Mental health professionals got a huge, and much-needed, boost when the FDA approved the use of ketamine for treatment-resistant depression in 2019.
While this acknowledgment was important, Dr. Diana Ghelber and the team here at the Institute for Advanced Psychiatry have understood the potential benefits of ketamine infusion therapy for quite some time now. In fact, we’ve successfully used ketamine to treat four mental health issues, which we discuss below.
1. Major depressive disorder
The FDA makes the distinction that ketamine is particularly useful for treatment-resistant depression, which means depression that doesn’t respond to traditional therapies, such as oral medications and psychotherapy.
What we’ve found is that ketamine infusion therapy works incredibly quickly to reduce the symptoms of major depression, often immediately.
The exact mechanism behind ketamine’s influence on your mental health isn’t entirely understood, but researchers believe that the drug creates new neural pathways that help your brain’s neurons to better communicate. In turn, these new pathways encourage healthier moods and thought patterns.
2. Bipolar disorder
Bipolar disorder is a difficult mental illness to treat and has a higher treatment failure rate than major depressive disorder. Thanks to ketamine’s strong antidepressant effect, the drug is fast gaining favor as a viable treatment option for bipolar disorder.
3. Post-traumatic stress disorder
Technically, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder, but its symptoms often mirror those of major depression. For people with PTSD who are displaying major depressive symptoms, including suicidal ideation, ketamine can play a valuable role in halting the spiral downward.
4. Suicidal ideation
People who have depression, bipolar disorder, PTSD, or even no mental illness at all can succumb to suicidal ideation, which is defined as thinking about, planning, and acting on your desire to take your own life.
Here is where ketamine infusion therapy can truly shine thanks to its ability to act quickly on your brain, often after just one treatment. Oral medications or other traditional forms of psychiatric help can take weeks or months to have any effect, which is why ketamine is being heralded as an extremely effective solution for suicidal ideation.
Undergoing ketamine infusion therapy
If we find that you’re a candidate for ketamine infusion therapy, you should plan on devoting a full day to your first treatment. When you come in, we set you up with an intravenous drip and deliver a small amount of ketamine over 40 minutes or so. We then ask that you stay at our offices for 2-4 hours afterward so that we can monitor you. Once we feel you’re ready to go home, you should have someone drive you, and we ask that you stay at home for 24 hours before going out.
If you’re suffering from any of the illnesses or symptoms we outline above and you’re curious about ketamine infusion therapy, please contact one of our two locations in Granby or Fort Worth, Texas.