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  • Writer's pictureAdam O'Neill

Journal Series No. 003 Part 2 - Ketamine and Sober Optimism


Picture of the infusion, used in ketamine infusion therapy.

The following is an excerpt from The Infusion: A Ketamine Infusion Therapy Journal independently published by Adam O'Neill & Associates and available here.


On March 3, 1953, church bells across the nation rang, production on assembly lines stopped, and supermarkets used intercoms to announce the news that Dr. Jonas Salk and his research team at the University of Pittsburgh had successfully completed a vaccine that would eradicate polio. The microscopic poliovirus had ravaged the globe impacting everyone from children in Sub-Saharan Africa to the President of the United States, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, threatening paralysis, incapacitation, and death.

We take for granted that not 100 years prior, the concept of a virus was foreign. In fact, the concept of organisms causing diseases had replaced the concept of “bad air” or “humors” not 300 years ago. The Hungarian physician Dr. Ignaz Semmelweis lost his job for hypothesizing that the unwashed hands of physicians led to sickness when he proposed it in 1846.


What do church bells and viruses have to do with Ketamine Infusions for mental health?

In the introduction to our mental health journal No. 001 “The Daily,” we discussed those practices that are tried and true, which have lasted and proven their benefit over time: prayer, gratitude, scripture memorization, and goal setting, among others. In this journal, we are presented with a promising medication intervention that is considered “new” compared to other traditional medications used in mental health. The practice of using ketamine as a medication has been around since 1970, but for mental health, at the time of this writing, it has been present for only about 20 years.


When approached with medical innovations, especially something showing as much promise as Ketamine, we believe the Christian should approach it with a sober optimism. When something works very well we may be tempted to metaphorically “ring the church bells,” proclaiming or claiming more than we have evidence to defend. We may be tempted to place our complete faith in the medical gift rather than the gift giver. In other instances, we may “fire the physician” who tells us to wash our hands before surgery because it goes against our presuppositions of how the world works.

Sober optimism has many benefits in the lives of believers.


It allows us to approach new data critically. We, as Christians, are called to seek out truth. The quest for scientific accuracy is part of that truth seeking.


It keeps us watchful for distractions from our chief aim of glorifying God. Some of the most compelling distractions come as “new things.” Anything that seeks to take our eyes off glorifying the Creator and onto the creation is attempting to become an idol.

It affirms that our God has made his chief creation—humans—creative. We have good reason to celebrate the advancements of science and technology. They display a part of what it means to be made in the image of God. Our God is creative and so are we. When we employ these creative powers to diagnosing, preventing, and healing diseases and disorders for His glory, we participate in His redemptive work.


So with sober optimism we invite you to explore with our Christian providers this new therapy for mental health. With humility, we offer the following things to consider as you move forward:


In what ways is God using your mental health struggle to form and shape your view of Him, your relationship to Him, and the world He has created?

How may He be shown as good and gracious in your healing, through whatever means he chooses, as in your suffering?


In a state of mental health, what elements of how you think and feel now would we want to retain?


We will close with elements from the mission of Adam O’Neill & Associates. We believe that mental health is not an end in itself but a path that allows us to grow in the knowledge of God, be conformed into the likeness of His Son, that we may become more effective tools for the Kingdom, to the glory of God.


So, we give thanks to Him for this new use of an old medication and fix our eyes on Him that He may be glorified in its use for our healing.



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