Using Ketamine Infusion for Depression

Depression affects everyone, whether you have been diagnosed with depression or know someone who struggles. In some cases, people might experience treatment-resistant depression–leading to alternative therapies to find relief, such as Ketamine infusion for depression.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders defines depression as experiencing a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed, persistent low mood, appetite changes, sleep disturbances, fatigue, concentration and memory problems, and low self-esteem for at least two weeks.

In America, more than 17 million people experience depression. It affects more women than men, but that may be because women seek help for their symptoms more than men do. Depression is more severe in adolescents and young adults, ages 12 to 24, increasing among college students. Older persons have fewer depression episodes.

What Causes Depression?

There is not a single factor that leads to depression. Instead, multiple risk factors lead to the manifestation of a depressive disorder. A combination of the following is most associated with depression:

  • The brain’s structure and chemistry
  • Imbalanced neurotransmitters such as Serotonin
  • Genetics or a family history of mental illness
  • Life stressors or past traumas
  • Hormonal changes
  • Some medications

Research suggests that 10% to 30% of people treated for depression with traditional methods do not respond well and continue to struggle with symptoms. Even after trying multiple medications, medication combinations, and pairing medication with psychotherapy, their depression does not fade. The disorder is known as treatment-resistant depression.

One solution to treatment-resistant depression is the use of ketamine infusions.

What is a Ketamine?

Ketamine is a drug developed in the 1960s and was initially used as anesthesia to treat soldiers on the battlefield. During the 1970s, Ketamine became a drug abused recreationally and illegally, spurring President Nixon to ban the drug. Research throughout the years has consistently shown Ketamine is helpful as a medicine to treat mental health disorders.

Ketamine is classified as a hallucinogen, but it can also relieve pain and anxiety. It makes you feel as if you have detached or disassociated from your body, like you have an out-of-body experience. It also makes you feel calm and relaxed, and it can enhance or alters all the senses.

Today, the Federal Drug Administration has approved a Ketamine nasal spray for use in clinical settings under the supervision of a psychiatrist. Nasal sprays are not the only method for using Ketamine. Your psychiatrist may also administer an infusion.

What is a Ketamine Infusion?

Ketamine infusion for depression, also called IV Ketamine, is the administration of Ketamine through intravenous methods. Ketamine is given through the IV by a nurse or psychiatrist over a forty-minute to an hour slow drip. The dose you receive depends on your weight and how well you tolerate the medicine.

The dose you receive in ketamine infusion for depression will likely start at the lowest possible amount that produces effects. It is much less than a dose you would receive for anesthesia.

Ketamine addiction is not possible since you never receive a prescription or doses from taking it home with you. The drug cannot be misused or abused, making it impossible to form an addiction.

How Does Ketamine Infusion for Depression Work?

Neurotransmitters in the brain play a significant role in creating moods. For example, Serotonin boosts mood and makes you feel happier. Glutamate is one of the largest pathways of communication and regulation of the nervous system. When too many glutamate receptors are activated, it can lead to depression. Ketamine is a relaxant and blocks or limits glutamate receptors from activating.

Ketamine is also an anti-inflammatory drug. Inflammation is said to be a contributor to poor mental health.

While Ketamine is blocking glutamate production, it also opens the mind to a point where it is suggestible and can be influenced by environmental cues. This makes it the perfect treatment for ketamine-assisted psychotherapy.

What is Ketamine-Assisted Psychotherapy (KAP)?

When participating in a “normal” therapy session, it can take weeks and months to establish a close enough relationship with your therapist to allow your mind to open fully. You always have your guard up as protection. Doing so prevents you from reaching true healing in a short period.

After receiving your dose of Ketamine from your psychiatrist, your mental health therapist will guide you through a therapy session using meditative practices. They will introduce affirmations and positive feedback and guide you through processing trauma and moving past it.

Your therapist can suggest new thought patterns and perspectives to improve decision-making and better lifestyle choices. Ketamine-assisted psychotherapy produces results that last much longer when combined with ketamine infusion.

How Do I Start Ketamine Infusion Therapy?

The first step is an evaluation by a psychiatrist or licensed therapist to determine if you qualify for ketamine infusion treatments. You are eligible for therapy if you meet the following criteria:

  • You have already tried other therapies using medication combinations and adjusting dosages
  • You have tried other therapies such as TMS but without success
  • You have tried individual and group behavioral therapies
  • You don’t have any contraindications, including
    • Pregnancy
    • Uncontrolled blood pressure
    • Heart disease
    • History of psychosis or addiction
    • History of intracranial pressure
    • History of negative experience with Ketamine

Side Effects of Ketamine Infusion Therapy

Side effects can occur with anyone, just like with all other treatments. The side effects of ketamine infusion therapy are controllable and considered safe but may also be temporarily uncomfortable. Side effects may include:

  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Dissociation or feeling detached from reality
  • Altered perceptions and heightened senses

How Many Ketamine Infusion Therapy Sessions Do I Need?

Because every person and their depression is different, the number of ketamine infusion therapy sessions will vary. However, most people see the most significant results from six sessions within three weeks. The effects seem to last the longest using this protocol, for months and years.

If you are ready to learn more about ketamine infusion for depression, give us a call. We can tell you if you qualify and, if so, how to get started right away. We want to help you overcome treatment-resistant depression starting today.