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Ketamine Infusions for Suicidal Ideation: What to Expect

Ketamine Infusions for Suicidal Ideation: What to Expect

When someone contemplates suicide, they feel as if there’s no other way out and that all hope is lost. We assure you, this is far from the truth. No matter how hopeless things may appear to be, remember, it’s a malfunction in the brain that’s most often to blame, and we have the tools to improve function.

One of these tools — ketamine infusion therapy — works incredibly quickly, often within hours or days, to help steer people away from the unthinkable.

At the Institute for Advanced Psychiatry, Dr. Diana Ghelber and the experienced mental health team understand that when depression leads people to a place where suicide seems like a viable option, we need to act quickly. Ketamine infusion therapy allows us to do just that.

Understanding suicide ideation

Suicide ideation is often the result of untreated or treatment-resistant major depressive disorder, With severe depressive episodes, the mood regulation and cognitive areas of the brain are taken over by the illness and can lead a person’s thinking toward suicide ideation, which includes:

People behave differently when it comes to suicide ideation, but the underlying thread is the (false) idea that they would be better off dead.

Taking swift action for suicide ideation

When suicide ideation is present, we need to act quickly. Taking medications, such as antidepressants, present several issues. First, up to one-third of people with major depressive disorder are resistant to medications. Second, these medications can take weeks or months to make an impact.

Addressing these two issues is the primary reason why ketamine infusion therapy is so effective. For example, researchers at Columbia University in New York City found that, “One dose of ketamine not only reduced the severity of depression in people with suicide ideation, many of whom had not responded to other antidepressants, but also made them feel safer and less likely to harm themselves because it rapidly diminished their suicidal ideation.”

Studies across the globe have found similar results, making ketamine infusion therapy one of our best tools for rapidly treating suicide ideation.

Receiving ketamine

As the name implies, we deliver the ketamine through intravenous (IV) fusions that we deliver at our offices. When the patient comes in, we make them comfortable and set up the IV. The drip itself lasts only about 40 minutes, but we need the patient to stay with us for 2-4 hours so we can monitor them.

Once they’re ready to go home, they will need a ride as the effects of the ketamine aren’t safe for operating a vehicle.

In the best case scenario, you’ll see immediate results from the ketamine infusion therapy. That said, some people don’t respond to this treatment, and we’ll try another approach to address the suicide ideation.

We might also recommend a series of infusions, but we determine this on a case-by-case basis.

If you’d like to learn more about ketamine infusion therapy and its potential ability to stop suicide ideation, please contact us at the Institute for Advanced Psychiatry in Granbury or Fort Worth, Texas, to set up an appointment.

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