3 Ways Ketamine Therapy Can Be A Game-Changer In Treating Depression

Posted on: 8 March 2017

Ketamine, often thought of for its recreational use, has been increasingly studied for its therapeutic use. In addition to its benefits in treating pain, it may also be a novel treatment approach to treating depression.

Faster Onset

Although antidepressants and some antipsychotics can be helpful in reducing depression or the depressive phase of bipolar disorder, they typically require many weeks of therapy before a difference can be observed, if at all. Mental health professionals try their patients on a medication for upwards of two months before trying a different medication, increasing the dose of the current medication, or adding another medication to the current treatment regimen. In cases of severe depression, especially for people who are suicidal, the delayed onset is not good enough. Even in acute care settings, medications with a faster onset, such as antipsychotics, can only reduce psychotic episodes and may have a sedative effect. Ketamine can drastically reduce depressive symptoms quickly and may last for days.

Hope For Treatment-Resistant Depression

People with moderate to severe depression may have tried numerous medications over several years with little or no response to treatment. For some patients with unrelenting depression, more extreme measures may be used, such as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Ketamine provides new hope for those who may believe they will never achieve a better quality of life. Medical professionals believe ketamine can have better effects in people with treatment-resistant depression because it works on the brain in a different way.

Reducing Self-Medication

When medications are available that provide faster relief of symptoms or have better effects than ones currently available, self-medication becomes less of a concern. Unfortunately, some people with depression indulge in self-medication with drugs and/or alcohol. Not only can this behavior lead to drug or alcohol addiction, but it can have consequence on their body and brain function. Some people may find themselves in dangerous and reckless situations due to their self-medication. Since ketamine remains a hallucinogen and sedative at higher levels, it is given by a doctor in a controlled setting. Ketamine can be administered intravenously or through a nasal spray. It is also administered at lower doses, once per week or less often, to prevent euphoric effects. The controlled dispensing of ketamine prevents the risk of drug abuse.

Reducing the stigma attached to ketamine as purely a recreational drug can open doors for further investigations into therapeutic uses. The benefits of ketamine for depression can give mental health professionals new options for their patients. To learn more, contact a medical center like IV Wellness Center.