Ketamine for Depression: What to Expect

Ketamine for Depression: What to Expect

The current numbers surrounding depression are alarming in large part due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

In the last pre-pandemic year, nearly 20 million American adults were affected by depression, but new numbers show that a third of adults show signs of clinical anxiety and/or depression, an increase of about four times.

Whether your depression is related to the global pandemic or not, you’re tired of being imprisoned by feelings of hopelessness, sadness, and despair, and you want a way out. 

If you’ve tried other treatments to no avail, it might be time to try ketamine infusion therapy. Our team offers these treatments here at Pain Medicine Consultants.

Here’s a look at how ketamine works to combat depression and what you can expect from treatment.

Ketamine and depression

Nearly three years ago, in March 2019 to be exact, the Food and Drug Administration approved the use of ketamine for treatment-resistant depression — more specifically, a nasal spray called esketamine.

The trials that led up to this approval were impressive. One study found that 70% of patients who received ketamine and an antidepressant improved, compared to a little more than half in the group that received no medications. 

These results prompted mental health and pain management specialists to call ketamine a game-changer when it comes to addressing treatment-resistant depression.

The exact mechanism behind the effects that ketamine has on depression is still unknown, but we do know that ketamine encourages production of glutamate, an amino acid in your brain that acts as a neurotransmitter. 

We believe that the increase of glutamate creates newer, healthier neural pathways that steer you away from depression and toward better mood regulation.

Different methods for delivering ketamine

At our practice, we deliver ketamine through NeuraxxisMD IV ketamine infusion therapy. With this approach to treating depression, we deliver the ketamine intravenously, which means it acts quickly to change the neural pathways in your brain.

If we determine that your depression may benefit from ketamine, we get your started on an IV treatment plan. 

The process is quite easy. You come in and we hook you up to an IV for about an hour. After a 30-minute recovery period, you’re free to go. Please have someone drive you because you’ll be unable to drive for 12 hours after each treatment.

It’s hard to say how many treatments you’ll need. We prefer to create a schedule as you go and monitor how you respond. Many of our patients report immediate results, which is why ketamine is becoming a frontline treatment for patients who are suicidal because of depression.

While we can’t put a number to your treatment plan, we can say that most patients benefit from a series of ketamine IV infusions.

If you have more questions about what to expect during ketamine treatments or whether this approach is right for your depression, please contact one of our locations in Pleasant Hill, Pleasanton, or Corte Madera, California, to set up a consultation.

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