Since 1970, Ketamine has been FDA-approved as an anesthetic for operations and procedures. At low doses, ketamine injections treat depression, pain, and other conditions—including substance use disorders and mental health diagnoses.
With an increase in depression and addiction around the world, many people have turned to medications like ketamine to soothe their pain, improve their mood, and stabilize their outlook on life. While most traditional medications require daily administration of a dose and take weeks to see influence—ketamine does not. Ketamine is effective when other treatment approaches (like talk therapy and medicines) fail to bring results.
If you respond to ketamine, you can rapidly reduce symptoms of depression, PTSD, pain, and other disorders that cause suffering. Some studies show its effectiveness and therapeutic benefits can happen in hours; others indicate a higher response rate than SSRI antidepressants.
Types of Ketamine
When you have “treatment-resistant” depression, it means two or more medications haven’t changed your condition. If ketamine is your next step, two forms can be chosen:
- Racemic ketamine—This form is given as an infusion through an IV. While it is not “on-label” for depression, it is the approved mixture for anesthetic that the FDA approves.
- Esketamine—This form was approved in 2019 under the brand name, Spravato, and it’s a nasal spray that makes dosages more convenient and comfortable.
Ketamine is most researched as an infusion, and the two forms interact with the brain differently. The effectiveness of therapy (and its side effects) is affected by the delivery, dose, and type of ketamine. Research into these differences is ongoing.
Ketamine Therapy for Depression
Many of the most serious symptoms—such as suicidal ideation, insomnia, and feeling worthless—are quickly treated with ketamine infusions, sprays, or experiences.
Depression Symptoms Treated
- Consuming, low mood
- Trouble sleeping
- Loss of energy
- Changes in appetite
- Weight gain or loss
- Feelings of worthlessness
- Thoughts of death and suicide
Who Can Receive Ketamine Therapy?
Ketamine is not a “first-line” therapy. That means you must try other ways of treating your depression, anxiety, and PTSD without infusions. While ketamine can be highly effective and speedy, doctors advise patients to try antidepressants, talk therapy, and even TMS before turning to ketamine infusion therapy.
Am I Eligible for Ketamine Therapy?
If you have such treatment-resistant depression, ketamine might help. You will want to explore your condition, needs, and risk tolerance with your provider. You can be eligible for ketamine therapy if the following are true:
- You have tried other medications without relief.
- You have tried later-line therapies like TMS.
- You have tried individual and group therapy.
- You don’t cross any of the following safety restrictions.
Ketamine Safety Restrictions
Ketamine may not be safe for minors, those who have a primary psychotic disorder (such as schizophrenia), or people with a suicide attempt in the last year. Biological females who are pregnant, nursing, or planning to have children may also not qualify.
Some medical conditions could prevent you from benefiting from ketamine therapy:
- uncontrolled hypertension
- acute cardiovascular disease
- previously negative ketamine response
- intracranial pressure
- History of psychosis
How Does Ketamine Infusion Therapy Work?
Ketamine’s mechanism forces an antidepressant effect to help you effectively manage depression when other medications, therapies, and treatments have failed. Primarily, ketamine works with NMDA receptors and glutamate in the brain to uplift.
The NMDA receptors are responsible for learning and memory, while glutamate activates connections. By stimulating new pathways through NMDA and glutamate responses, ketamine creates “synaptogenesis.”
Synaptogenesis is the formation of new points of contact for the brain to transmit information, reintegrating the architecture of the brain. As a result, ketamine affects mood and thought by reducing depressive symptoms, but it may work in more ways.
Ketamine reduces brain inflammation—a key condition related to mood disorders in general—and improves communication within critical areas of the brain. With all these functions, ketamine makes a quick, enjoyable impact on recovery.
Side Effects of Ketamine Therapy
Most evidence-based treatments for depression come with side effects. The possible benefit of ketamine therapy, however, can outweigh the potential risks of using the medication, especially when someone has severe depression and treatment resistance. Ketamine infusions can cause:
- High blood pressure
Infusions might also cause perceptual changes such as visual disturbances and dissociation. Sometimes people call these out-of-body experiences, and they have the perception of time slowing down or speeding up. Usually, perceptual disturbances and dissociation are noticeable only during the first treatment and end quickly.
Is Ketamine Therapy Effective?
Because ketamine has traditionally been used for surgery, it immediately calms the mind and relieves pain. The more long-term benefits of ketamine for major depression, migraines, PTSD, chronic pain, OCD, and even bipolar disorder are being documented.
Among them, ketamine can help decrease the need for narcotics and quickly treat depressive moods, giving it far-reaching applications for substance abuse and mental health treatment.
Benefits of Ketamine Therapy
When you consider that depression is the leading cause of disability in the world, ketamine shows impressive potential. One-third of patients don’t feel improvement from conventional antidepressants and talk therapy, so ketamine stands out:
- Fast-acting relief—Ketamine works within hours rather than days, weeks, or months like other medications.
- High rates of success—Ketamine works for more than half of people with treatment-resistant depression.
- Lasting remission—Ketamine influences changes in the function and structure of the brain, creating long-term results.
Recover with Ketamine at The Haven Detox
The Haven Detox provides safe, cutting-edge treatment to people with major depression, addiction, and other mental health struggles. Our beautiful campus houses the latest treatments and most-qualified specialists to deliver ketamine and adjunct therapies.
Recover a sense of satisfaction out of life in a supervised, secure, and state-of-the-art space. If you struggle with depression, addiction, or another condition and want ketamine treatment—contact our counselors to discuss recovery. Call 561-328-8627.