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How Is Ketamine Therapy Used to Treat Depression?

How Is Ketamine Therapy Used to Treat Depression?

The search for the right method to treat your depression might have led to the point where you are wondering what ketamine infusion therapy is. While this method for treating depression is still reasonably new, doctors have used ketamine for over 50 years as an anesthetic in operating rooms.

Currently, ketamine for depression is typically recommended after someone has tried other forms of care without the desired level of success. For those who need it, ketamine treatment can help rapidly reduce depression symptoms and provide long-term relief.

What is Ketamine Therapy?

Professional mental health care providers use careful dosing with ketamine infusions that allow it to have a calming and therapeutic effect on the parts of your brain that are associated with depression, anxiety, and PTSD. While you might feel slight dissociation during your infusion, the effects ease up soon after. After the initial grogginess clears within a few hours, you should feel calmer and have a more positive outlook that helps increase your happiness levels. 

How Does Ketamine Therapy Work?

Ketamine affects the NMDA receptors that exist in your brain. During ketamine infusion therapy, the medication enters your bloodstream and moves to the brain, which binds to these receptors. This stimulates the production of glutamate, a neurotransmitter that activates the AMPA receptor. This series of events helps the neurons in your brain communicate with each other in new ways that promote improvements in your mood, ability to focus, and overall thought patterns.

Treatment for Mental Health - Mind Body Wellness

At Mind Body Wellness, we offer Spravato, a nasal form of ketamine therapy. During a Spravato appointment, we administer one nasal dose followed by two hours of reclining in the pictured room while the afterglow effects take over the brain. Patients experience less grogginess with Spravato compared to other forms of ketamine therapy.

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What Are the Different Types of Ketamine?

Two main types of ketamine are offered to patients with mental health conditions. Understanding the two types and their delivery method can help you work with your care team to find what works best for you.

Racemic Ketamine

This type is used the most often in ketamine infusion therapy since it’s delivered through injections or an IV. Racemic ketamine uses two mirror molecules, “R” and “S” ketamine. Although this type was approved by the FDA many years ago for use as an anesthetic, mental health care providers now also use it off-label for ketamine therapy.

Esketamine (Spravato)

This form of ketamine differs from the other by only using the “S” molecule. Delivered as a nasal spray, esketamine has received FDA approval for use in mental health treatments. While the nasal spray is promising as a ketamine treatment, you’ll want to remember that most of the current research focuses on infusion therapy.

However, either form has the potential to help you find success with your treatments, and you’ll be able to work with your care provider to determine which one best fits your needs.

How Does Ketamine Therapy Differ From Other Types of Depression Treatments?

Depression is often treated with prescription medications, counseling, and other forms of therapy that are all carefully researched for their ability to help with symptoms. Although these methods tend to work for most people with mental health challenges, some still slip through the cracks. People with treatment-resistant depression might not respond to talk therapy or even some prescription medications alone.

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Ketamine infusion therapy differs from these other forms by the ability to be delivered directly into the bloodstream or an IV. The development of a nasal spray has also made it easier for a person to self-treat at home. A ketamine infusion impacts different parts of the brain from the other methods, which positively affects its success rate.

How Will This Promising New Treatment Method Change the Future of Treating Depression?

The mental health treatment field has long held out hope for a fast-acting and potent medication to help patients overcome their symptoms of treatment-resistant depression. While research is still being conducted, ketamine infusion shows high success rates that can begin as soon as the first therapy is completed.

Approximately half of the people who receive ketamine for depression find that their symptoms improve after the first treatment. Most people eventually move to a maintenance schedule with infusions spaced further apart over weeks or months. Providing people with relief from their symptoms quickly makes other mental health care treatments, such as talk therapy, more effective. Ketamine infusion therapy also gives people with treatment-resistant depression hope for a happier future.

Mind Body Wellness in Franklin, TN is committed to providing holistic services that give people with depression and other mental health conditions a wide range of options for improving their overall well-being. We offer a range of mental health care services to reduce your symptoms of depression and achieve overall wellness. Contact us to learn more about our mental health service offerings and how to get started on your journey to whole-body healing and wellness.