Kevin Nicholson, CEO Of Ketamine Wellness Centers, Shares How Ketamine Therapy Is Helping Veterans - Exclusive

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a common psychiatric disorder among people who have served in various branches of the United States Military. According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs, between 11 and 30% of veterans have been diagnosed with PTSD. The rates vary by service area, with more veterans of Operations Iraqi Freedom (OIF) and Enduring Freedom (OEF) and the Vietnam War being diagnosed with PTSD than veterans of the Gulf War. However, surveys by the Wounded Warrior Project suggest that the number of veterans dealing with PTSD is much higher — the organization's 2019 survey found that 83% of veterans live with symptoms of PTSD.

Though the condition is prevalent among veterans, treatment is difficult. One study found that typical treatments for PTSD — including cognitive behavioral therapy, prolonged exposure (PE) therapy, antidepressants, and eye-movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy — aren't all that effective for veterans. Though the majority of veterans experience a reduction of PTSD symptoms with these treatments, they don't experience full remission.

That's why Kevin Nicholson, the CEO of Ketamine Wellness Centers, believes it's so important to investigate alternative treatments for veterans with PTSD, like ketamine therapy. In an exclusive interview with Health Digest, Nicholson explained how ketamine therapy is helping veterans and discussed the new partnership between Ketamine Wellness Centers and the Veterans Administration (VA).

How ketamine therapy works for veterans

Kevin Nicholson explained that many veterans have what's called "treatment-resistant PTSD." These veterans have dealt with debilitating symptoms for an extended period of time and have tried all of the traditional forms of treatment without marked improvements. Unfortunately, there aren't too many options for veterans with treatment-resistant PTSD. But research into ketamine therapy has shown promising results.

Nicholson said ketamine therapy works so well for PTSD because it helps the brain repair and rewrite its neural pathways, which can literally reprogram the traumatized brain. "PTSD is known to damage synaptic connections in the brain that affect information flow and patterns of thought," he explained. "Ketamine treatments are shown to successfully repair and improve these connections while also building new, healthy ones."

Ketamine therapy is most often done by IV infusion. Essentially, the patient is hooked up to an IV and given a low dose of ketamine on a slow drip. A newer FDA-approved administration method is a nasal spray called Spravato, which is paired with an oral antidepressant.

How KWC is providing care with the VA

Unfortunately, ketamine therapy isn't widely available, and it's often not covered by insurance, making it inaccessible to many veterans. However, Ketamine Wellness Centers is changing that. In 2021, they initiated their first partnership with the VA in Minnesota to provide free ketamine therapy to veterans who can prove that other methods of treatment have been ineffective for their PTSD. In May 2022, KWC expanded this program to their Arizona locations.

"The program covers patients who are experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), major depression, and anxiety, and who have exhausted all traditional medical treatments," Kevin Nicholson explained. "At KWC, we take great pride in supporting our veterans across the country. Unfortunately, veterans often face challenges securing the care they seek, such as access and affordability, and our partnership with the Veterans Administration will help to alleviate some of them."

He added that every Ketamine Wellness Center nationwide has a "Hero Discount" that helps cover the out-of-pocket costs associated with ketamine therapy for veterans and first responders. Nicholson hopes that KWC will start more VA partnerships in the near future so that they can continue to help people who've bravely served.

Ketamine Wellness Centers (KWC) is the largest ketamine therapy provider in the United States with 13 clinic locations serving communities across nine states. For more information about KWC's locations, services, and hours of operation, please visit or follow them on Facebook and LinkedIn.