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Ketamine Infusion for Depression
Ketamine infusion was once primarily used as a sedative in operating rooms and on battlefields. Recently, the drug is becoming popular as an effective treatment for depression, which is a major cause of disability around the world. In the United States, estimates reveal 16 million Americans suffered from major depression during a year, which is why many are turning to ketamine infusions.
Why use Ketamine for depression
If a patient can be treated with ketamine infusion, doctors can quickly lower suicidal thoughts and alleviate other severe symptoms of depression. Ketamine can also work for people dealing with depression and anxiety.
Most of the treatments for depression and its symptoms usually take several weeks or months to produce any significant effect, and some patients need to use different drugs and therapies to get any relief. This applies to antidepressant drugs, psychotherapy, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), which is presently the most effective treatment for severe depression that cannot be treated with other approaches. Ketamine infusion is a quick-acting therapy and its effects are noticeable within an hour or less.
Types of ketamine
Doctors use two major forms of ketamine to treat depression that is resistant to medications. They include:
Ketamine infusion: Also called intravenous or racemic ketamine, this treatment is administered as an infusion into the blood. It contains a combination of two molecules: “R” and “S” ketamine.
Esketamine (Spravato): This is administered as a nasal spray and uses only an “S” molecule.
How ketamine works
Mental health conditions have been linked to anomalies in the signal channels of the central nervous system. Ketamine acts by rebuilding the communication pathways, thus resolving or overturning the adverse neurochemical effects of mental disorders like depression.
One potential target of ketamine is NMDA receptors in the brain. Ketamine fuses with this receptor to boost the level of a neurotransmitter known as glutamate. Glutamate then triggers communication with another receptor known as the AMPA receptor. With the restriction of the NMDA receptors and initiation of the AMPA receptors, this triggers the production of other molecules that help communications between neurons along new channels. This process, called synaptogenesis influences cognition, thought patterns and mood.
Ketamine infusions can also have other effects on depression. For instance, it might lower signals contributing to inflammation, which has been associated with mood disorders or ease communications in some regions of the brain. More studies are ongoing on the impact of ketamine on the brain.
Determining treatment success
Patients will complete mental health symptoms and screen scales before commencing treatment, a day after each infusion and one week after ketamine infusion ends. This will help verify the reaction. Sometimes, the effects are noticeable as early as 40 minutes after the ketamine infusion, usually two to four hours later, but it may take up to 24 hours later. Patients can expect to wake up feeling noticeably different – less sad, more calmness, more hopeful, less depressive or suicidal thoughts and more inclined to interact with people.
Ketamine infusion is highly effective for patients who have depression or mental disorders. To know if you are eligible for ketamine infusion, book an appointment for a consultation.
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