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How Ketamine Infusion Therapy Can Help Depression: What You Need to Know

depression

We all experience feelings of sadness, disinterest, and hopelessness from time to time. But when those feelings linger for weeks, months, or even years, it can feel like there’s a dark, gloomy cloud looming over your life.

If you’ve been struggling with persistent feelings of emptiness, sadness, or distress or have been battling an official diagnosis of depression, it can feel overwhelming, to say the least. But the good news is, there is hope for finding relief from depression – even if you’ve tried conventional treatment methods without much success.

All across the country, people suffering from depression are finding fast and long-lasting relief from the dark cloud of depression with a treatment known as ketamine infusion therapy. In this article, we’re going to dive into the science behind ketamine’s incredible impact on your brain, how it’s being used as a powerful tool in the treatment of depression, and what to expect if you’re ready to experience ketamine infusion therapy for yourself.

Depression Defined: What Does Depression Feel Like?

If you or a loved one has ever struggled with depression, you understand how all-consuming it can be. Depression is much more than just a case of the blues or feeling down and out. Depressive disorder can make it difficult to carry out even basic day-to-day tasks – potentially disrupting relationships, work, health, and self-care.

Depression can look and feel a little different for everyone but can encompass feelings like:1

So what exactly takes place in the brain when it becomes plagued with these persistent feelings of depression?

How Does Depression Affect Your Brain?

The question of what exactly happens in your brain when you’re depressed is simple. But the answer to that question is not quite as simple. You see, your brain is an incredibly complex and dynamic system that relies on countless compounds, hormones, chemical reactions, and electrical signals to regulate how you think, feel, and function.

There are countless things that can throw this delicate system off-kilter including:2,3,4

So in simplest terms, depression is the result of a chemical imbalance in your brain. But this chemical imbalance is often more complicated than just having too much or too little of one chemical.

So, What Is the Usual Treatment for Depression?

Typical conventional treatment for depression often includes a two-pronged approach that includes:5 

While psychotherapy and prescription medication may be a solution for some, for many, it simply doesn’t provide adequate relief. But fortunately, there is an alternative treatment option that can offer promising, real, and lasting results for those struggling with depression.

What is this alternative treatment option? Ketamine infusion therapy.

What Is Ketamine?

Ketamine is a type of medication that was originally developed as a dissociative anesthetic – or a drug that shifts your brain into a disconnected sleep-like state in order to help detach from feelings of pain and worry during a procedure or after an injury.6 Ketamine’s sedating effects are useful as a general anesthetic, but studies have found that ketamine can also be a powerful tool in treating depression – especially in treatment-resistant depression that has been difficult to address with conventional methods.

Studies have found that delivering ketamine through a series of intravenous infusions can be a remarkably effective way to treat depression in both the long term and the short term. Let’s explore exactly how ketamine is able to help address the underlying imbalances that can trigger depression.

How Ketamine Can Help With Depression

Ketamine has a potent effect on your brain that can not only alleviate symptoms of depression but also help your brain essentially recalibrate and rebalance important neurotransmitters and communication channels. The way ketamine world on your brain goes something like this:7,8

Research suggests that ketamine's ability to reshape and rebalance your brain means that this incredible drug does more than simply soothe the symptoms of depression. It may actually be able to reverse the underlying cause of depression to some extent. So how exactly does ketamine infusion therapy work?

Ketamine Infusion for Depression: What’s It Like?

Ketamine infusion therapy always begins with an in-depth assessment to determine if it’s the right treatment option for you and to help your provider fully understand your unique health needs. From there, your dosage will be carefully calculated based on your body weight, age, medical history, and other factors.

The actual infusion process is simple and oftentimes a relaxing process. You’ll be set up in a comfortable chair where you can listen to music, watch a movie, or simply kick back and relax. A provider will start an intravenous (IV) line and carefully controlled amounts of ketamine will be infused into your bloodstream over a 45-60 minute treatment session. The medical team will closely monitor your vital signs and response to the treatment.

Most people find their ketamine infusion sessions pleasant and relaxing. You may experience dissociation or a slight out-of-body type experience and sometimes you may even experience hallucinations. All of these feelings are a perfectly normal part of your ketamine infusion and you will be in a safe environment with highly trained staff to supervise and support you every step of the way.

How Long Does Ketamine Treatment for Depression Last?

When it comes to treating depression with ketamine, your treatment plan will likely include a series of infusions over the course of several weeks. Exactly how long it takes for you to experience improvement of your depression symptoms can vary from several hours to several days. To receive the full benefits of ketamine infusion therapy and for your results to last, it’s important to follow through with the entire series of treatment sessions established by your provider.

After completing your initial round of IV ketamine infusions, you may need occasional intermittent or “booster” IV treatments to maintain results or address returning depressive episodes. Most of our patients experience life-changing results after ketamine infusion therapy and report a drastic improvement in their overall quality of life.

Ketamine and Depression: Are There Any Side Effects?

While ketamine is generally quite safe, it can come with some side effects that may include:

Because feelings of drowsiness and dissociation can last for a while after your treatment session, we require that you have arrangements for a ride home and we recommend that you have someone stay with you for the 24 hours following your treatment.

Most side effects resolve within a day or 2 after your treatment and your provider will adjust ongoing treatments as needed to minimize side effects.

Ready to Experience Ketamine Infusion Therapy for Yourself?

If you’ve been battling depression and searching for answers, ketamine infusion therapy might just be the life-changing treatment you need. If you’re ready to experience the power of ketamine infusion therapy for yourself, please reach out and schedule a consultation at Strive MD Wellness and Ketamine. We are proud to serve patients in the greater Chicagoland, Dallas, and Miami Beach areas.

"We see patients in the following locations: Skokie, Illinois, Chicago, Illinois, Miami Beach, Florida, Miami Florida, Frisco, Texas, Dallas, Texas, and surrounding areas of Illinois, Florida, and Texas. Call us to book your appointment today."

Our top-notch, board-certified physicians and medical staff will work with you to create a holistic, integrative approach to treatment – and will be there to hold your hand every step of the way during your ketamine infusion therapy sessions. So if you’re ready to take the next step in beating depression, don’t wait any longer – find an office near you and schedule your consultation today by clicking right here.

"We see patients in the following locations: Skokie, Illinois, Chicago, Illinois, Miami Beach, Florida, Miami Florida, Frisco, Texas, Dallas, Texas, and surrounding areas of Illinois, Florida, and Texas. Call us to book your appointment today."

Resources:

  1. NIMH » Depression (nih.gov)
  2. What causes depression? - Harvard Health
  3. Where in the Brain Is Depression? - PMC (nih.gov)
  4. Brain structure alterations in depression: Psychoradiological evidence - PMC (nih.gov)
  5. Depression (major depressive disorder) - Diagnosis and treatment - Mayo Clinic
  6. Drug Fact Sheet: Ketamine (dea.gov)
  7. Targeting inflammation in depression: Ketamine as an anti-inflammatory antidepressant in psychiatric emergency - ScienceDirect
  8. What is Ketamine? How it Works and Helps Severe Depression (webmd.com)

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