Anybody that has ever had to live and manage depressive disorder understands the struggle associated with getting an effective treatment plan; a treatment plan that works and continues to work after a long period without the unwanted side effects.
We understand for a fact at Moonhaus that the use of regular therapy sessions and conventional anti-depressants are not always the ideal solution to this problem. This is why the provision of a more effective solution that is innovative and its efficacy backed by evidence for people suffering from treatment-resistant depression is important to us. One such solution is ketamine infusion therapy.
In this article, we will review the working principle of this innovative solution while touching on its advantages and disadvantages concerning its use as a treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD, suicidal ideation, treatment-resistant depression (TRD), chronic pain, and debilitating anxiety.
What is Ketamine Infusion Therapy?
The first thing you should know is that Ketamine is not a new drug. It has been in use for over five decades now as an anesthetic and it is equally approved by the FDA. However, despite its anesthetic abilities, it also has antidepressant abilities that mental health experts have been researching about for over 20 years.
What these years of research have shown is that ketamine can be used off-label to treat and provide relief for severe cases of depression, chronic pain, PTSD, and anxiety that have not been cured by conventional treatment options. However, it is important to mention that ketamine is not the first-line therapy for these health issues. Ketamine can be administered into the body through a slow and constant intravenous drip. When you use this approach, it has a calming and therapeutic effect on the parts of the human brain that controls mood and behavior.
Given the ability of ketamine to provide almost instant relief for stubborn cases of TRD and other mental health issues, ketamine therapy has been regarded as a groundbreaking achievement in the treatment of depression in recent times.
Benefits of Ketamine Infusion
Depression is one of the leading mental health issues in the world. It is also the mental health problem that gives rise to the highest cases of suicidal tendencies. Research shows that conventional drugs and treatment procedures work for only two out of three people suffering from major depressive disorders. The remaining one doesn’t get treated or show signs of symptoms remission with these conventional treatment options.
For this set of people, ketamine infusion therapy offers the following benefits and advantages;
Acts Fast to Provide Relief
One of the major advantages of using ketamine infusion is that it acts fast. Within hours, patients to which ketamine was administered started to experience relief. While the reason for this fast action still baffles researchers, it is clear that the substance encourages the fast release of glutamate in the body.
Glutamate is the main neurotransmitter that is responsible for the growth of synapses in the human brain. As a result, increased glutamate helps with the revival and strengthening of important neural connections and pathways in the brain that has been negatively affected by depression. With the revived pathways and connections, the circuit function in the brain gets beneficial changes.
High Rate of Successful Treatment
As much as the treatment option is being researched by experts, there are reliable pieces of evidence to show that the use of ketamine infusion therapy works very well for treating cases of depression that are resistant to conventional treatment options. Research and studies into the use of ketamine infusion show that more than half of the patients subjected to the treatment experience relief after the first infusion while the remaining starts to feel at ease after two or three infusions.
It is this high rate of efficacy that makes the use and administration of ketamine very advantageous to people who have not benefitted from or achieved lasting solutions through conventional medical practices.
Symptoms Remission That Lasts
While we have said a lot about the efficacy of ketamine infusion, it is important to state that the treatment option is not a magical treatment that cures depression at once. It is also not like the conventional medical practice that requires that you take them for years on end. Ketamine infusion therapy is comfortable between the two.
The therapy works by stimulating the beneficial brain changes that help the body achieve lasting remission from symptoms throughout a single treatment cycle. For better understanding, an average treatment cycle that features an acute phase of ketamine infusion requires six different infusions spaced out over two or three weeks. This phase is then followed by a maintenance phase which lasts for a long period and during which the patient gets occasional booster infusions as needed.
Disadvantages of Ketamine Infusion Therapy
As much as the treatment process is efficient and effective, there is no treatment option devoid of its drawbacks and demerits. The ketamine infusion therapy also has its disadvantages. These demerits have to do with addictive properties and dissociative effects.
Some of the temporary side effects that come with the use of sub-anesthetic doses of ketamine infusion to treat depression include floating sensations, mild hallucinations, dizziness, and fuzzy visions. While these side effects are mild and temporary, medical experts have tried to reduce or eliminate them and this is why all ketamine infusion therapy must pass the following criteria before use;
- Must have received ketamine-certified clinical setting
- Must undergo comprehensive evaluation after which it is now approved for use
- Must be administered and supervised by experienced medical personnel and provider
As for the patient, you must have someone drive you to and from the clinic where the therapy is to take place. This is due to the possibility of the side effects setting in immediately after the completion of the treatment. While the side effects may wear off some minutes after the treatment, you will probably still feel woozy and groggy until you have a deep sleep.
Finally, ketamine infusion therapy may not be the ideal solution for everybody suffering from TRD especially if the patient has a history of substance abuse or is diagnosed addictive disorder.
For more details on how using ketamine infusion therapy can help you beat chronic pain, anxiety, and other mental health issues, check out Moonhaus today.