Mental disorders like depression and bipolar disorders can bring disastrous results to your life if left unchecked. That’s why therapies and treatments were formed, as a way to respond to mental health problems. One of the latest treatments that are starting to see use is ketamine treatment which is said to be a promising remedy for mental health problems.
In this article, we’ll dive deeper as we learn how ketamine therapy made an impact on treating depression and anxiety.
Ketamine Therapy: An Overview
For those who haven’t heard about it, ketamine therapy is a new remedy used for mental health problems. Usually, this medication is administered in low dosages through a syringe shot. Ketamine is often used in managing anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorders.
The ketamine administering session takes place inside either a clinic, hospital or doctor’s office. Patients would receive the medication through either an intravenous infusion or an injection shot. Patients can also receive ketamine lozenges for use as at-home treatment in-between therapy sessions. So if you find the treatment promising for your mental health condition, you can set an appointment with a ketamine clinic in Boston or one that’s near you.
How Does Ketamine Impact Depression and Anxiety?
Ketamine, when it reacts to neural connections, is comparable to flipping a switch. The medication has the capability in reprogramming our neural activity and connections inside the brain. With that said, we’ll cover its mechanism in more detail to see what happens inside the brain when ketamine is administered and how it affects depression and anxiety.
Here’s how it works:
1: Ketamine “Reactivates” Numbed Brain Cells
Some studies show ketamine therapy for anxiety has yielded very good results. Individuals who previously didn’t show any signs of improvement from other antidepressants start feeling its positive effects after one or two hours. The recipients would claim that they would feel unburdened post-treatment.
How this happens is that ketamine binds to our brain cells and suppresses receptors that accept glutamate. These brain cells, in a depressed individual, are likened to a dormant or unexcited state. When glutamate attempts to bind with these cells, they don’t show any signs of response. On the other hand, when ketamine binds with the brain cells, it “re-ignites” them causing a positive sensation in an individual.
2: New Neural Connections are Formed
Whenever ketamine therapy is administered to an individual, it doesn’t only bind to brain cells and prevents glutamate from binding with them. Ketamine also encourages the brain to form new neural connections and pathways. It’s like re-routing the pathway of the glutamate that’s trying to bind with the dormant cells earlier.
Instead of letting it continue on its old path, it’s like asking the enzymes to take a detour to a new pathway. By binding to these new neural connections, they are activated and cause the positive sensations felt by the patient.
Side-Effects of Ketamine
It’s indeed true that ketamine therapy is a potent way to remedy depression and is generally considered a safe treatment. But, even the safest treatments could have a few side effects that you need to take note of. Here they are as listed:
1: Detachment from Surroundings
Individuals who take ketamine therapy for the first time may experience detachment from the surrounding. They may experience a temporary loss of self-awareness up to an hour after the treatment. Fortunately, this side effect tends to be temporary and will wear off.
2: Changes in Sensory Perception
This side-effect is a bit similar to getting detached from the environment. The difference is that the patient could experience confusion or double vision at first. Again, these are minor side effects and will disappear eventually.
3: Feeling of Unease
When you’re new to ketamine therapy, experiencing a bit of unease post-treatment is normal and is also a minor side effect. Give it up to an hour and it wears off as your brain develops new neural connections.
Which Patients Can Take Ketamine Treatments?
Take note that ketamine infusion for anxiety and depression isn’t made for everybody. It’s advised that you consult your doctor first whether you are a suitable recipient for this therapy. Here are some patients that can receive ketamine therapy:
- Depression patients who show no signs of improvement: Some individuals with depression are resistant to antidepressants. Therefore, they don’t show any signs of improvement and ketamine treatment is a recommended choice for them.
- People in high-stress careers: Career paths such as firefighters and police officers may have some intense moments and high-stress scenarios making them vulnerable to PTSD. Ketamine treatment being a potent anti-anxiety therapy is capable of dulling out PTSD’s effects.
On a side note, ketamine therapy is also attractive for people working in intense office environments. The sheer volume of work and stress can wear down a person eventually.
- Patients with Acute Suicidal Ideation: Ketamine is utilized as a fast-acting medication for patients with acute suicidal ideation. The immediate reduction of suicidal thoughts can provide health providers with a perfect window to provide intervention and support for the patient.
Which Patients Cannot Receive Ketamine Treatments?
Ketamine therapy, while a potent antidepressant may not be suited for certain individuals. These people will need to undergo consultation with a healthcare professional if they have characteristics and contraindications that would make them unsuitable to receive this therapy.
With that said, here are the types of patients that cannot receive ketamine therapy:
- Patients with Specific Heart Conditions: Ketamine when administered can trigger an increase in the patient’s blood pressure and heartbeat rates. This effect can be problematic to patients that have conditions like coronary artery disease, arrhythmias, and heart failure. Patients that have those heart conditions must be observed and evaluated first before a dose of ketamine can be administered.
On an additional note, this also makes ketamine treatment ill-suited for patients with uncontrollable hypertension. Patients who suffer from that condition might develop cardiovascular complications after administering the anti-depressant.
- People with Thyroid Diseases: Thyroid diseases are linked to high blood pressure and heart issues. Those factors alone make people with thyroid conditions unfit to receive ketamine therapy.
- People with a History of Substance Abuse: Outside of depression, ketamine is also used in treating addictions. However, it does interact negatively with certain drugs. If you happen to have a history of substance abuse, you might not be a fit recipient of ketamine therapy.
The Bottom Line About Ketamine Therapy
Ketamine treatment is a potent way to curb the effects of depression and anxiety. Once ketamine is administered into the body, it rewires the neural pathways in your brain. Therefore allowing it to form new connections. By forming new neural pathways, the patient experiences positive sensations.
Even though ketamine therapy is new, the results are starting to show that it is a promising treatment for mental disorders.