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Ketamine Treatment for Depression

the university of utah reports 60-70% of patients who take ketamine for depression respond positively

Not everyone is responsive to antidepressants or wants to spend their time in a funk while waiting for them to kick in. Many people have enjoyed success at a much faster pace than offered by traditional pharmacology by using experimental therapies such as ketamine for depression. Depression is more than simply feeling low; it carries symptoms that can greatly impede your daily life activities and overall quality of life. Read on to learn more about how ketamine helps fight depression and to find out how to access ketamine therapy in Florida.

The importance of a speedy recovery from major depressive disorder

Normal antidepressants like SSRIs take two to six weeks to work, with some users reporting waiting three months for relief. Severe depression or Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is classified as suffering from chronic, extended, and otherwise unexplained periods of:

• Slow thinking or “brain fog”

• Pain such as backaches and migraines

• Feelings of hopelessness, meaninglessness, sadness, tearfulness, or emptiness

• Moodiness and fits of anger

• Constant feelings of being tired and drained

• Insomnia

• Anxiety

• Restlessness and agitation or fidgeting

• Rumination on past trauma or self-blame

• Trouble making decisions like showering or eating

• Lack of self-care efforts

• Suicidal thoughts and ideation

It might be hard to understand why you’re having such negative feelings and puts you at a higher risk of developing unhealthy coping mechanisms, such as addictive behaviors like excessive gambling, video gaming, or sex addiction. For some people, the light at the end of the tunnel seems far too distant, and unfortunately, they succumb to their depression before treatment begins working. The National Institute of Health estimates that about half of people that commit suicide fit a diagnosis of MDD and sadly were unable to find effective treatment in time.

Treatment-resistant depression

Many people who experience the symptoms of depression can seek and find treatment, resuming their normal lives after a seemingly short period. However, up to two-thirds of people seeking treatment for their depression fail after the first attempt. After the second failed attempt to manage depression with medication, a person can be diagnosed with treatment-resistant depression.

Up until now, the only known medical aid for treatment-resistant depression has been electroconvulsive, or “electroshock,” therapy. While this therapy is typically seen as a last result due to the traumatic nature of the treatment, because it tends to work quickly on the most stubborn depressive episodes, doctors now recommend it be used as early as the third attempt at treating severe depression. This treatment can be immediately effective against severe symptoms such as suicidal ideation, but it does pose some long-term side effects, such as:

• Memory loss

• Apathy and overall loss of energy, motivation, and inspiration to create

• Trouble learning new information

• Lack of emotion

• Difficulty concentrating

Since around 70% of people with MDD respond only for a short period, if at all, to Since about 70% of people with MDD respond only for a short period, if at all, to traditional SSRI medications and psychotherapy, it’s vital to discover a therapy for your depression that works. Ketamine is widely accepted as a legitimate treatment for more severe forms of depression without the side effects of electroshock.

Unlike classical antidepressants that can take a while for a person to start feeling long-term relief, ketamine works like a quick shot of serotonin to the nervous system. It works by decreasing feelings of depression and anxiety for some users nearly immediately while having a lasting impact on their mood. The future of therapy could include using ketamine as a rapid-acting antidepressant, and an aide in individual talk therapy sessions, much like MDMA is used in psychotherapy alongside the help of a counselor.

Ketamine for treating depression

By acting as an NMDA antagonist, ketamine improves synoptical uptake and neuroplasticity by managing the number of excitement synapses undergo, limiting excitotoxicity. This is the principle that says over-exerted synapses will die or lose efficiency, leading to a decline in overall neural functionality. This behavior is much like that of a person who suffers from depression, slowing down as they feel more overwhelmed by their daily tasks. As it turns out, ketamine influences many processes within the brain.

Researchers out of Vanguard University show that ketamine therapy is not only immediately effective within an hour of injection but is long-lasting, with users reporting relief of depression symptoms for weeks after treatment. They discovered that the gene to thank is MeCP2. Its association with synaptic plasticity works together with ketamine to provide long-term relief from depression, with the beneficial effects building upon each other over time.

Modern antidepressants use the MeCP2 gene to address depression in patients, with research showing that the gene aids neurodevelopment and synaptic plasticity in adults, and irregularities in MeCP2 have been linked to stress and mood disorders. It’s in this way that ketamine proves valuable to treating depression, as its presence compounds immediately upon the neurofunctional efforts of the MeCP2 gene and strengthens over time.

The National Institute of Health recognizes ketamine as having profound effects on other brain structures and processes critical to remaining happy and healthy, such as BDNF. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, is a neurotrophic protein that influences memory and learning. In addition to keeping the brain plastic and able to grow cognitively, BDNF has been linked to mental health, with studies showing patients with depression also tend to have suppressed BDNF expression.

Unsurprisingly, the holistic brain-healing benefits of ketamine can be applied to a range of mental disorders on top of depression. New research out of Cambridge University upon ketamine use in a broad spectrum of mental health disorders shows that ketamine can be extremely helpful in treating depression as well as:

• Bi-polar disorder


• Suicidal thoughts and ideation

• Major depressive disorder (MDD)

This is an especially important discovery for the field of dual diagnosis mental health disorders and treatment because depression is comorbid with the above and other disorders, especially substance abuse disorder. The number of people who turn to substance abuse in an attempt to self-medicate their mental health disorders increases every year, with recent studies showing over 17 million Americans living with co-occurring disorders of chemical dependency and mental health issues. If you or a loved one is suffering from mental illness and substance abuse, or both, seek out a dual diagnosis addiction treatment program.

Effects of ketamine

Ketamine is found in a powder, tablet, or liquid form, and a doctor usually administers the drug via an injection. There are also new FDA-approved medications on the market now that allow patients to take ketamine with a nasal spray. Ketamine works on your energy and cognition levels by affecting the neurotransmitter glutamate that’s present in the frontal cortex, essentially improving the speed and quality of neural signals that help you think and move. Once ingested, it speeds up the heart rate and lowers blood pressure while altering the user’s cognition.

Using ketamine doesn’t always provide the same effects for everyone, but most people in clinical trials for ketamine report a noticeable shift in perception, with lights, colors, sounds, and shapes distorting in different ways. The hallucinogenic effects last only 45 to 90 minutes, depending on the method of consumption, but the resulting brain fog can last anywhere from 24 hours to three days.

Ketamine side effects

Some side effects are associated with ketamine use, and they can be more pronounced at higher doses of the drug. They include:

• Dilated pupils

• Uncontrollable eye movement such as twitching

• Nausea

• Muscle stiffness

• Tears

• Dizziness

• Drowsiness and feeling of “being in a dream”

• Slowed breathing and unconsciousness

• Flushed skin

• Amnesia

These effects tend to occur as soon as the drug is administered, within ten minutes to an hour, with the brain fog-type symptoms lasting the majority of the day.

Ketamine withdrawal

As ketamine is more of a mentally dissociative drug, as opposed to drugs designed to treat pain, for example, there are significantly fewer physical withdrawal symptoms than what is seen with other drugs. People who form a chemical dependency on ketamine typically experience psychological withdrawal symptoms such as cravings and ruminating over experiences they had while on the drug. Mindfulness and individual therapy are the most effective treatments for craving addictive substances, reach out to a Haven Detox in Florida drug or alcohol addiction counselor today to seek help if you’re facing withdrawal.

ketamine infusions infographic

Ketamine for depression Frequently Asked Questions

Is ketamine addictive?

Like with any drug, abusing ketamine can lead to addiction. With that being said, ketamine is less inherently addictive and has fewer withdrawal symptoms than other psychoactive drugs. In addition, ketamine treatment for depression is undertaken in a controlled environment for a specific length of time, further lowering the risk of developing a dependency on the chemical.

Is ketamine legal?

Ketamine is a Schedule III controlled substance due to the lower potential for abuse, but abusing it is a crime in the United States. It has been approved for use medicinally, as an anesthetic, and more recently as a potential therapy for some mental health disorders.

Is using ketamine to treat depression safe?

It is possible to overdose on higher doses of ketamine, but clinical ketamine infusions use lower doses and a strict regimen to guarantee the utmost safety. Furthermore, in the case of accidental toxicity due to intolerance or some other issue, a licensed ketamine treatment center will have the medical staff and equipment to handle any emergency that could arise.

Is ketamine therapy expensive?

Health insurance may cover your mental health and substance abuse-related medical costs. Verify your insurance easily online with Haven Detox and get help seeking treatment for your mental health issues. We accept a range of insurance providers for those in need of therapy, dual diagnosis treatment, and recovery coaching in Florida and New England, and we offer competitive rates based on severity and need. Call 561-328-8627 to speak with a certified depression and recovery coach today and get started on your recovery journey.

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