If you’ve struggled with your mental health, and haven’t found relief, there’s an alternative treatment option on the rise.
IV Ketamine Infusions are used as an “off label” treatment for clinical mental health conditions, especially in treatment resistant depression. Earlier this year Esketamine, (in nasal spray form), was given the green light and FDA approved. You can get prescribed this treatment with a prescription from your doctor. “Resistant” depression means medications and other treatments haven’t been successful options.
IV Ketamine Infusions is still considered “off label”, but have shown promising success in bringing noticeable and immediate relief to people suffering from depression, anxiety, postpartum depression, PTSD, CPTSD, suicidal ideations, migraines and some pain management cases.
You may have already heard about Ketamine, because it is not a new drug. Ketamine has been used in surgery and anesthesia since the 1960’s. Research into Ketamine as an antidepressant began in the 1990’s. Researchers at Yale University used lower doses of Ketamine, administered intravenously, in a controlled clinical setting for patients with severe depression who hadn’t shown improvement with standard antidepressant treatments. According to the study the results were significant. In the study more than half of the participants showed a significant decrease in depression symptoms after just 24 hours. Whereas compared with other standard treatments, improvements are less noticeable and much slower in bringing relief. This is a huge reason Ketamine has been so helpful with postpartum, suicidal ideations, and major depressive disorders. Sufferers can feel relief in the first 24hrs of treatment. Ketamine produces a rapid release of glutamate in the brain which promotes significant feelings of relief from depressive symptoms.
How Ketamine Infusions Work
First, you’ll undergo a comprehensive evaluation by a doctor, PA, or physiatrist. If you’re physically healthy, and fit the mental health parameters you’ll go to a clinic that is Ketamine certified and regulated.
During IV infusions the Ketamine triggers rapid increase in glutamate production, which is a complex series of events that prompts the brain to form new neural connections. Glutamate is the main neurotransmitter that encourages the growth of synapses in your brain. It helps strengthen and restore important neural connections and pathways in the brain that are most impaired by depression. With new connections this induces changes in the functions and circuits of the brain.
In short this helps your brain create and fire new neural pathways and gives the opportunity to develop more positive thoughts, which can help create new positive emotions and behaviors. Although Ketamine is not a one and done treatment it can start to help relieve symptoms and help you create new thought patterns, which can lead to new behaviors, which is pretty exciting! Although Ketamine has some great benefits it’s also not magic. You’ll still need to work through life with healthy coping skills, and a comprehensive mental health plan, but this can feel more achievable without the heaviness of unprocessed trauma, depression, anxiety, and other mental health challenges that weigh us down.
A few things to know about IV Ketamine Infusions:
- It is dissociative, which means it’s an outer body experience and you can’t drive immediately after. You’ll need to get a ride home from treatments.
- It’s not a one and done treatment. You’ll still need a comprehensive mental health plan and life coping skills. There’s treatment plans and booster infusions.
- Make sure to do your research. Look for a safe, reputable clinic that’s regulated and held in a ketamine-certified clinical setting. The ketamine should be administered and monitored by an experienced and certified provider. Usually your therapist will have reputable referrals.
- It’s approved for use only after a comprehensive evaluation by a doctor, PA, or psychiatrist. The treatment is not for everyone. There are parameters you have to fall within to get the treatments.
- There can be immediate side effects. Nausea, headaches, and grogginess, which usually diminish after a good night’s sleep.
5 Reasons Why Ketamine Might Not Be a Good Fit For You:
- This is a fairly new treatment option which means there is no long term research. Although it’s been studied and shown to have great success rates, scientists are unsure of long-lasting effects.
- Insurances usually won’t cover the IV infusions since it’s still considered “off label”. It can be expensive.
- It can be addictive. If you have substance abuse issues or addictive tendencies, this is something you’ll want to be mindful of.
- It may not work for you. Just like with any other treatment, it works for some people, but not for all.
- There is still a stigma around Ketamine. It has historically been used as a horse tranquilizer, and has been notoriously abused in the party scene.
People may judge you, or have a negative opinion of it, if they don’t understand the research and reasoning behind your Ketamine usage.
Do your own research and proceed with the necessary steps to receive IV Ketamine infusion treatments, if you feel it may be right for you. Regardless of your decision, it feels hopeful to know that people are hard at work trying to find new options for the improvement of mental health.