As ketamine therapy becomes more and more popular as an effective way of treating conditions like depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), many are wondering whether ketamine therapy could be right for them. Ketamine therapy works by stimulating a different part of the brain, allowing patients to relax and escape stressors.
Although originally used as an anesthetic in the 1960s, ketamine therapy has caught the attention of medical professionals for its potential to treat treatment-resistant depression. In this way, ketamine therapy could provide hope to numerous patients who previously felt hopeless. Before starting treatment, patients must determine whether ketamine therapy is the right choice for them.
Learn more about the different types of ketamine treatment, who is eligible for this therapy, how treatment works and what to expect from the process. Find out whether this treatment could be a viable option for your recovery plan.
Different Types of Ketamine Therapy: Infusion Therapy vs. Esketamine
Before discussing who is eligible for ketamine therapy and whether ketamine treatment is the right choice for you, it’s helpful to know the different types of ketamine treatment available. The two main variations of ketamine therapy are IV ketamine and esketamine.
Intravenous (IV) ketamine therapy contains S-ketamine and R-ketamine. When administered through an IV, ketamine is completely bioavailable, which means the body can absorb all of it. Other methods of delivering this type of ketamine include intranasal, such as nasal spray, oral and intramuscular injection.
Although ketamine has a negative reputation for being a party drug and causing hallucinations when used recreationally, the quantities of ketamine used for IV ketamine therapy are far lower than the quantities taken recreationally. Receiving IV ketamine for treatment-resistant depression in a clinical format ensures a patient receives a low enough amount to help prevent dissociative symptoms.
Also known as S-ketamine, esketamine has only the S molecule. SPRAVATO™ is an effective esketamine treatment that the FDA approved for treating treatment-resistant depression in 2019. In esketamine treatment, it is believed that the S molecule in the medication binds to the brain’s N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors to help alleviate the symptoms of depression.
Specifically, esketamine can increase a patient’s levels of glutamate, a neurotransmitter that binds to NMDA receptors and triggers depressive symptoms. Increasing glutamate levels allows the glutamate to connect more with AMPA receptors that improve the overall communication among the brain’s neurons. Enhancing this communication helps stabilize a patient’s mood, boost their cognition and regulate their thought patterns.
Who Is Eligible for Ketamine Treatment?
For those with treatment-resistant depression, severe anxiety, bipolar disorder or PTSD, ketamine treatment may be the solution to managing the symptoms of their condition. Interested individuals should see a physician to receive a professional opinion on whether ketamine treatment would benefit them. In most cases, those who are eligible for ketamine treatment include:
- Those who have already tried various medication combinations and dosages for their condition without experiencing any relief from symptoms
- Those who have not responded fully to individual cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or group therapy
- Those who have tried other therapies, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), without effect
- Those who are not pregnant and do not have uncontrolled hypertension, acute cardiovascular disease, a history of psychosis, substance abuse disorder or increased intracranial pressure
- Those who have not had a previous negative reaction to ketamine treatment
While ketamine therapy is not the first treatment to use against depression, it can bring relief to those with treatment-resistant depression who feel as if they have exhausted all their treatment options. For people who have not experienced success with other antidepressants, ketamine therapy can help.
The fast-acting nature of ketamine therapy makes it an especially useful treatment for halting the downward spiral of depression into suicidal ideation. A physician will perform an extensive analysis of your current and past health to determine whether you are a fitting candidate for ketamine treatment.
FDA Approval and Ketamine Treatment Uses
The FDA approval of esketamine nasal spray made a groundbreaking therapy more accessible to patients with major depression and other serious mental health conditions. Ketamine treatment is the first antidepressant therapy in decades that is not simply a spinoff of existing drugs. As a revolutionary therapy, ketamine treatment offers more patients than ever the chance to see what life is like depression-free.
Below are some of the main ketamine treatment uses and their benefits.
Rapid Relief for Depression
While most antidepressants are slow-acting, ketamine treatment immediately impacts the patient’s brain cells. In this way, using esketamine for depression can offer patients relief from depressive symptoms within hours rather than days, weeks or months.
Decreasing Suicidal Thoughts
Traditional antidepressants can potentially increase suicidal thoughts toward the beginning of treatment, especially for younger patients. However, esketamine has proved to decrease suicidal thoughts, suggesting the treatment has the potential to save lives.
Managing Treatment-Resistant Depression
It is not uncommon for people with depression to not respond to most of the conventional antidepressants available. In these cases, ketamine therapy is often the only treatment able to reduce their depressive symptoms without causing negative side effects.
Helping the Brain Form New Connections
Leaving depression untreated can result in up to 20% shrinkage of the hippocampus, a region of the brain that is crucial for learning and memory functions. Ketamine treatment may help counteract this harmful effect by reversing the stress-related changes that depression can cause in the brain.
The Ketamine Treatment Process at Principium Psychiatry
At Principium Psychiatry, we provide ketamine therapy as an effective treatment option for patients who have not experienced success with other depression treatments. When you receive ketamine treatment from Principium Psychiatry, you can expect excellent care in a safe, professional environment. From the moment you enter the clinic, our team will do everything they can to help you feel welcome, comfortable and heard.
At your initial visit, you’ll undergo a thorough pre-treatment process that includes a comprehensive evaluation of your overall health and medical history. If you are determined to be a suitable candidate for ketamine therapy, your first IV ketamine infusion or SPRAVATO™ — esketamine nasal spray — treatment session will be scheduled.
You will get to choose whether to have your ketamine treatment sessions at either our Wall Street or Midtown location. Each session will be monitored by a member of our highly experienced team and take place in a private room. For IV ketamine treatment, you will rest in a comfortable chair while the treatment is infused through an IV over the span of about an hour. The majority of patients consider this time to be relaxing.
After the ketamine infusion is complete, you will rest in the recovery area so our medical team can assess your condition before clearing you to go home. The IV ketamine treatment course usually comprises between six to 10 infusions, with sessions occurring two to three times per week. For those who are uncomfortable with needles, we offer SPRAVATO™ (esketamine) nasal spray treatments that are equally as effective.
Contact Us to Learn More About Our Treatment Options
If you’re wondering whether ketamine treatment is right for you, contact Principium Psychiatry today. Our goal is to provide the latest, effective treatments for mood and anxiety disorder to patients in the heart of New York City. A knowledgeable and caring Principium Psychiatry team member would love to discuss how ketamine might help you and assist you in determining which treatment option is best for you.
Take the first step toward overcoming the debilitating symptoms of depression by booking your appointment with Principium Psychiatry today.