The Effectiveness of Ketamine Nasal Spray for Depression

Depression affects millions of people. Numerous people in America are feeling sad but can’t figure out why. They feel tearful or on the verge of crying for no apparent reason. Some are irritable and get defensive quickly. Some start misusing alcohol and drugs to cope and others want to commit suicide. There are so many levels and types of depression, making it one of the most common mental health disorders. But, for those looking for an effective treatment, hope may be found in the form of ketamine nasal spray for depression.

Typical Treatments for Depression

All depressive disorders are treatable. Psychiatrists can prescribe antidepressant medications to rebalance brain chemicals, including those that boost Serotonin. Medications are usually only prescribed when combined with behavioral therapies such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, family therapy, or peer support groups.

Additional treatments include alternative therapies such as meditation, prayer, yoga, acupuncture, fitness, nutrition, art, and music therapy. Combining treatments is meant to address the whole person, including the mind, body, and spirit. If you treat one problem but not the others, it becomes easier to have a depressive relapse.

Some people do not respond to typical depression treatments. They have tried different medications and different doses and combinations. They have attempted behavioral therapy and support groups. They have tried multiple alternative and holistic therapies. They have tried all this but still feel depressed and are classified as having treatment-resistant depression.

What is Treatment-Resistant Depression

In America, 33% of people with depression do not respond to conventional medicines and therapies. To be diagnosed with treatment-resistant depression, you must be evaluated by a psychiatrist familiar with medications you have tried and how they interact with other antidepressants and medications you may be taking. Plus, the many other risk factors for treatment-resistant depression. Your psychiatrist will look at the following:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Physical health
  • Physical, social, psychological, biological, and situations that are the cause of your depression
  • Blood work or lab work to assess overall functioning and if there are deficiencies
  • Previous medications and therapies

Once a comprehensive evaluation is complete, creating a treatment plan, with your input, can begin.

Treatment Strategies for Treatment-Resistant Depression

Psychiatrists and mental health professionals often use one or more strategies when treating depression that has not been resolved using traditional methods. One strategy is optimization, where the treatment is to continue using traditional medicines to see if they will begin to work given more time.

A second strategy is to switch to a different type of antidepressant. Some antidepressants work to boost Serotonin, like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Other antidepressant options include serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), tricyclic antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), and atypical antidepressants.

Two more strategies involve combining and augmenting antidepressants and other medications to achieve better results. Combination techniques focus on adding the same or different classes of antidepressants to your treatment. Augmentation strategies focus on adding non-antidepressants to your treatment.

Non-antidepressants may include thyroid or sex hormones, atypical antipsychotics, supplements like omega 3 fatty acids, glutamate, and a final option of somatic therapies.

Somatic therapies for treatment-resistant depression include transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), which sends an electric pulse to the nervous system, waking up the areas that control depression. Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) is not necessarily “shock therapy” as it has been classified. You are under anesthesia when a short electrical pulse is sent to the brain.

Studies show treatments like ECT are highly effective in treating depression.

Another treatment with positive results for resolving treatment-resistant depression is the ketamine nasal spray for depression.

What Is Ketamine?

Ketamine has been around for many decades. It was first used as anesthesia for soldiers during the Vietnam War. While ketamine was being studied by researchers and finding uses for it in treating mental illness, the drug also became popular among recreational drug users. The Drug Enforcement Administration eventually classified it as a Schedule III non-narcotic drug.

Ketamine remains on the schedule today. However, in clinical settings, the Food and Drug Administration has approved various applications for the treatment of depression. Psychiatrists receive ketamine for treatment in different forms, including a nasal spray and liquid for IV infusions.

The nasal spray is also called esketamine. It may be combined with oral antidepressants when necessary.

How is Ketamine Administered?

Esketamine must be given under the direction of a licensed psychiatrist in their office or a clinical setting. The nasal spray is administered by inserting a nasal spray container into each side of your nasal passages, then squeezing the bottle to release puffs of ketamine into your nasal passages.

You will be required to stay in the clinic for a few hours, and you will not be allowed to drive after receiving the treatment that day. You are given a minimal dose of ketamine, and the effects will peak within an hour. You will not experience what recreational ketamine users do when they take high doses and mix ketamine with other substances. Your experience will be safe and effective.

What Happens When Ketamine is Administered?

Ketamine will quickly enter your bloodstream and travel to the brain. It will signal your brain to release healthy amounts of glutamate, a neurotransmitter or chemical messenger in the brain that boosts mood. Glutamate is the most plentiful neurotransmitter in the brain. When ketamine is delivered, it affects more brain cells than oral antidepressants.

As ketamine takes effect, you will feel relaxed, calm, happy, and euphoric. Some people describe it as having an out-of-body experience.

Does It Work?

According to Yale Medicine, studies show that 70% of the group receiving ketamine and an oral antidepressant reported improved symptoms compared to those who didn’t receive ketamine. Other studies found participants experienced significant improvements within 24 hours of their initial ketamine dose.

Many treatment professionals find combining ketamine doses with psychotherapy prolongs the effects by weeks and months. To do this, your therapist will introduce positive thoughts and suggestions when you are benefiting from ketamine.

Do you have treatment-resistant depression or want to determine if you qualify for ketamine nasal spray for depression treatment? Call the Mental Health Center today. We can help!