Ketamine Therapy for Depression

If you have ever had depression, you understand what it feels like to feel sad and hopeless, even when things are going well. You have dealt with an empty feeling and lonely, even when surrounded by people you love. Fortunately, Ketamine therapy for depression has been proven to be a helpful path forward for many people.

In this article, you will learn more about Ketamine therapy for depression.

Ketamine Therapy for Depression

Severe depression is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain, mostly associated with the chemical called Serotonin. Depression is a brain disorder in which your brain cannot produce the right amount of Serotonin to make you feel happy.

For many, you have sought help from a professional. You have tried medication, therapy, and many other methods to alleviate the pain of depression. Yet, nothing seems to work. There may be a light at the end of the tunnel, however.

For many years, Ketamine was known as a horse drug. But it was much more than that before it was introduced into veterinarian medicine.

In the early 1960s, Ketamine was developed for use as an anesthetic. It was later used to treat soldiers in Vietnam. Unfortunately, Ketamine has become an illicit drug of choice, with many abusing it to obtain a recreational high. It is addictive, though, and quitting the drug is difficult.

Its benefits may outweigh this risk, however. About 20 years ago, Ketamine was introduced as a way to treat depression. It has shown great success.

One study showed Ketamine has immediate anti-depressant effects. So, what is Ketamine therapy for depression?

What is Ketamine?

The medicines used to treat depression today work to increase certain chemicals in the brain, like Serotonin. Ketamine does something different. It works to repair the way neurons in your brain work and improve how they communicate with one another.

Neurons send signals to other neurons, passing chemical signals. Depression may happen when neurons cannot communicate and trigger a release of the chemical signals, specifically the happy chemical signals.

Ketamine helps repair the neurons that are broken and unable to communicate inside the brain.

Why Ketamine Is Needed

Currently, there are millions of people taking anti-depressants. Some are taking two or more anti-depressants and seeing little relief. Or, they may be seeing an ebb and flow of relief. Further, tolerance increases the longer someone takes medication, forcing doctors to increase dosages to achieve the same result.
For many depression sufferers, anti-depressants are not working like they should and can potentially lead to side effects. Those with depression begin to feel like there is no hope for improvement. Depression negatively affects a person’s function and quality of life.

Something new is needed, and Ketamine may be the answer.

Ketamine Treatment Process

The first step in obtaining ketamine treatment is to complete a pre-treatment medical evaluation. This is done to ensure Ketamine is the best route and determine if you qualify for treatment—more details on qualifications below.

During the evaluation, your doctor will order labs to assess your physical health, check for interactions with any medications you may already be taking, assess mental health, and whether you have illnesses that may influence how the Ketamine works, like anxiety. The doctor will also test liver functions and any other organs that need to be healthy when taking Ketamine for depression.

Once you are cleared for ketamine treatment, your doctor will create your dose based on your weight. The doctor will then administer the drug via the most appropriate method for you, orally, or by infusion. After close monitoring and post-evaluation, you will return home. Follow-up involves staying in contact regularly with your physician until you are both satisfied with the results.

Additional treatments will be set up based on the length of time the Ketamine showed positive effects on your mental health.

If you want to try Ketamine, ask your doctor if you meet the qualifications.

Who Qualifies for Ketamine Treatment for Depression

Because ketamine treatment for depression is relatively new, there aren’t many long-term studies or guidelines to follow when approving someone. Based on your extensive evaluation, you and your doctor will create a plan that works for you.

Most people who qualify for ketamine treatments do have some commonalities. For example, standard treatments for depression have failed. Typical treatments can include medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes.

The depression that they experience is more than just the ordinary “blahs.” Instead, you find depression ranging from moderate to severe, and it may be interfering with your ability to function daily. Many have had suicidal thoughts, and some have attempted suicide. This is not a requirement, however.
Personality disorders, like Bipolar Disorder, may be present, with the depression being severe.

Also, people who struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain have had success with ketamine treatments.
Not everyone with severe depression or other disorders will qualify, unfortunately. Below are some of the reasons why.

Who Does Not Qualify for Ketamine Treatment for Depression

Some issues can cause the ketamine treatments not to work or make them worse. For example, if you are actively abusing drugs or alcohol, you will be disqualified from ketamine treatments for depression.

Ketamine is a drug that, if combined with illicit drugs, can cause overdose or death. Doctors will not administer Ketamine if it could potentially harm you.
Other factors include if you have a history of psychosis, if you have uncontrolled blood pressure issues, if you are pregnant, or if you have heart disease that is untreated or unstable.

Further, if you have a history of intracranial pressure or if you have tried ketamine treatments in the past and they did not work, your doctor will avoid prescribing Ketamine for treatment now.

Taking the First Step

If you are interested in learning more about the use of Ketamine to treat your depression, reach out to a psychiatrist or mental health center specializing in this type of treatment, virtually or by phone.

Create a list of questions, and when you meet with the doctor, he or she can provide answers. Together, you can create a treatment plan, possibly using Ketamine to treat your depression so you can enjoy living a happy life once again.

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