What is Ketamine Treatment?
Ketamine treatment is a relatively new approach used to provide relief to patients with treatment-resistant depression and active suicidal ideation. Though Ketamine has a long history of being used as an anesthetic for humans and animals, as well as being used as a party drug, it has been proven to benefit patients with depression. Ketamine infusions are often used when other treatments have failed. These treatments have shown to be a quick-acting method of care that can alleviate the symptoms of severe depression, such as suicidal ideation, in under an hour. Ketamine infusions are not yet approved by the FDA, and are considered to be an “off-label” or “experimental” treatment. Nonetheless, there is a growing body of evidence that Ketamine infusions are a fantastic option if a patient has not responded to multiple antidepressants.
What can Ketamine Infusions Treat?
There are clinical studies that have researched Ketamine infusions for the following conditions:
- Depression (including Major Depressive Disorder and Bipolar Depression)
- Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Chronic Pain
Ketamine Treatment for Depression
When other treatments have failed, ketamine infusions can be administered as a fast-acting treatment for patients with depression. Though patients typically return once a week for ketamine infusions, their symptoms alleviate within just a few hours and last for up to a week at which point they’d receive their next infusion.
Though ketamine treatments have been shown to be about twice as effective as common antidepressants, patients are advised to first try other treatment methods before choosing to pursue ketamine infusions.
Ketamine Treatment for Active Suicidal Ideation
For patients who present with active suicidal ideation, ketamine infusions have proven to be key in disassociating them from those thoughts in order to break the cycle of the emergent condition. This is most commonly the case for people brought into emergency psychiatric facilities experiencing severe and acute psychological distress. Such patients are at an increased risk of suicide, making an efficient and effective choice of treatment even more crucial.
Intravenous ketamine treatments, also known as ketamine infusions, can reduce suicidal feelings in as little as an hour so that the patient can be stabilized and moved from crisis treatment into a long-term treatment program.
Ketamine Infusions for Chronic Pain
Since ketamine has a long history as an anesthetic, it is a safe option for those who are living in chronic pain. Given in low doses, ketamine can be used following an injury or surgery or for chronic pain management. Patients may choose ketamine over other pain meds in an effort to avoid and reduce possible dependency on addictive pain-management prescriptions.
Are Ketamine Infusions Safe?
Ketamine has long been used as an anesthetic and pain management drug. When it comes to ketamine infusions, it is a safe treatment that gives many patients relief from their depression when other treatments have been unable to do so.
Ketamine infusions are administered in a specialized office where the patient’s dosage and reaction is to be monitored by a healthcare professional.
Possible Side Effects of Ketamine Infusions
Ketamine infusions are most frequently associated with dissociative side effects that typically subside shortly after the infusion is completed.
Other common side effects of ketamine infusions include:
- Increased blood pressure
- Fast heartbeat
- Blurry vision
- Shortness of breath
- Hives or itchiness
For more information about how ketamine infusions could help you, or to schedule your consult at TMS & Brain Health, please contact us.