More than 17 million people struggle with major depression in the United States, making it the largest mental health care concern in our country. As if the grips of depression aren’t awful enough, treatment can be frustrating as people respond differently, or not at all, to the traditional medications and protocols. Last year, however, the mental health community received a welcome addition to its treatment arsenal when the FDA approved a form of ketamine for treatment-resistant depression.
At the Institute for Advanced Psychiatry, Dr. Diana Ghelber and our team routinely help our patients find solutions for a wide range of mental-health issues, from post-traumatic stress disorder to major depression. With the understanding that no people are alike when it comes to mental health problems, we make every effort to offer the latest treatment protocols and one that we’re particularly excited about is ketamine infusion therapy, which is showing great promise in helping people with treatment-resistant depression reclaim their lives.
Here’s a look at how our ketamine infusion therapy is offering new hope for those who are caught in a web of life-altering depression:
The history of ketamine
Ketamine isn’t a new drug — in fact, it’s been around since the 1960s and has been widely, and successfully, used as an anesthetic. In this capacity, ketamine is often referred to as a “dissociative anesthesia” because it suppresses your response to sensory input while still preserving your airway reflex and respiratory function. In other words, it provides superior control over your nervous system without interfering with critical functions like breathing.
In its use as an analgesic, researchers began to uncover a side effect — namely that patients who also had treatment-resistant depression were responding favorably to ketamine. And these results, unlike those from traditional medications like antidepressants, lasted long after the drug had left the system.
As the evidence began to mount surrounding ketamine’s effectiveness in treating certain mental health disorders, namely treatment-resistant major depression, the FDA approved the first ketamine-based treatment in March 2019 — a nasal spray called esketamine.
Ketamine and your depression
If you’ve been struggling with major depression and traditional treatments aren’t having the desired effect, we can evaluate your situation to determine whether ketamine therapy is right for you. While we do offer esketamine, we also offer ketamine infusion therapy, a technique in which we deliver low doses of ketamine into your system intravenously.
Whichever delivery system you choose, it’s important to note that these treatments are conducted at our offices and you should plan on staying for 2-4 hours (you also need someone to drive you home afterward).
There’s no magic number of treatments when it comes to ketamine, but you should count on a series of infusions over a couple of weeks for best results. Naturally, we monitor your progress closely, making any necessary tweaks along the way.
Unlike antidepressants, which can take weeks, and sometimes months, to take effect, ketamine is fast-acting, and many of our patients feel the results right away. This doesn’t mean that you will, too, so it’s important to manage expectations. That said, we’re very excited about the potential of this treatment, and we’ve seen some incredible success stories here at our practice.
To explore whether ketamine infusion therapy might hold the key to your treatment-resistant depression, please contact one of our two locations in Fort Worth or Granbury, Texas, to set up a consultation.