Ketamine is a revolutionary treatment for many who are struggling with treatment-resistant depression. Let’s explore how ketamine works and how often you should get ketamine treatment.
Depression is a mental health disorder that can make doing things in your everyday life difficult and frustrating. However, it can be even more frustrating if your depression resists treatment. Recently discovered ketamine infusions thankfully help combat treatment-resistant depression.
At Colorado Recovery Solutions in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Ashley Johnson, DO, and the rest of our team offer ketamine infusions to help those struggling with treatment-resistant depression. If you’re interested in how these infusions work, we review more information and how often you should receive them in this blog.
Defining treatment-resistant depression
Depression is an illness that can cause severe feelings of sadness and hopelessness. Typically, depression gets treated with a combination of medication and psychotherapy. The unfortunate truth for many, however, is that the first medication they try is unsuccessful at managing their symptoms. Even up to one-third of those struggling with depression find that several kinds of treatment don’t give them relief. If you resonate with these circumstances, you might have treatment-resistant depression.
Treatment-resistant depression can sometimes diminish when treated only to come back with more severe depressive episodes.
How ketamine works
Used as an anesthetic drug for many years, we have learned more recently that ketamine impacts those struggling with treatment-resistant depression. While antidepressant medications target chemicals in your brain that manage mood and emotions, ketamine targets a neurotransmitter called glutamate, which can start a chain of chemical, structural, and functional changes in your brain. Researchers believe ketamine also makes your brain more malleable and responsive to other treatments like therapy.
What to expect from ketamine infusions
You are given ketamine infusions through an IV line inserted into your arm by our very experienced nurses. You will be given an eye mask to block any bothersome light in the room. The dose is carefully selected by Dr. Ashley Johnson and is lower than what you would receive as an anesthetic. While the IV is going, you will sit in a comfortable reclining chair and listen to music for approximately 40 minutes.
You will be closely monitored by our licensed nurse who will take your vital signs periodically throughout the infusion. We may apply EKG monitoring in cases where individuals need closer monitoring due to medical comorbidities or use of magnesium as a relaxant. Patients undergoing ketamine infusions are never left alone in their treatment room. You will be comforted and supported throughout your ketamine journey.
The infusions last about 40 minutes, but you’re monitored for a little while after completing the infusion to review how you are and ensure any sedation effects wear off before you leave with your driver. To get optimal results from ketamine infusions, you should receive them twice a week for 2-3 weeks, then once a week, and then once a month before tapering them off.
Seventy percent of people who received these regular infusions reported relief from their symptoms of depression. If you have treatment-resistant depression (or PTSD), ketamine infusions might be right for you. To learn if you’re a good candidate for this treatment, contact our team to make an appointment by calling us or using our online appointment request today.