While Ketamine is probably best known for its use over the past few decades as an addictive party drug called “Ket” or “Special K”, it has been used as an animal anesthetic for over 100 years. Then in 1970 it was approved for human use as a sedative for patients in emergency care suffering from breathing problems.
Ketamine is widely available in medicine which has opened it up for use as treatment for the symptoms of some difficult to treat diseases, such as Parkinson’s Disease and Fibromyalgia. Recently it has also been found that low intravenous doses of Ketamine boost moods and remove suicidal thoughts, making it quite effective for treating depression and anxiety. That being said, it is only recommended as a treatment for depression if other methods are unsuccessful.
How Does Ketamine Work?
Patients receiving Ketamine Therapy for depression typically have five or six treatments administered over 2 weeks, followed by maintenance doses depending on their needs anywhere from once a month to once a year.
It is believed that Ketamine increases transmission of the neurotransmitter glutamate in the brain, and it also may help regrow crucial connection points between brain cells called synapses. This causes decreased negative thoughts or anxiety which can lead to the alleviation of depression as well as easier processing of past trauma.
Is Ketamine Therapy Safe?
Thankfully there has been decades of research that has proven Ketamine Therapy has minimal side effects which makes it very safe, provided it is administered in a controlled medical setting.
Ketamine needs to be administered carefully as it can increase blood pressure in both the heart and brain. When used recreationally, Ketamine often causes cognitive impairment or an inability to control your body known as a “K-hole”, but if Ketamine is used correctly and administered by a doctor, the risks are much lower, with people experiencing headaches or nausea at worst, which can easily be treated with anti-headache and anti-nausea medication.
Ketamine treatment for depression also requires constant patient monitoring during the treatment, as it can often cause hallucinations. Benzodiazepines are usually administered to patients so that the psychotropic side effects are reduced.
Is It Effective?
Ketamine can be a very effective treatment thanks to the recent advancements in both science and medicine which has changed many aspects of psychiatry. Because Ketamine has been found to be so effective, the amount of practicing physicians who are prescribing this as a treatment has been steadily increasing, and it is quickly becoming the number one treatment option for many people who are suffering with depression and anxiety.
Multiple studies have shown that approximately 70% of patients have a very positive response to Ketamine Therapy thanks to the fast-acting effects as well as no known signs of long-term side effects.
If you’d like to know more about ketamine and how ketamine therapy might be able to help you, please get in touch with our team today.