Nova Vita Maps Path to Normalcy

0
1600

 

When Dr. Paul Sale, professor at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, first heard about the ketamine IV infusions offered at Nova Vita Wellness Centers in Edinburg, he was skeptical.

“It seemed like just another fad — something that hadn’t been tried, something that folks were selling. But then I started reading the research, and I became more and more convinced that this had real possibilities for me,” he said.

Sale has battled depression and anxiety since 1986. The illnesses, his PTSD, and the accompanying medication were starting to affect Sale’s work. He examined the scientific, double-blind studies on ketamine therapy for depression, consulted with his medical professionals, and went to Nova Vita to meet with Jorge Alvarez, the CEO and clinical director of the center.

“It reminded me very much of a spa-like setting,” Sale said, recalling what he felt walking in through the doors of Nova Vita. “The front desk staff was so friendly.”

That same afternoon, Sale had his first ketamine infusion. Nova Vita provided an Uber to and from the appointment. The Nova Vita team considered Sale’s comfort throughout the treatment — from applying lidocaine on the site of the IV so that he wouldn’t feel the needle, to providing a weighted blanket and headphones tuned to relaxing classical music.

Sale experienced positive results after his first treatment. When he saw his therapist, his anxiety PTSD scale numbers had gone from the highly abnormal range to the near-normal range.

Sale’s results caused his therapist to consider discontinuing his treatment for PTSD.

“I can’t believe it. Before, I was having trouble getting out of bed since October,” Sale said. “I was getting out of bed and I continued to work, but I could really see my productivity go down. For me, it’s made the difference between night and day. The treatment provides a way to get back to normal.”

Sale represents the latest success story at Nova Vita. Alvarez remembered other patients at the center, like a suicidal, combative, self-medicating 16-year-old who had been in and out of behavioral health facilities. After her third infusion, she began eating again, dancing, and interacting with her family.

“After her fifth infusion, her mother said, ‘my God, we got my daughter back,’” Alvarez said.

Another patient was wheelchair-bound with chronic pain, depression, and anxiety. After the third infusion, she walked out of Nova Vita. After her sixth infusion she surprised her husband, who worked in the oil fields, by running into his arms at the airport as he arrived back home.

“She just broke down. She said, ‘thank you so much. This has given me my life back and I just can’t believe what it’s done for me and my family,’” Alvarez recalled.

As more people in the Rio Grande Valley experience the success of ketamine therapy through Nova Vita, the treatment has also gained wider acceptance in the rest of the country. Alvarez is a member of the American Society for Ketamine Physicians, an organization that had its second conference last year. California has over 300 ketamine clinics, pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson made its own spray version of the treatment, and certain states have approved the treatment as a part of workers’ compensation. Some new studies even suggest that ketamine could be used to help prevent PTSD in soldiers, Alvarez said.

“Watching this drug work on patients has been amazing,” he said. “I would like the community to know that there’s no gimmick here. There’s no scam. This drug really works. Do the research on your own — it’s out there.”

Nova Vita also provides a range of vitamin IV infusions in addition to ketamine therapy. The center will soon start trials for CBD and ketamine infusions aimed at tackling chronic pain, Alvarez said.

Alvarez urges people experiencing depression, anxiety, pain, and other issues to reach out.

“Do not try to go through these conditions on your own because they will only progress,” he said. Alvarez welcomes people to give his office a call for a no-obligation consultation. “We are professionals here. We’re very experienced with the ketamine drug and we’re here for you. Please come out if you are suffering or you have a loved one that’s suffering from any of these conditions.”

Sale agreed.

“Mental health problems don’t go away by themselves,” he said. “There are always new and innovative treatments, so I would recommend that folks take a look at the research.”

Learn more about the treatments that are available at Nova Vita Wellness Centers by visiting novavitacare.com.

Have you ever tried ketamine therapy? #JoinTheConversation at facebook.com/rgvisionmagazine.