Reports have shown that many adults suffer from depression at some point in their lifetime. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, an estimate of about 17 million adults are experiencing a major depressive episode in the U.S. Many of them often resort to anti-depressant medications to manage their symptoms, but for some of them, these treatments seem not to be effective.
For this type of person, new treatments such as Ketamine have shown promising results in helping them manage their depression. Due to its outstanding results and effectiveness, we now have several Ketamine clinics on Hollywood providing complete Ketamine treatments to patients struggling with depression.
Meanwhile, here are some things to know about Ketamine treatments.
What is Ketamine?
Ketamine is a non-narcotic drug with dissociative abilities. It is medically used as an anesthetic to relieve pain and induce a loss of consciousness. It is useful in treating both humans and animals. When used to treat humans, it is often used as a sedative and painkiller for carrying out short surgeries or for treating uncooperative humans like children.
Ketamine was approved for medicinal use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the 1970s. However, some have used it solely for recreational purposes because of its hallucinogenic effects. When taken in uncontrolled dosages, ketamine causes a distortion in the sensory perceptions of the user, leaving a feeling of disconnection and loss of control in the user.
Despite its dissociative effects, ketamine has been reported to be effective in treating conditions of depression and mental disorders. Its effectiveness in treating such conditions goes beyond speculation, as ketamine treatments have been approved by the FDA for managing treatment-resistant depression.
It can also be used to treat other conditions such as Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), bipolar disorder, chronic pain, and suicide ideation.
How Does Ketamine Work?
Although ketamine treatments are still being researched, the medical director of New Waters Recovery, psychiatrist Harold Hong, M.D, gives us a clue. Ketamine works by regulating the glutamate system of the brain. The glutamate system consists of the glutamate pathways and receptors in the central nervous system.
Glutamate is the most abundant neurotransmitter in the central nervous system. It is very vital to the proper functioning of the brain, and it plays a major role in cognition, memory, and mood regulation. Overactivity in the glutamate system can result in depression, anxiety, and addiction.
Ketamine works by inhibiting one of the main receptors of the glutamate system, known as the NMDA [N-methyl-D-aspartate] receptor. This lowers the activity of glutamate, therefore, allowing the therapeutic effect of Ketamine to be noticed.
Ketamine as a Recreational Drug
While Ketamine can be used medically to treat depression, it is unsafe to use it as a recreational treatment or for self-medication. Ketamine treatments should be only administered in a hospital by a licensed physician.
There are several risks involved when it is used for recreational purposes. First, because of its nature, it may be difficult for the user to ascertain the dosage, thereby leading to an overdose. Especially if the user uses it alongside other drugs.
Most cases of overdose occur when the user attempts to take advantage of its hallucinogenic effect to reach a state of highness – known as the “K-hole.” Some have described this experience as a near-death experience, some as a feeling of floating, and others as a state of complete bliss. While in this state, the user may experience a feeling of numbness and immobility and thus may not be able to call for help.
When Should Ketamine be Used for Treating Depression?
While a treatment that offers fast relief may seem like a good option for treating depression, not everyone is eligible for a Ketamine treatment. Ketamine is often recommended for treatment-resistant depression. That is, in cases of severe depression where the patient seems not to respond to other treatments. It is important to note that Ketamine treatments should be administered alongside therapy rather than as a lone treatment.
Other factors may determine if a patient can receive Ketamine treatments or not. For example, in cases where a patient has treatment-resistant depression and is also pregnant or has schizophrenia, psychosis, high blood pressure, and acute substance abuse, then Ketamine may not be the best treatment option.
Using Ketamine for self-medication or as a recreational way of treating depression is not advisable. It may lead to more complications for a patient. Cases of depression are best handled by a psychiatrist who has been trained to manage and treat such conditions.