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4 Things to Know About Ketamine Therapy for Major Depression

Ketamine has been used as a sedative, anesthetic, and pain-killer in the past. However, recent studies have shown it as a promising therapy for treatment-resistant depression. Because of its quick-action, it can be especially effective in people with suicidal tendencies. If you have major depression, bipolar disorder, a personality disorder, then your doctor may recommend exploring ketamine therapy. Below are some of the basics you will need to know about this form of treatment. 

How It Helps Treat Depression

Recent studies have shown ketamine to be an effective treatment for depression with potentially long-lasting positive effects. However, it is not known exactly how or why ketamine can reduce depression. One theory is that it blocks some receptors in the brain while activating others, which allows new synaptic connections to be created. This can improve mood. Another theory is that it reduces neural inflammation. 

While doctors are still studying the exact method of action, studies consistently show it reduces depression and anxiety. 

Treatment Is Usually Administered Intravenously

Ketamine therapy can be done either intravenously or with a nose spray. At the moment, most ketamine therapy is delivered in a clinical setting through a slow IV drip. Sessions last about an hour, and it is important that you are monitored throughout your session. Although ketamine therapy depression is given at a lower dose than ketamine for anesthetic purposes, there are still some risks associated with treatment such as temporary dissociation, nausea, and vomiting. In a clinical setting, your therapist can adjust your dose to reduce these symptoms. 

It Works Quickly Compared to Other Treatments 

Most medical treatments for depression can take two weeks or a month to begin to work, and during the first few months, there is a risk of the medication causing suicidal thoughts. This is especially concerning as most people taking antidepressants are not under close supervision. Ketamine can start working within one or two treatments, which are usually spaced a few days or a week apart. This can provide immediate relief, giving you time to determine a long-term treatment plan if necessary. 

It Is Not For People With Addiction Issues

One thing to keep in mind is that ketamine can be addictive and has the potential for abuse. Because of this it is not recommended for people with substance abuse issues and should be given under the supervision of a medical professional. 

If you are interested in ketamine therapy as a potential treatment for major depression, talk to a psychiatrist or other medical professional in your area.