A new study published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research suggests that ketamine may be a better treatment for depression than the more traditional treatment of ECT, or electroconvulsive therapy.
ECT; which is also known as electroshock therapy, is a controversial, but provably effective, treatment that provides relief for various types of mental illness. Between 70 and 120 volts are applied to the patient, causing a seizure. ECT is effective for around 50 percent of patients who undergo it, but the mechanics of this effectiveness have yet to be completely understood.
Ketamine has Already Been Shown to be an Effective Treatment for Many Forms of Depression
Ketamine is a chemical routinely used as an anesthetic since the late 1950s. In tests, ketamine has been found to have countless additional benefits, including treatment of depression, anxiety and alcohol use disorder.
The study upon which the Journal of Psychiatric Research reported was undertaken by the department of psychiatry at Charité-Universitätsmedizin in Berlin. In a controlled test involving 50 patients with MDD (major depressive disorder), 25 were treated with ECT three times a week for four weeks and 25 were treated with ketamine three times a week for two weeks. Each patient was then assessed for the severity of their symptoms at the beginning, middle, and end of their treatment programs. Cognitive performance was also tested in each patient.
Patients who underwent the ketamine treatment showed a 47.45 percent reduction in the severity of the MDD symptoms after one week on average. Patients who underwent the ECT treatment, by comparison, displayed only a 34.86 percent reduction in MDD symptoms after two weeks on average.
The Study Demonstrates that Ketamine is not only as Effective as ECT, but also Faster-Acting
By the end of their treatments, both methods proved to be equally effective. After two weeks of the ketamine trial, patients showed a 49.88 percent decrease in the severity of their symptoms, compared to a 55.7 percent decrease for those undergoing the ECT treatment.
In addition to the quicker effect of ketamine, those on the ketamine trial also showed much more cognitive improvement than those on the ECT trial. Those undergoing the ECT treatment experienced a slight decrease in their cognitive abilities.
If you would like to learn more about the potentials of ketamine infusion therapy, please contact The Ketamine Center at (855) KETAMINE or (855) 538-2626. You can also use the online contact form available here.