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How Does a Ketamine Infusion Work?
A ketamine infusion is a treatment for depression and other behavioral disorders. It is administered intravenously through the arm and the result can last for several days or weeks. When used for treating neuropathic pain, the goal of ketamine is to lower pain and increase the patient’s sensitivity to analgesia, thus decreasing the dose of meds required for pain management.
How a ketamine infusion works
Ketamine is popular for its history as an abused substance and an anesthesia medicine on the battlefield. Ketamine is a drug that works as a sedative (sleep-inducing), analgesic (pain relief) and amnesia-inducer (temporary memory loss).
Ketamine is a dissociative agent that works on a particular chemical receptor called N-methyl-D-aspartate or NMDA, which is located in the nervous system and partially regulates pain. However, ketamine also works on other receptors, expanding its use as a clinical drug. NMDA, an amino acid present in 80 percent of neurons, is one of the major neurotransmitters in the brain. It helps to control information exchange and communication between different parts of the brain and the body.
Ketamine infusion works uniquely, compared to other treatments for depression. The use of ketamine for depression lies in its effects on the brain. For instance, medications such as oral SSRI antidepressants are supposed to help improve hormonal balance in the brain by boosting serotonin levels. On the contrary, ketamine repairs brain damages caused by long-term stress hormones by modifying the brain’s NMDA receptors.
Ketamine blocks NMDA (also called glutamate) receptors, which many believe plays a major role in depression. As it blocks the receptors, it changes how brain cells communicate and directly affects other brain receptors, including opiate receptors which play a part in pain responses and depression.
Since ketamine acts on the receptors and not in changing hormone balances, the effects are significantly faster. Unlike traditional antidepressants that take between four to eight weeks to cause any noticeable changes, ketamine acts almost instantly – sometimes within minutes. During a study of the effects of ketamine infusion on patients with treatment-resistant bipolar depression, participants noticed changes regarding a major symptom within one hour of the initial ketamine infusion.
For stress and pain
During stress, the body responds by producing cortisol and other hormones into the brain, which ends up damaging its pathways. Ketamine infusions help to repair the damages and have been proven to work faster in restoring brain plasticity.
For pain treatment, ketamine can inhibit and “reset” pain receptors in the rain and create a balance between neurons and hormones by altering the level of glutamate and GABA (Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid). This restricts the nerve channels that are responsible for pain sensations while enabling normal functions of the nerve.
Ketamine infusion therapy can be included as a part of a multi-modal treatment plan to treat and resolve neuropathic and chronic pain. Patients who depend mostly on opioids for pain management can turn to ketamine to reduce or eliminate narcotic use and obtain lasting relief.
When traditional treatments fail, ketamine infusion is the safest and quick-acting option to consider for long term relief. To learn more about the procedure, book an appointment for a consultation.
Check out what others are saying about our services on Yelp: Ketamine Infusion in Columbia, SC.
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