There are growing mounds of evidence supporting the use ketamine to treat depression in adults. However, research about the effects of ketamine on teen depression has been limited to one small study out of the Yale School of Medicine. In this study, researchers treated a 16-year old boy suffering from severe depression and suicidal ideations with a series of ketamine infusions. The patient, who had previously resisted other pharmacological interventions and depression treatments, described himself as “hopeless at the prospect of psychiatric improvement.” After receiving ketamine infusions, though, the patient improved to the point that he could be safely discharged from his inpatient psychiatric facility and was able to go back to school, resuming a lifestyle much more consistent with that of other teenagers.

While miraculous, the results of this study pertained to just one case of adolescent depression—not nearly enough evidence to present ketamine as a first line of defense in other depressed teenagers. It did, however, prompt researchers at the University of Minnesota and the Mayo Clinic to perform a larger scale study of ketamine for teen depression—a study which has presented equally miraculous results.

Recently published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology, the results of this most recent study showed that, after receiving a series of six ketamine infusions, patients experienced an average decrease of 42% on the Children’s Depression Rating Scale. Five of the 13 patients actually achieved clinical remission of their symptoms, three of which remained in remission for more than six weeks.

Statistics show that 40% of adolescents fail to respond to first interventions for depression, and 50% of non responders fail to respond to second interventions. Ketamine infusions, as an option for those teenagers who fail to resist first- and second-line depression treatments, show great promise, and could literally save lives.

Left untreated, depression can thwart the development of adolescents, preventing them from reaching important milestones and, ultimately, causing lifelong mental and physical health problems. While more research on the long-term effects of ketamine is needed before we can recommend ketamine as a first line of defense against teen depression, for those teens suffering from suicidal thoughts or depression severe enough to prevent them from living normal lives, ketamine is truly a miracle.

ketamine for depression

Contact Ketamine Greater Boston

If your teen is struggling with severe depression or suicidal thoughts, ketamine infusions may be able to help. Effective in up to 70% of patients, ketamine infusions can provide hope to those who are hopeless. Contact us today to request a free consultation—we are happy to answer your questions, address any concerns, and point you in the direction of heath and wellness.