Author: James Anderson

Ketamine Infusion Therapy: Techniques and Efficacy

what is ketamine therapy

While experts have yet to determine glutamate’s exact role in depression symptoms, they do know it plays a key role in mood regulation. Low levels of glutamate in your brain may lead to depression symptoms. The National Institutes of Health is increasingly devoting resources and attention to psychedelic medicine. Check back for information on their monthly virtual meetings, which feature guest speakers and reviews of new studies in psychedelic medicine. Nearly one in three adults will have an anxiety disorder in their lives, according to the American Psychiatric Association. Anxiety is an umbrella term for specific disorders such as social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, among others.

“At the antidepressant dose, ketamine transiently worsens their symptoms of psychosis,” Krystal says. It may be too soon to tell whether the risk of addiction or tolerance outweighs the possible benefits. It’s important to note, though, that some recommendations suggest it may not be safe for people who have a history of substance abuse. Some nerve cells (neurons) in the brain involved in mood use a chemical (neurotransmitter) called glutamate to communicate with each other. The nerve cells need glutamate receptors – think of them like catcher’s mitts for glutamate – in order to join in this communication.

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Another review in Therapeutic Advances in Psychopharmacology in March 2023 came to similar conclusions. Ketamine may work by helping people dissociate from unhealthy thought patterns, clearing space for deeper processing of traumas, per a systematic review and meta-analysis. In one of the early published reports of this from 2000, the authors highlighted that an IV dose of ketamine rapidly reduced symptoms of major depression within 72 hours. Randomized controlled trials following that finding found that 60 to 70 percent of people with treatment-resistant depression responded to ketamine, the authors say. The antidepressant effects of ketamine wear off in hours, days, or a couple weeks in people who only get a single infusion.

what is ketamine therapy

These approaches don’t always relieve severe depression symptoms, including thoughts of suicide — and that’s where ketamine could make a difference. Healthcare professionals first began using ketamine as an anesthetic in the 1960s. Some people also reported improvements in their mood after receiving ketamine, says Kyle Keller, LICSW, a CIIS-certified psychedelic-assisted psychotherapist in Minnesota and founder of Intero Psychedelic Therapy. These are psychotherapy appointments with a licensed therapist who can talk to you about what you experienced during your ketamine session. Though not all companies require this, experts say this is an integral part of the process and is needed for best results.

This approach to healthcare looks at biological, behavioral, social, and environmental factors to improve overall wellness. Rest, if you can, when you get home, and take advantage of your brain’s ability to create new thoughts and habits. Log in or create an account for a personalized experience based on your selected interests. “We think that the number of synapses goes down because depression is so stressful that you actually prune or lose some of the synaptic connections in the brain,” Krystal says. “Ketamine is an intervention, but the notion of ‘treatment’ is much broader than that,” he says.

However, some research has suggested that the IV-infused drug provides a faster response than the nasal spray. “I think it’s probably less addictive than opioids, but it’s not without its risks,” says Shatzberg, who is the director of Stanford University’s Mood Disorders Center. Indeed, case studies have described people who showed signs of addiction or abused the drug. Christa Coulter-Scott says ketamine treatment eased the depression she’s had for most of her life. If a patient hasn’t responded to traditional antidepressants, this doesn’t mean they won’t respond to ketamine.

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At his clinic, Stewart only sees patients who have referrals from a doctor who diagnosed them with treatment-resistant depression. He starts patients with a research-based six infusions spaced over 3 weeks. Other forms of ketamine – none of which are approved by the FDA for mental health conditions – include IV infusion or a shot in the arm. With the potential for an experience of transcendence, I believe ketamine may be well-suited for patients who are experiencing end-of-life depression and anxiety.

  1. The Controlled Substance Act classifies ketamine as a Schedule III non-narcotic drug.
  2. Following a predetermined series of sessions, you’ll then talk about what you may need in the future.
  3. Ketamine can cause disassociation, which experts have linked to hallucinations and other symptoms of psychosis.
  4. It is thought that the creation of new cells and strengthening of nerve pathways may be correlated with new learning.

The FDA has warned that ketamine and compounded ketamine products aren’t approved to treat any psychiatric disorder. It may be an option for people who either haven’t been helped by antidepressant pills or who have major depressive disorder and are suicidal. They continue to take their antidepressant pill and receive esketamine at a certified doctor’s office or in a clinic, where a health care provider watches over them for at least 2 hours after the dose. In 2019, the FDA approved a new nasal spray medication called esketamine (Spravato), a form of ketamine, to be used with an oral antidepressant for people with major depressive disorder (MDD) who have treatment-resistant depression.

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Like any other addiction, ketamine can create a powerful bond that takes control of a person’s life. It is critically important that an individual who engages in inappropriate use of ketamine get professional counseling and treatment. Aside from the above drug interactions, a 2017 study reports that taking ketamine with amphetamine-like stimulants can produce undesirable effects. The 2017 clinical trial tested the drug on 18 participants and concluded that it might effectively treat SAD. However, further research is necessary to verify the study findings and prove the safety of using ketamine to treat this condition.

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Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic drug that has long been used for anesthesia. Due to numerous studies over the last two decades, ketamine has emerged as a potential treatment for various mental health disorders, for example, treatment resistant depression, anxiety, PTSD, and alcohol use disorder. It is only FDA approved as esketamine (similar to ketamine) for treatment-resistant depression and depression with suicidality, although ketamine is prescribed off label to treat other psychiatric disorders. In a 2022 study, people with depression and thoughts of suicide received six IV ketamine infusions at three separate clinics over 21 days. Within 6 weeks of starting treatment, 20% of people with depression were considered “in remission,” meaning their depression symptoms had greatly improved, and 50% of people who had thoughts of suicide no longer experienced them. In addition, if you have depression, anxiety, or PTSD and are interested in ketamine therapy, talk to your primary care doctor and mental health provider about it, in conjunction with your usual medications for mental health.

Ketamine can also produce an extensive array of other symptoms that affect many parts of the body, but they are less common. Because several other trials indicate ketamine may have significant antianxiety effects, the authors encouraged future studies to explore this possible benefit more fully. The FDA has approved ketamine for general anesthesia only, but the drug has some off-label uses.