Ketamine is one of the most effective treatments for Depression, Anxiety and Neuropathic Pain when traditional treatments have failed. Drew Belnap, MD has a unique approach to delivering ketamine which has contributed to an 86% success rate with his patients. With over 10 years of experience administering Ketamine, Dr. Belnap is the only board certified Anesthesiologist offering Ketamine treatments in San Diego County. For over two and a half years, Dr. Belnap has personally administered over 1,500 infusions. He is in the room with each patient during each infusion monitoring their vitals and response to the Ketamine infusion. Patients relax in a soft power recliner chair watching high definition nature videos which helps the patient remain grounded during the infusions. Dr. Belnap reassures patients as they experience the infusion that what they are experiencing is normal and to be expected. He does this and more to ensure that each and every infusion is a comfortable experience, unlike other clinics that leave the patient alone in the room with nothing to do but stare at a wall. Ketamine is a revolutionary anesthetic medication that should only be administered by qualified doctors. As a board certified anesthesiologist, Dr. Belnap has the highest level of training to administer anesthetic medications. Prior to starting treatment, Dr. Belnap will contact your mental health provider to develop a safe and effective treatment plan. Click below to discover a patient’s experience with IV Ketamine at our clinic.
Ketamine Treatments with an Experienced Anesthesiologist in San Diego County
South Coast TMS and Ketamine
4405 Manchester Ave, Suite 102
Encinitas, California, 92024 United States
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13 Reviews on “Ketamine Treatments with an Experienced Anesthesiologist in San Diego County”
This was my very last hope. After a lot of research on Ketamine clinics in the surrounding areas, and many interactions with different clinics I can say with 100% honesty not only am I grateful I finally found Dr Belnap, but I firmly believe he is the only one in this field of medicine doing his job above and beyond the standard others are limiting themselves to.
I have had a series of traumatic life events, I am the result of a gang rape, I grew up in a very unstable environment, my mother was murdered, my first husband committed suicide, all of which resulted in a ton of complex issues. It was hard to navigate which trauma to tackle first. I have always had blazing hope kind of endurance, until my ptsd, depression, anxiety got so bad I couldn’t function at all. The worst part of this is that I am treatment resistant. I had tried over 12 different prescription medications and handful of different benzodiazepines and sleeping pills. All with terrible side effects and brain atrophy from a particularly strong benzo.
This year has been the worst year of my life, and that is saying something! My grandmother who raised me suddenly passed away which just put me over the tipping point. I own a business and I almost walked away from it entirely. I found myself packing my stuff up to live in my car just to give my husband a break from my nightmare of a personality.
I was on fire, bleeding, and no one could see.
I started EMDR therapy, but ended up on an involuntary hold in the hospital as a result of telling my counsellor how much I wanted to die. I lost faith in the medical system entirely.
I knew about Ketamine, and I knew it has shown great results in helping those with treatment resistant depression/PTSD. The problem for me was I was incredibly broke. No clinic around would set up a payment plan with me, or let me just pay as I went, they were incredibly apathetic to my suffering. I was committed to get six infusions, I just couldn’t afford to pay even two upfront.
I called that clinic that is doing $400 infusions, they didn’t even bother to contact me back.
I called the clinic in LA that’s $800 infusions they said we can’t do anything for you unless you have the investment up front.
Is that the kind of quality of care you want when your life is on the line?
I finally found Dr Belnap’s clinic! When I spoke to the receptionist she was most empathetic, she didn’t rush me over the phone, she tried to find me options and informed me its pay as you go, and explained the whole process to me. That meant I was able to start treatment ASAP.
Dr Belnap personally phoned me back that same day.
Dr Belnap is the most thorough doctor I’ve ever had. The quality of care is beyond what I expected. He sits with you the entire session, and before a treatment we talk about how the ketamine’s effecting me, my comfort level during the infusion, and if there’s any adjustments to be made. Dr Belnap is transparent about the dose I am receiving and he takes the time to explain everything. I feel like I have a doctor working for me, not like i’m at the mercy of someone.
Your infusion is customized to you, he wants you to remain comfortable throughout the entire process. This is not the case with every ketamine clinic. A lot of them don’t customize your ketamine infusion, either giving you too low of a dose, or too high of a dose making it a bad experience. He monitors and takes notes of my vitals and experience the whole time. I sit in an oversized comfy reclinable chair and I watch incredible nature videos while I am being infused.
Most places put you on a cot or chair, give you a sleep mask and dose you. I am so grateful this isn’t the way Dr Belnap treats his patients.
Every infusion is different, and it has been important for me to journal my progress so I can see my base level to where I am now. And oh my goodness it’s been life changing for me.
I said to Dr Belnap “I don’t expect to be happy, I just want a little relief from the suffering.”
I most certainly have felt incredible relief from my internal torment, I have felt relief from my PTSD symptoms and anger.
My fuse has grown, I am more resilient, I can feel now. I have been able to do things I never would have done two months ago. I dare to say I have felt happiness, I am becoming a person I didn’t even know was there, and I see glimmers of the person I was.
Ketamine has been making me whole again. So much so that my husband who has depression, social anxiety, and adhd just started his own treatments.
I highly recommend it to couples suffering together. Healing together has been instrumental in healing our marriage. It’s hard for a caregiving mate that’s burnt out watch a mate get better when they have been putting up with the ups and downs for so long and they need help too!
We are so happy to have found such a caring doctor. Ketamine has been essential to us having a life worth living again.
I reached out to Dr. Belnap regarding my severe depression and severe anxiety. He called me back at 9:00 at night and we talked for over 2 hours! He gave me great advice on vitamin supplements and a change in my anxiety medicine. Those two simple changes changed my life over 3 days and I didn’t need Ketamine treatments (at least for now)! He is an awesome doctor who really cares for his patients!
I must admit, I was skeptical of Ketamine treatment but I was absolutely desperate to find a way out of my depression and anxiety. Four treatments later, I was already feeling much better. Dr. Belnap is such a compassionate doctor and he is without a doubt on of the most thorough. He takes the time to get to know you and he will make adjustments to be sure you are getting maximum benefit out of each session. I can’t even begin to tell you how happy I am to have found his clinic. I have found this treatment so beneficial that I continue to be his patient almost a year later.
Ketamine worked for me.
My story is very similar to many: decades of depression/anxiety trying numerous anti-depressants, anti-anxiety, anti-psychotics through my psychiatrists and years of self medication with alcohol, weed, pain-killers, etc. Depression felt like the only constant in my life, the cross I would always have to bear.
While getting my daily dose of spiritual wisdom on youtube (which helps) I ran across a new ad talking about how traditional antidepressants work (monoamine system) and how a new treatment fundamentally different from them is available – Ketamine. One which works on the much more abundant glutamate system (90% of the brain) and has actual neuro-regenerative properties. “[R]ecent studies demonstrate that ketamine  produces rapid antidepressant actions in treatment-resistant depressed patients, rapidly increases spine synapses in the PFC and reverses the deficits caused by chronic stress.” – Yale, PubMedID: 24733968
I chose Dr. Belnap because he is the only trained anesthesiologist doing the treatment. We are talking off-label use. The studies are specific on dosing and duration, but there are a lot more things that can go right/wrong when dealing with such powerful drugs. Ketamine treatment is largely still the wild wild west for most practitioners, but Dr. Belnap has been administering these drugs for over a decade and understands the risks/rewards and how to help you through anything that could go wrong. After a call with him to discuss my history we were able to schedule my first appointment.
As a preliminary to our first visit I met with a psychologist to ensure I would be a good candidate with no counter-indications. I could have gotten this from my usual mental health team, but I recently switched insurance so this would have taken time.
The first visit is a longer one, as we filled out a bunch of forms, talked through my history, what ketamine treatment is/isn’t and what I could expect. The room where the treatment occurs is a nice, clean and simple room. It contains a very nice recliner where you spend your time facing a large TV with some sort of calming nature scene.
Once you’re ready he sets the tiniest IV in your hand, which is done professionally and with surgical cleanliness. I’m not a fan of needles in general; but it’s easy, quick and comes with only a slight pinch. You have a blood pressure cuff on your arm, three stickers on your body to monitor your heart and a little finger sheath to check your oxygen. Again, he is a professional and monitors your vitals through the entire treatment.
Then the lights go off, the ketamine starts dripping and you get your optional blanket. The office is on the chilly side, but the blanket makes it perfect. There is still some light coming from a wooden blinded window and the TV so it is not uncomfortably dark. Dr Belnap’s care and understanding is very helpful to set the mood, he’ll give you a wide array of nature views to watch and have great insight into what is popular. You can always ask him to change it if you’re not feeling it.
I knew in the first 10 minutes that I was responding to the ketamine. USUAL DISCLAIMER: This was my experience founded from my past experiences. Your experience will be different because we don’t have the same past/body.
The primary feeling was one of disconnection or having a space between my body and myself. Like my body had inflated to a perfect sphere. I could still move my body if I wanted to, but it didn’t matter anymore. I felt free like I haven’t felt since childhood. The beauty on the TV was incredible and I felt like I saw nature for the first time. Without all the voices/nagging/worry/fear/anger/stress. I just was. It was okay to just be there in the moment. It was not so much a new feeling, but one I haven’t felt for so long you forget you have it inside you. The mind at the beginning. It’s the most real I’ve felt in a long time. Dr Belnap is always there checking your vitals and he is happy talking about whatever you want to talk about, or just being a peaceful presence if you’re quiet. You spend about 50 minutes in that beautiful peaceful space.
After the infusion is done you’ll start to feel back in your body, and probably have to urinate. We spend a few minutes making sure we are back enough to stand up and walk. From there someone can drive you home, or I just order a Lyft home.
I’m on 4 of 6 injections and feel amazing. I can’t tell you how long this will last, but these few weeks have been incredible. Better than I could have expected my life to be. The darkness is lifted.
I am thankful I have enough money saved to afford the treatment. Ketamine is the real deal. It’s a miracle. It works so fast. I am so thankful I did this for myself, and happily pay for this treatment.
Ketamine has been a lifesaver! My story is like many others, I suffered from depression and PTSD for 18 years and tried therapists, psychiatrists, numerous anti depressants, psycho-stimulants, benzodiazepines, holistic medicine, vitamins/supplements and Neurofeedback all with varying degrees of “success”.
Desperate for relief my search continued and I found information on ketamine and was blown away by what it could supposedly do. I contacted Dr. Belnap and he provided me with a wealth of information in a way that was easy to understand.
Like what ketamine actually is and the administration methods, most simply ketamine is an anesthesia and Dr. Belnap is an anesthesiologist. Psychiatrist give an inter muscular shot where you are all the ketamine at once. When you are treated by Dr. Belnap you’re in controlled environment where your vitals are being monitored and he can adjust the infusion rate, plus with the infusion you are given has additional medications that help make process more pleasant.
The setting is very comfortable with and adjustable zero gravity recliner and 4K tv to get lost in during the treatment.
The first infusion I had was the most profound and was truly life changing. I would say that ketamine gave me an instant change in perception, a reset that gives you the ability to see things differently. The infusion its self is a dissociative psychedelic experience that offers insight. The second part of the ketamine treatment is the reforming of damaged connections in the brain. My friends and family noticed a dramatic change in me, my personality hadn’t be that way in 18 years.
All that being said ketamine is truly amazing and I could go on forever about my experiences and the benefits but it not a cure all. Health, exercise, diet, sleep and continued mental health care all go together.
This clinic is excellent, my treatment resistant depression is now completely in remission thanks to the infusions. I would recommend this clinic to anybody with depression.
My life has been changed in ways I never thought possible after seeking treatment with Dr. Belnap. Depression has ruled my life for decades, making relationships, jobs, life difficult to maintain and I had reached a point where I was ready to give up. I had little to no relief from antidepressants or lifestyle changes, despite doing all the things I was supposed to do.
I am beyond amazed at the effectiveness of this treatment for my depression. The last two years I have been battling suicidal ideation daily, on top of years of crushing depression. After the first infusion, my suicidal thoughts vanished and my mood has continued to improve with subsequent treatments. I am so grateful for Dr. Belnap, not only for his approach to patient care, but also for his advocacy for this treatment.
Dr. Belnap was so helpful and understanding. Treatment was timely, and comprehensive. For the first time I felt I was being heard and supported by a healthcare professional. He is approachable, knowledgeable and clearly an expert in his field. He took the time to explain everything to me, managing my expectations and making sure I knew what was going to happen. For someone who has been struggling with mental health in a system not designed for me, it was refreshing to say the least. I can enjoy my life now, and that is something I had lost all hope would ever happen to me. It is possible to feel better, and I couldn’t’ have asked for a better clinician.
In a nutshell, if you are at the point where you are considering ketamine infusion therapy, this is where you need to be. Dr. Belnap is a lifesaver and an absolute angel. Even if it had not worked for me, I was glad that I chose Dr. Belnap because he is compassionate, calming, and truly cares about his patients. But it did work for me, better than I could have hoped for.
Long story: I had been going through severe, treatment-resistant depression and anxiety, on a downward spiral for 2 years since a traumatic event left me with PTSD (but have dealt with chronic depression and anxiety for over 2 decades). I was getting nowhere with my primary care physician and psychiatrist, who just wanted to put me on medication after medication. Nothing was working, I was feeling more hopeless than ever, and I gained more and more weight with every new prescription. Having been on countless meds over the last 23 years that either didn’t work or stopped working at some point, I knew this was no longer an effective strategy, and I was worse than ever.
I knew I had to take matters into my own hands, and randomly Googled “hard to treat depression”. I even considered ECT, but was wary of the memory loss involved almost 100% of the time, and the inconsistent effectiveness. Articles about ketamine came up in my search. I read and read, finding studies proving its efficacy, and found South Coast Ketamine when searching locally.
I called the office to get some information, and Dr. Belnap called me back and talked to me for half an hour on a Friday evening, asking about my symptoms and history and explaining the procedure, his incredible success rates, his pricing, etc. I immediately felt comfortable with him, which was a refreshing change after dealing with condescending and authoritative mental health professionals at every turn. I have yet to meet a psychiatrist that doesn’t come across as a textbook narcissist or sociopath.
He scheduled me for an in-office consultation a few days later, and I felt very much at ease with his demeanor. My first infusion was scheduled for that Thursday. It is definitely a strange sensation, but not entirely uncomfortable or unpleasant. Dr. Belnap is with you the entire time – he puts in the IV (and is very gentle at it), makes sure you are comfortable at all times, and stays in the room throughout the infusion. I never felt rushed, and only once saw another patient leaving from her infusion before my appointment, and never saw any patients waiting for their appointment as I was leaving. He makes sure each patient has the time they need.
Because the ketamine causes dissociation (this is necessary for it to work), your thoughts and speech get a little wonky, but I had some really enjoyable conversations with Dr. B during those times. He is attentive but not overbearing, and not the slightest bit judgmental. I had infusions where we chatted about amusing life stories, and one where I was crying and emotional, and it was like talking to a friend through both, without feeling like I was in therapy. And I think that might be one reason of many that his treatments are so effective, because the patient is not forced to relive trauma while the ketamine is doing its work in the brain. That’s just an unscientific theory of mine anyway!
I was concerned because I had only felt a tiny bit of improvement after the second infusion that went away the next day, and then nothing after the third. So when I came in for the fourth infusion crying and feeling more hopeless than ever, Dr. B had some options to try that had helped his other late responders. And it worked.
The calm during that infusion didn’t wear off when the grogginess did a couple of hours later. In fact, I took the anxiety self-inventory test at home that night because I felt so much lighter. I scored an 18. My score before that infusion was a 56. I went from the Extreme Anxiety or Panic category, to Mild Anxiety.
After my 5th infusion, it went down to an 11.
My depression score went from a 26 (Very Severe Depression, the highest category) to an 8 (Mild Depression).
Almost a month since my last infusion, those improvements have stuck. I am able to do things I hadn’t been able to do in months, and in many cases, almost 2 years. I am productive again. I can do social things with my kids again. I have hope for the future again. I am off of psychiatric meds for the first time in 23 years and thriving because of Dr. Belnap.
If you are considering this treatment, call Dr. B. I promise you won’t regret it. He saves lives, and I am forever grateful.
Before i tell my story, i want to first start with Dr. Drew- he is so kind, gentle and calming. I have never once felt judged. Hes an anesthesiologist so i feel extremely safe. Hes humble, and everything is very comfortable and at your pace.
Starting ketamine it was pretty much ive run out of options, and i was at the point where i was going to try ketamine or do something permanently drastic. As dramatic as that is, that was exactly the place i was in. Id reached the end of my rope and honestly didn’t think it would work. I have made plenty of “attempts” in the last 10 years, and some were very serious and almost cost me my life.
I am extremely treatment resistant. So many times i would be crying with my parents and id list off all the things I’ve done to try and help and “NOTHING has worked” i would scream. I was hopeless. I didn’t trust myself and i didn’t know if something was going to happen that day to trigger me into doing something permanent.
I didn’t know what it felt like to NOT have suici dal thoughts or be in that dark place. I almost didn’t even think it existed, for me at least.
After my first 6 doses of ketamine in a 3 week time span, i was disappointed. I was so hyper focused on it and was quick to throw my hands up that it failed. But gradually, in the next couple weeks as i relaxed and let go a little, i was getting better. And it wasn’t a sudden euphoric feeling like dr drew will tell you, but it creeps up on you and suddenly you’re doing things like cleaning your bedroom- *gasp* And vacuuming, and putting a little makeup on before work. Showering a little more often. Basically giving a crap.
I, personally, also have stopped drinking for over 3 months and quit smoking for over 3 months. I was a smoker for 10 years, 1 pack to a pack and a half a day. Im not sure ketamine had a direct effect on it, but it certainly made me happier, more motivated and made me WANT to quit and made me see a reason to quit.
I have had another low cycle again, but it didn’t last nearly as long as usual and the good and stable times last for months (before it was maybe a week or two). The low point wasn’t as severe either. More just normal sadness.
Ketamine is kind of a miracle in my eyes. It was such a sad life, and i truly felt like a wasted life too. There was so much more i could experience and experience joy in but my mental illness was always holding me back.
Not anymore though. I can say with absolute certainty i never thought i would be writing something like this and meaning it.
Just like most of the other reviews, it turned my life around. Dr. Drew Belnap is the guy to go to. I feel safe and comfortable, and the person who brings u and drives u home can sit in the room and they have a comfy chair too.
Hope this helps someone make the plunge!!!
Let me tell you this. Ketamine infusion therapy is the real deal. I’ve suffered and I mean SUFFERED from depression for 40 plus years and been through the whole array of antidepressants. After my 3rd treatment I knew I was one of the lucky 75% of people this treatment helps. If you’re suffering you absolutely must give this a shot and do it with Belnap. Ketamine is an anesthesia. Dr Belnap is an anesthesiologist. This has nothing to do with psychiatry in the physical sense. Physically it is anesthesia with psychiatric results. Psychiatrists don’t know how to administer anesthesia. Trust me, Dr Belnap is worth the extra money. He’s a comforting vibe in the room and he has a very comfy chair. It’s all about you and he’s on point monitoring your vitals the whole time. You can close your eyes and be in your own space or you can laugh with Doc and your designated driver. Either way or any other way you can come up with it will be a very pleasant experience. If you think you might need this then you need this. And Doc Belnap is your best bet. I’m happy. I’m happy.
I am so thankful I met Dr. Belnap! I have suffered from depression/anxiety for years now and battled postpartum depression after my daughter was born. I have tried everything from therapy, medications, acupuncture, etc for the past 4 years and unfortunately for me nothing seemed to help.
I had heard about Ketamine as a treatment and researched it. I came across Dr. Belnap and decided to contact him since he is an anesthesiologist and that is the only type of doctor that is actually trained in Ketamine. He answered all my questions over the phone and gave me a lot of information. I scheduled my appt and did 6 treatments like recommended. It was night and day difference. I felt calm, content, and it made me see the world and my struggles in a totally different light. My husband and mother noticed a huge difference in me and said they haven’t seen me like this in years! I am scheduled to go back and see him 1x a month for maintenance. I have been able to cut my medications in half and am in the process of weaning off completely!
If you are thinking about giving Ketamine infusions a try, you MUST contact Dr. Belnap! It is so important to go to an anesthesialogist vs. a psychiatrist because they are trained and use it on a frequent basis. The whole time during my infusion all of my vitals were taken along with blood pressure and heart rate. He never leaves the room and watches the whole time which made me feel extremely safe. He allowed my mom to go in the room with me the first time since I was nervous. If you are like me and have tried everything, don’t give up and give this a try! It honestly has been life changing.
My first review was apparently somehow linked to not recommended..but I do highly recommend. I am a navy veteran who had surgery on My hand that the va did and left me with chronic regional pain syndrome or crps. Dr. Belmar was a life saver..the process was easy…he personally called and spent time talking to me and explaining procedure. IV insertion was perfect..didn’t even feel it. He sat in the room the entire time and I could relax and let the treatment work. I appreciate all he has done and has after just 2 treatments made me feel 95% better already…
Ketamine gave me hope and Dr. Belnap made that hope possible. A ketamine infusion is a medical procedure and you want someone who knows what they are doing to administer it to you. You want Dr. Belnap. Not only is he the only anesthesiologist in San Diego County who does them, he genuinely cares about his patients. Dr. Belnap will take the time to know you and to see how he can help you. People on my team (family and friends) have thrown hundreds of questions his way and he takes the time to answer every single one of them. He is extremely intelligent and his answers and what he does are backed by research and years of professional experience. Ketamine infusions were not something I wanted to do but I was desperate. Just the thought/idea of them brought me anxiety. Dr. Belnap completely eased that anxiety. Dr. Belnap tailors the ketamine infusion experience to you and provides multiple ways to help you relax (music, pillow, blanket, etc.). He even has a comfy chair in the room for a guest. Dr. Belnap sits next to you during your infusion, monitors your vitals (blood pressure, etc.), and if the experience you are having is too intense or you need something, he is right there the help. I bruise very easily and Dr. Belnap is so gentle and has made the putting in of the iv painless. From the moment I step in to Dr. Belnap’s office, I feel welcomed, warm, safe, and taken care of. Ketamine works! I haven’t felt this good in decades. Thank you Dr. Belnap!