What is Ketamine for Depression?
Ketamine has been shrouded in negative light due to its history of abuse as a “club drug.” However, since the late 1990s, ketamine has earned itself a new reputation as a medical breakthrough for the treatment of severe depression and other psychiatric disorders. The science behind ketamine therapy is more than just promising—it has been hailed as a “miracle drug,” and, as more and more patients find relief from their depressive symptoms, the negative connotations associated with ketamine slip more and more away.
How Does Ketamine Therapy Work?
Ketamine therapy was originally given as an anesthetic in the 1960s during the Vietnam War. Today, ketamine is still used as an anesthetic and analgesic, however the drug has gained popularity for its ability to quickly and effectively treat mental health disorders. Ketamine infusions can treat severe depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, personality disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder and acute suicidality.
Patients receive low-dose ketamine infusions through an IV infusion. This process happens under close clinical supervision to ensure the safety and comfort of the patient. An infusion lasts about 40-minutes, and patients generally need 4-6 infusions over a 2-week period to alleviate symptoms, though a positive response can oftentimes be felt within hours of the first infusion.
The side effects of ketamine infusions are mild. Few people may encounter distorted sight or sound, or mild, non-threatening hallucinations. The most common side effect is nausea, and our clinic is equipped to include an anti-nausea medication along with the ketamine infusion.
Am I Eligible for Ketamine Treatments?
It’s important to remember that not everyone is qualified for ketamine treatments. It is important to note that ketamine is not a first-line therapy treatment. In other words, ketamine would become a treatment options only if traditional methods fail.
Traditional methods would include the following:
- No success with other traditional antidepressants
- No success with adjunctive group CBT or individual therapy
In order to be considered as a candidate, a patient must have resisted the above traditional methods. Additionally, most clinics will ask for a medical and substance use history. According to the American Psychiatric Nurse Association (APNA), if you fall under any of the following situations, you are not a candidate for ketamine therapy:
- Active substance abuse
- History of psychosis
- History of intracranial pressure
- Uncontrolled hypertension
- Acute/unstable cardiovascular disease
- Previous negative response to ketamine
Ketamine works for about 70% of patients, even those who have tried everything else to no avail. Our Boston area ketamine clinic can help you determine if ketamine is a viable depression treatment option for you or your loved one. Complete the brief form below to request a free consultation today.
Contact Ketamine Greater Boston
Contact our ketamine infusion therapy center today for a free consultation, or simply complete the brief form below and a member of our clinical team will reach out to answer your questions and address your concerns.