Ketamine Infusion Therapy for Depression

Boston University reports the rates of depression just since the pandemic have risen to over 30% of Americans. That means one in every three Americans is suffering from the sometimes-debilitating effects of depression.

For some, depressive symptoms can feel overwhelming. They may have thoughts of suicide, feeling the only way to feel better. In America, suicide is among the leading causes of death. Recent reports show over 47,500 people between the ages of 10 and 64 died by suicide. The good news is that the number of suicides is declining across the nation.

There are numerous reasons for this decline, such as advancements in treating depression and other mental health issues are one of them. For major depressive disorder, specifically, the use of ketamine infusion therapy is giving many people hope, even when all other treatments have failed. You deserve to feel better and ketamine can help.

What is Ketamine?

Ketamine is a drug once used as an anesthetic on battlefields. It has also been used in veterinarian medicine. It is a sedative that can cause a euphoric state, sending an antidepressant effect through the brain so you can once again feel happy emotions.

There are two types of ketamine typically used for infusion. Esketamine is a nasal spray approved by the Federal Drug Administration.

Racemic ketamine, administered by infusion directly into the bloodstream. You feel the effects of ketamine right away. For many, the effects last for days.

What is Ketamine Infusion Therapy?

Ketamine infusion is a technique of administering the drug through an IV in a clinical setting by a licensed psychiatrist. The lowest dose will be given during your session. That low dose does a lot of good things, like increasing the amount of glutamate in the brain, which can be found in the spaces between neurons.

Neurons are responsible for communicating with each other, sending signals that influence mood. Ketamine improves how neurons communicate.

Inflammation is connected to mood disorders. One theory is that inflammation signals immune cells to use more energy. This shift is thought to trigger a reduction in dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and good moods.

Who Is Recommended for Ketamine Infusion Therapy?

Ketamine infusion therapy is recommended for those with treatment-resistant depression, also called treatment-resistant depression. To be diagnosed with treatment-resistant depression, you have been given at least two different types of antidepressants in increased doses. Still, you have not seen any improvements in your mood after six weeks or more.

In some cases, improvements are seen initially. But unfortunately, after a few weeks, the positive effects of the medicine fade, leaving them trying to cope with depression all over again.

Reports show that there are approximately 8.9 million with depression in twelve months who are taking medication. Of that number, 2.8 million have treatment-resistant depression. Both conditions can be costly to personal, professional, and social aspects of a person’s life.

Coping with treatment-resistant depression can be challenging, and some may feel discouraged. Some may even have thoughts of suicide. Ketamine infusion therapy has the potential to reverse suicidal ideations.

Who Should Not Receive Ketamine Infusion Therapy?

Medical factors can make someone a risky or poor candidate for ketamine infusion therapy. For example, if you have uncontrolled disease, like high blood pressure, you may not be recommended for treatment because ketamine raises blood pressure in some people. Other risky candidates include the following:

  • Are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Do not have veins that are accessible for treatment
  • Has psychosis or schizophrenia
  • Is in a current mania cycle
  • Has a history of a brain aneurism or bleeding
  • Is currently misusing alcohol or other substances
  • Are taking medications that could interact with ketamine

Side Effects of Ketamine

Whether prescribed or over the counter, all drugs have the potential for side effects. The one who experiences side effects is based on that person’s biological, physical, and psychological health. Most of the side effects reported with ketamine are noted as positive, and that they end quickly, peaking within the time you are in treatment.

Side effects may include feeling spacey like you are floating, dissociated, and your senses feel overly stimulated. You may have blurred vision, feel like you have an out-of-body experience, or move in slow motion. Nausea, dizziness, confusion, and delight have also occurred in some people.

Bonus Information on Ketamine Infusion Therapy

Ketamine is still being studied for use with many other physical and psychological disorders, like personality disorders, bipolar disorder, and chronic pain. There are other facts you should know before your infusion, including the following:

  • Ketamine is a schedule IV drug classified by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. It is a scheduled drug because when misused, it has the potential for someone to become addicted. When administered in a clinical setting by a physician and in the smallest dose, the chance of developing an addiction is very low.
  • You are only given ketamine during your infusion therapy. You will not leave the treatment with a prescription.
  • You are not allowed to drive after your infusion therapy.
  • Most people respond to ketamine infusion therapy during the first session, but it could take up to three to receive full effects.
  • Ketamine infusion therapy can be combined with cognitive-behavioral therapy. During your session, licensed mental health therapists can work with you to further extend the effects of ketamine. While you have an open mind and clarity, your therapist can guide you with positive thoughts and suggestions.
  • Typical ketamine infusion protocols require several sessions within a two to three-week period. Following up with maintenance sessions is preferred.
  • Some insurance companies cover esketamine nasal spray. Until more studies prove the effectiveness of ketamine, insurance companies will refuse to pay for some treatments.

Finding Treatment

If you are thinking about ketamine infusion therapy, seek a mental health center with a psychiatrist, nurse, and therapists specifically trained to administer treatments. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about everything from side effects to cost. If you are qualified, get ready to experience a new perspective on life.