Each year, 13 to 14 million people in America suffer from major depression. Of those numbers who seek treatment, about 30-40% don’t get any better or recover through using the standard depression medications prescribed by healthcare professionals.
Untreated depression puts someone at a greater risk of alcohol and drug abuse, hospitalization and attempted suicide. However, there’s a growing body of research which shows there is a new reason to hope, and it’s the anesthesia drug ketamine.
Ketamine is a popular illicit party drug because it provides the user with hallucinogenic effects. The medication is used in only a handful of clinics around the United States, people who weren’t helped by standard psychiatric treatments are receiving a series of ketamine infusions to help ease the effects of their depression. Ketamine has also been used in emergency rooms to help curb suicidal thoughts, which means the drug is a potential lifesaver.
Ketamine is a fast-acting drug, the effects peak, often within hours, and healthcare providers who give it to a patient at a therapeutic dose say its side effects are brief and mild in most people. The drug hasn’t been studied for long-term safety and effectiveness and the Food and Drug Administration hasn’t approved it to treat depression.
Medical experts do not yet fully understand all the ways ketamine works, but it does work differently than antidepressants such as Zoloft, Prozac and Effexor. The way the drug works might explain why people who don’t respond to traditional treatment methods respond so well to ketamine.
It’s important to remember that no matter how successful ketamine may prove to be, one single treatment isn’t enough to cure depression. To successfully treat depression, a medical professional will need to address all aspects of a person’s disease from the biological, psychological to social and environmental angles.
Ketamine Infusion for Depression, Bipolar Disorder or PTSD?
Ketamine could be the bridge for somebody who is suicidal because if they are given the drug and it’s effective for 3 days, the person could be hooked up with outpatient resources, other medications and psychotherapy.
Not all cases of suicidal thoughts are linked to depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, borderline personality disorder and alcohol and other substance abuse issues can also account for some suicides. Further research is needed to determine how ketamine can be utilized for treatment of depression and other psychiatric disorders.
Please contact our ketamine treatment center in Bowie, MD for more information on how this medication can help change and save lives.