta rhythms, which are associated with a dreamlike state. This shift in brain activity induces a sensation of observing oneself from a third-person perspective, a key feature of dissociation 1.

Furthermore, ketamine's impact on the brain's neural circuits changes the way people experience their emotions, often separating them from feelings of grief and heavy emotional loads. This dissociative state can provide therapeutic benefits for conditions like depression, PTSD, and trauma by allowing individuals to process and reframe their traumatic experiences from a detached perspective 2 3.

Ketamine's Dissociative Effects

Discover why Ketamine, a drug known for its dissociative effects, can provide relief from depression. Andrew explains the uncoupling of brain circuits and the emergence of different patterns of brain activity associated with a dreamlike state.

Huberman Lab

Ketamine: Benefits and Risks for Depression, PTSD & Neuroplasticity | Huberman Lab Podcast