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Understanding How Ketamine Works in Treating Mood Disorders

Mood disorders, such as depression and bipolar disorder, can be debilitating, which may be complicated by a resistance to regularly prescribed treatment methods. However, ketamine treatment for depression is helping many who are in that situation.

Should you consider using this anesthetic if you suffer from a mood disorder? It depends, but it might be what helps you start to get to the other side of your prolonged mental state.

How Effective is Ketamine Treatment for Depression?

A study conducted in 2021 found that 50% of participants experienced a general improvement following ketamine treatment, while the remission rate related to depression was 30%. Of those with suicidal ideation, 70% ceased to have that symptom immediately following treatment.

However, it needs to be pointed out that 10% instead experienced the opposite reaction: an increase in depression symptoms. So, note that even though ketamine treatment for depression appears to be a promising option, it may not work for you.

What Are Some Benefits?

Those who experience a positive impact on their mood disorder following ketamine treatment enjoy several ketamine benefits.

The most noteworthy one is it relieves depression symptoms, sometimes in a matter of minutes. A hypothesis is that it primarily increases the amount of glutamate in your body, resulting in greater neuroplasticity. This creates more and stronger neuron connections in the brain, which can be a pivotal step as many with depression have started experiencing weaker neuroplasticity.

Related to its ability to treat mood disorders, this sedative tends to make users feel more relaxed.

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However, most medical specialists view ketamine as more of a stopgap treatment method intended for short-term relief for those experiencing treatment-resistant mood disorders, particularly since research on its effects, especially its long-term effects, is still in the relatively early stages.

Also, it is possible to become physically or psychologically dependent on it.

What Are Some Side Effects?

As with all drugs, side effects are always possible. Other possibilities, in addition to an increase in depression, include experiencing dissociation, hallucinations, nausea, high blood pressure, and temporary muscle paralysis. Long-term use can result in memory loss and concentration issues.

In some cases, a therapist will be present during administration to assist if any of these occur immediately after it has been administered.

Types of Ketamine

Although many view ketamine as a singular drug, there are two main types. A nasal spray is usually utilized to get esketamine, a newer form of ketamine, into the body, while racemic ketamine, what most consider as “ketamine,” is generally disseminated through the body with IV ketamine therapy.

Esketamine tends to bind better to NMDA receptors in the brain as compared to racemic. It is usually used in conjunction with a more conventionally prescribed antidepressant.

Racemic ketamine doses generally result in fewer psychotomimetic and dissociative effects, while some view it as the more suitable option for those suffering from depression.

Note that ketamine injection procedures generally last around 45 minutes, taking relatively longer than the alternatives primarily to spread out the effects that the individual receiving it will usually experience. An alternate ketamine injection option is an intermuscular injection, which results in much stronger initial effects.

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Off-Label Ketamine Treatments

Since extensive research on ketamine treatment has not been done yet, off-label treatment methods involving the otherwise legally prescribed drug are being increasingly used.

The term off-label means that the FDA does not approve that particular treatment method, but it is still legal for a drug to be prescribed in that manner if the medical professional views it as the best option.

How Does Ketamine Compare to Psilocybin and MDMA?

Ketamine is similar to psilocybin and MDMA in numerous ways, including them now becoming increasingly researched and used options for those suffering from treatment-resistant mood disorders.

Many who use psilocybin, a psychedelic produced by hundreds of species of mushrooms, have reported a reduction in depression symptoms, not just initially but weeks after being treated with it.

MDMA improves mood disorder symptoms in sufferers by releasing greater levels of oxytocin in the brain. This results in an increased sense of comfort and trust.

Getting Help

We at Mind Body Wellness pride ourselves on providing a wide range of treatment methods that allow us to offer a holistic approach to healing. In other words, we want to ensure that those who come to us for help experience whole-body growth, not just healing that is narrowly focused on a specific issue.

If you would like to learn more about how we can help you, reach out to us through our website or at 855-862-0966.