How Does Ketamine Work as an Antidepressant?
In most cases, depression – it is largely thought – is caused by chemical imbalances in the brain. Even in healthy people, the brain will release chemicals – such as norepinephrine and serotonin – that cause us to experience feelings of sadness or happiness. This is perfectly natural – when someone is in pain, if we experience sensations of sadness, we will likely be more willing to to want to help those in need.
When depression hits, we either feel sadness when there is no trigger, or ‘too much’ sadness in relation to an event. The brain is either releasing too much norepinephrine or serotonin, or not enough. As a result, people suffering from depression have a difficult time experiencing happiness, even if ‘happy’ events are occurring in their lives.
Antidepressants work by balancing out these imbalances so that the person is able to operate on a level playing field once again. Ketamine has been shown to be highly effective as an antidepressant and in trials has eased the feelings of depression in just a few hours, rather than the days or even weeks that traditional antidepressants take.
Depression – as with most areas of mental health – is becoming an increasing issue for people all across the United States, and the rest of the world. It is becoming harder and harder for everyone to keep up with the fast paced nature of living, and many people are becoming overwhelmed and end up suffering from depression, anxiety and other stress related illnesses.
Traditional treatments such as therapy and drugs such as sertraline and fluoxetine (known under brand names of Zoloft and Prozac) are the go-to solutions for many medical professionals, but now the well-known drug ketamine is proving to show many encouraging benefits for those suffering with depression.
What is Ketamine?
In simple terms, ketamine is a general anesthetic that stops pain, and is used for procedures on both people and animals. When abused, ketamine can cause hallucinations and distortions of reality, but such experiences are only encountered if ketamine is used in a non-professional environment. The drug itself, when administered properly and in a controlled manner, is harmless.
Ketamine actually began life as an anesthetic during the Vietnam war in the 1960s. As well as providing pain relief, it also enhances the effect of sedatives, and can lead to people recovering from surgery and other painful conditions without the need of addictive pain relievers such as morphine.
Over the past few years ketamine has been trialed as an anti-depressant, with countless positive results.
Which Depressive Illnesses Can Ketamine Help?
Depression is a very complex beast. There is not one solid aspect connecting everything that causes depression unlike say, the common cold, which is caused by a cold virus. It’s important that each individual case is investigated on a patient-by-patient basis, so that an effective treatment plan can be devised. Ketamine may not be suitable for everyone, but recent trials have shown impressive results in many areas of depression.
Here are two specific types of depression that ketamine may be able to help with:
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
PTSD has long been associated with war veterans, but anyone from any walk of life can be shown to be suffering from this type of disorder.
Sadly, the majority of us will experience at least one highly traumatic event in our lives. It could be the sudden and unexpected death of a family member or friend, or the close proximity to a major, unfortunate incident such as a terrible incident.
Most people will recover from such events given time but others (according to statistics, about one in three) do not do so easily, and such people could find themselves haunted by a single stressful event for years. They may suffer flashbacks or nightmares, and may undergo severe panic attacks if they encounter something that reminds them of the event.
All this will of course have a profound effect on a person’s life, and in some cases can lead to depression. Anti-depressants such as mirtazapine and paroxetine are often used to help those suffering from PTSD.
Studies have been conducted since 2013 exploring the benefits of ketamine for people suffering from PTSD. In one study, conducted by the Icahn School of Medicine in New York, around forty people were administered safe daily doses of ketamine for a period of twenty eight months. All subjects that completed the course of treatment reported a sustained reduction in PTSD symptoms.
Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
OSD has unfortunately become less of a consideration of late for people who do not appreciate the seriousness of the condition. Anyone who likes aspects of their lives to be ‘neat and tidy’ are considered to be ‘a bit OCD’, which simply negates the awful circumstances of someone who does actually suffer from this condition.
OCD actually has two sides – obsession and compulsion. An obsession may be a thought, image, worry, doubt or urge that manifests itself in the sufferers’ mind. For example someone with OCD may see a child playing in water and will experience the thought of holding that child under the water and drowning it. Such repeated manifestations of such thoughts can cause mental discomfort and can even lead to anxiety and depression.
Compulsions are typically repetitive actions triggered by obsessions as a way of dealing with them. For example, a sufferer may develop an obsession that their home will be burglarized while they are away. Their compulsion for dealing with this may be to lock and unlock every access point to their home – windows and doors – a specific, and unreasonable, number of times before they are able to leave. This too can cause stress, anxiety and depression.
Some responses to obsessions will not make any sense to non-sufferers. For example, a sufferer may have to tap their bodies in specific places a certain number of times before boarding a bus. If they make a mistake during this procedure they have to start afresh until the sequence is complete. This is just their way of dealing with an obsession, but can appear ‘bizarre’ to non-sufferers, which causes the sufferer to feel anxious and stressed.
Sometimes sufferers can deal with their OCD, and at other times they find it impossible to. In extreme cases OCD sufferers cannot even leave their homes or function normally at all. Although a mental disorder, suffering from OCD can also severely affect a person’s psychical well-being.
OCD is a treatable condition. Usually treatment is psychological – teaching a sufferer how to deal with obsessions without the need for compulsion. As OCD is associated with depression and anxiety, anti-depressant medication is likely to be administered in tandem with any therapy.
Although studies are in their infancy, there have been many impressive reports of the success of ketamine as a treatment for OCD. One sufferer, while taking part in an experimental ketamine study group, described the treatment as like “taking a vacation” from their condition.
Additionally, it has been observed that the use of ketamine as a treatment for OCD results had a far more rapid improvement in the condition than traditional techniques.
There are many other types of depression that may be suitable for ketamine therapy. Each individual case received at our facility is reviewed by our trained medical personnel to make certain it is suitable for any program of initial and ongoing treatments.
How the Ketamine Institute of Michigan can Help You
If you are suffering from some type of depressive illness, or some other condition that is resulting in feelings of depression and traditional treatments are not helping, then the team here at the Ketamine Institute of Michigan may be able to help. Led by Dr. Julia Aharonov, our team is available to hopefully ease your symptoms and help you to improve your day-to-day living.
Each application for treatment is carefully considered but unfortunately, the administration of ketamine as a treatment may not be suitable for every applicant. Only applicants that we feel will undoubtedly benefit from our Ketamine Infusion Therapy program will be admitted for treatment.
Our focus is primarily on treatment plans for people in Michigan, specifically within a one hundred mile radius of our clinic. This includes major cities such as Detroit, Chicago, Fort Wayne and Milwaukee. Patients from Wisconsin, Indiana and Ohio and cities in Canada such as Toronto and Hamilton are welcomed too. The reason for our focus on Michigan patients (within a hundred miles) is because of the number of visits that may be necessary to treat a patient’s condition — Certainly anyone willing to come and who is a viable candidate for this procedure, is by all means welcome.
We have designed what we feel is an expressly fair pricing structure for our ketamine treatments, and financing options are available as well.
The Ketamine Institute Of Michigan
The Ketamine Institute Of Michigan offers supervised IV Ketamine infusions. After a cleared medical history, you can begin treatment sessions right away. You will be under the care of Dr. Julia Aharonov, a Board Certified Anesthesiologist and her capable and experienced medical team. Each session should be less than a few hours. IV Ketamine therapy has no addictive properties.
Call: (855) KETAMINE
(855) 538-2646 or contact us to learn more about our IV Ketamine Infusion Treatments.