Ketamine is a legal, safe and effective treatment option for treatment-resistant depression (TRD), major depressive disorder, PTSD, and anxiety.
It has the potential to accelerate the healing process in individuals suffering from an array of distressing mental health symptoms.
Since it came on the market as an anesthesia drug in the 1960’s many physicians have observed and reported its antidepressant effects. But we’ve just seen in the last 20 years a resurgence of its use for depression as ketamine clinics have popped up across the nation. It is the first truly new antidepressant in over 30 years, as it works on an entirely different neurotransmitter system, the glutamate system. Every other antidepressant on the market works on the monoamine system – to enhance serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine.
In the early 2000’s that formal studies began looking at the effects of low-dose (subanesthetic) ketamine on depression. Since then there have been hundreds of papers repeating the overall positive effects, demonstrating we in fact do have a new, fast-acting, low side-effect medication for depression, and especially hopeful for treatment-resistant depression.
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“Ketamine is ‘a time-out from ordinary mind,’ allowing a much needed respite from the psychological exhaustion brought about by depression.”
Ketamine provides a window for change; it is not a “one-shot wonder.” Those who understand this, and view ketamine as a part of their overall treatment plan will have better odds of recovery and remission. It is important to continue therapy, self-care, and integration between ketamine therapy sessions to obtain the most benefit.
It’s important to understand that ketamine is not a cure for depression. It is a catalyst, one that can have rapid and long-lasting effects in some, while others require multiple sessions and require maintenance dosing every few months. It has been studied for major depressive disorder, bipolar depression, PTSD, OCD, eating disorders and treatment-resistant depression. Ketamine has specifically shown significant promise for treating suicidal ideation. While there are common responses, the character of ketamine (and depression for that matter) is that it’s different for everyone. No clinician should promise you a cure nor will they be able determine how many sessions you will need at the start of treatment. It is important for the patient to understand they are entering a relationship with the medicine and the clinician — they are embarking on a journey of healing wherein they have an active role.
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