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HomeHealthHow ketamine works to treat depression and who it can help

How ketamine works to treat depression and who it can help


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Partygoers seeking a psychedelic high are drawn to ketamine, an anesthetic that is used to sedate both people and animals. It’s also getting a lot of attention as a quick-acting treatment for major mental health problems like depression.

Who will benefit from ketamine therapy the most?

Ketamine therapy is often only used for those with serious mental problems who have tried other medications unsuccessfully. People with acute suicidality and treatment-resistant depression have given it the greatest attention. 

Additionally, it might benefit those with PTSD, OCD, bipolar disorder, anxiety, and eating disorders. Therapeutic ketamine is unlikely to help those with specific diseases, such psychosis.

What data support the effectiveness of ketamine therapy?

Ketamine can serve as a quick antidepressant, reducing symptoms in many people within hours or days, according to numerous research. 

Although there are no long-term results, early small studies showed that ketamine therapy quickly and efficiently alleviated depression symptoms in 50–70% of patients. Traditional antidepressants may take four to six weeks to start working, and for some people, they may not function at all.

Standard antidepressants have the ability to alter the levels of specific brain chemicals related to mood and emotion, whereas ketamine works on a different neurotransmitter called glutamate. 

Ketamine has the capacity to alter the brain’s biochemistry, morphology, and functionality all at once. It is believed that ketamine works by making the brain more malleable and receptive to therapy or other ways of thinking.

What happens throughout ketamine therapy?

Most typically, intravenous infusions of ketamine therapy last for about 40 minutes. The dosage is decreased when the drug is being used to sedate. 

Additionally, sublingual pills that dissolve and intramuscular injections are growing in popularity. Combining esketamine nasal spray with antidepressant medication is common.

In a medical setting, ketamine patients frequently enjoy the treatment while relaxing in a comfy chair and listening to music. 

Although the amount of ketamine sessions may differ, many medical professionals advise beginning with six doses spaced out over two to three weeks. The course of treatment may also include talk therapy, which is frequently employed after the pharmacological effects have worn off.

How does receiving ketamine feel?

The feeling of therapeutic ketamine, according to patients, is similar to floating outside of one’s body and leaving one’s physical self behind. Colors may seem brighter to certain people due to heightened sensory awareness.

Ann McGill, 67, a severe depressive from Randolph, Massachusetts, likened her intranasal ketamine treatments to being inside a lava lamp. McGill characterized his ketamine therapy at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Massachusetts, as “like that little thing that floats around.” It’s incredibly serene, relaxing, and lovely.

Some patients could start crying or get anxious. Common side effects include nausea, fatigue, dizziness, poor coordination, and feelings of disassociation and unreality. Monitoring blood pressure is crucial during treatment because it may also increase.

Is it safe to use ketamine?

Most medical professionals agree that therapeutic ketamine is mostly risk-free when administered under supervision and after thorough patient screening, with the caveat that all medications include potential risks. They point out that due to its abuse potential, ketamine is still a restricted medication that is governed by the Drug Enforcement Administration and is subject to severe safety limitations. 

Doctors claim that some medications and medical conditions render ketamine therapy too dangerous for some patients, hence a full medical and mental health history is necessary before starting such treatment.

How is a prescription for ketamine obtained?

Ask a reputable medical professional or mental health professional about the benefits and drawbacks of therapeutic ketamine. There are about 600 clinicians in the United States that provide ketamine to treat thousands of patients for a variety of mental health conditions, according to ASKP3, the association of ketamine physicians.

Can ketamine be used as a self-medication?

A person considering ketamine treatment will achieve the best results, in the opinion of Raquel Bennett, a psychologist and the founder of the KRIYA Institute for Ketamine Research, if they take the time to discuss their options with a reputable practitioner or therapist.

Experts strongly advise against using ketamine as a self-medication because it can have detrimental physical and psychological effects and unmonitored patients may eventually form a dependency.

Why isn’t ketamine taken by everyone with depression if it works as well as it claims to?

Ketamine has the potential to be used as a treatment for several mental health conditions, according to many physicians. 

Ketamine is a commonly accessible generic drug, thus a pharmaceutical corporation would not be motivated to conduct a significant, high-quality investigation. Because of ketamine’s reputation as a party drug, the fact that it is still a prohibited substance, and the lack of long-term data, some medical professionals and patients are wary of it.

Visits to ketamines near me which are they permitted? Can ketamine therapy be administered at home?

Although ketamine is legal to administer for mental health conditions, there are currently no accepted international criteria for oversight or patient recommendations. 

The upshot has been a boom in ketamine providers of all kinds, from upscale wellness centers luring clients with zero-gravity chairs and soothing moon pods to mail-order ketamine subscriptions with “healing playlists.”


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