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Ketamine therapy can help those struggling with treatment-resistant depression. As an anti-depressant, ketamine injections or nasal sprays can relieve symptoms within hours. Low doses of ketamine can help you find relief from depression when other treatment options have not been effective.
Ketamine is primarily used for anesthesia in emergencies following painful physical injuries. As anesthesia, ketamine does not depress the respiratory system or stimulate the circulatory system. As such, ketamine works well as anesthesia for children with certain heart conditions and patients with asthma or other conditions obstructing breathing. On the other hand, ketamine is also abused for its sedative and hallucinogenic properties.
Along with other “club drugs,” ketamine has been popular among teens and young adults at parties or “raves.” Because of this, ketamine is considered a Schedule III non-narcotic substance under the Controlled Substances Act. Despite its classification, the drug has been used as an anti-depressant for treatment-resistant depression and social anxiety disorder in recent years. Studies on the effectiveness of ketamine therapy are somewhat limited. However, ketamine could provide hope for those seeking relief after years of treating depression with little to no results.
Ketamine therapy works by injection or a nasal spray. In March 2019, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the nasal spray version of ketamine called Spravato® (esketamine). The nasal spray can be used along with an oral anti-depressant for treatment-resistant depression. This combination revealed that ketamine helps depression by allowing certain neurotransmitters to communicate with one another.
Depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders are often the result of misfires or a lack of communication between neurons within your brain. A 2019 article from Harvard Medical School explains how ketamine can help with depression and other mental disorders. Ketamine binds to NMDA receptors in your brain. By binding to NMDA receptors, ketamine increases the amount of a chemical called glutamate within the brain.
The overabundance of glutamate then activates AMPA receptors. By blocking NMDA receptors and activating AMPA receptors, ketamine helps other neurons communicate with one another. This communication between neurons may, in turn, affect your mood and thoughts. During ketamine therapy, you might begin with 1 dose weekly. Then as symptoms improve, you are able to come in for maintenance doses either 1 or 2 times per month. After weekly doses for about 8 weeks, you and your treatment team can determine the next steps forward for continuing treatment.
Ketamine therapy might not be the first option for treating mental health conditions. Because this type of therapy is relatively new, it is best to try other types of treatment first. For instance, evidence-based treatment options such as behavioral therapy combined with psychiatric medications are still among the best approaches for many mental health conditions.
Ketamine therapy could be an option for some of the following mental health conditions when another form of treatment is not effective:
While getting treatment with ketamine, you might also continue with other treatments. For example, talk therapy and support groups can continue to help you develop coping skills after ketamine therapy provides relief from symptoms.
All medications carry the risk of side effects. In addition to these risks, if you struggle with treatment-resistant depression, the side effects could outweigh the risks of depression. Some of these risks can include suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
Other side effects of ketamine include:
As a result of ongoing studies, the long-term side effects of ketamine are largely unknown.
The benefits of ketamine therapy include:
While relatively new, ketamine therapy can be helpful to those who haven’t had success with other common treatments. While ketamine therapy is not the first line of treatment for depression and other mental health disorders, you can get relief from prolonged challenging mental health symptoms.
Depression is a treatable mental health condition. Fortunately, most people respond well to traditional treatments, like therapy and anti-depressant medications. However, for those with treatment-resistant depression, traditional approaches may not be effective in providing any relief.
Ketamine therapy can, however, help those struggling with treatment-resistant depression and other mental health disorders, like PTSD and social anxiety. Mind Body Wellness provides ketamine therapy. We are here to help and offer quality care and support. Contact us today and visit our admissions page to learn more and get relief for your symptoms.