You’ve tried seemingly every trick in the book to defeat your depression. You’ve forced yourself to exercise. You’ve taken magnesium and B-vitamin complex supplements in an effort to elevate your mood. You’ve spent time in the sunshine and taken SSRIs. If traditional methods have failed you, ketamine therapy at Renew Health in Tempe, AZ can help.
Ketamine is known for a lot of things. Some people know it as a horse tranquilizer. Others know it as a party drug that drags you into a “K hole.” What this medication should be known for are the wonders it can work for major depressive disorder. Today, we’re discussing the history of the drug and how ketamine therapy works for major depressive disorder.
How Ketamine Therapy Treats Major Depressive Disorder
When administered in a clinical setting by a qualified professional like Dr. Aaron Ketcher, DNP, FNP-C, CRNA, NSPM-C, ketamine can turn your life around like no other medication or lifestyle change can. Psychiatrists prescribe this medication when all other options have been exhausted. It has even eliminated suicidal ideations in individuals who have attempted suicide.
Exactly how ketamine treats depression is still being studied. However, current research suggests that the drug repairs damaged pathways between brain cells that are responsible for your mood.
How Many Treatments Are Required to Get Results
Immediately after your first session, you will feel better. You will feel that there is a weight lifted off of your shoulders and the colors of the surrounding world are brighter. However, you will still experience symptoms of depression, such as apathy, lethargy, and lack of appetite. It can take up to six sessions before the final results of treatment are realized.
Furthermore, you may need a ketamine therapy booster treatment once a year to maintain the antidepressant effects. However, everyone’s experience is so unique that it’s hard to say for sure how often you would need a follow-up appointment, if you ever needed one at all.
How to Prepare for Treatment
To prepare for your ketamine infusion, it is imperative that you cleanse your body and mind. To cleanse your body, avoid such mood-altering chemicals as nicotine, alcohol, and THC. To cleanse your mind, minimize your exposure to violence on television, in music, and in movies.
While it’s hard to do with depression, the closer your mind is to a blank slate, the better your results will be. If you can, meditate and journal to improve your mental state as much as possible. If you can gain insight into problems in your life, you will experience better results.
What to Expect During Treatment
To treat depression, ketamine is delivered intravenously. Your dosage and how long the treatment will take depends on your body weight. Generally, treatment sessions take between 45 and 60 minutes. We recommend that you wear a comfortable t-shirt or short-sleeved polo to your session. We will need access to your arm to monitor your vitals and administer the ketamine.
You should not expect to feel pain or discomfort during treatment. If you’re wary of needles, let us know during your initial consultation and we can administer a mild anesthetic to ensure your comfort during treatment. Each treatment is administered in a private room, and you have the option to receive treatment alone or with a loved one.
What to Do if You’re Anxious About Treatment
It’s natural to feel anxiety related to starting a new treatment. Rest assured, your treatment will be comfortable, safe, and effective. If you’ve been prescribed an anti-anxiety medication or sedative, ask if there are any potential contraindications you should be aware of. If there are no contraindications, you are free to take one to put your mind at ease.
You are free to as much privacy as you’d like during your treatment. However, if you would feel more comfortable with a relative in the room, that is acceptable. We will advise him or her to not talk to you unless you start the conversation. Furthermore, we design our rooms with your peace of mind in mind. The room will be dimly lit, and you may ask for music, too.
What to Expect After Treatment
One of the primary differences between ketamine and other antidepressants is it starts to work immediately. All other forms of antidepressants, including SSRIs, take several weeks to start working, if they work at all. With a ketamine drip, you will find a heavy veil lifted off of you as soon as you come out of your physically sedated state.
You may not be able to imagine what it feels like to not be depressed. However, once you experience it after a ketamine drip, you will not soon forget the feeling. It takes a few hours for the ketamine to finish leaving your nervous system. As it leaves, you will feel continuously better until about three hours after treatment, when you will feel the final results.
How to Care for Yourself After Treatment
Since ketamine has a physically sedating effect, you may feel drowsy after treatment. This is perfectly normal and nothing to be concerned about. If you have nothing else scheduled for the day, feel free to go home and take a nap or engage in a relaxing activity.
If you have to go back to work or school, take a cat nap if you have time. If you don’t, eat a reasonably portioned, healthy, well-balanced meal. Unless you have dietary restrictions related to a medical condition, feel free to include quick carbs in your meal for a rapid pick-me-up. Just be sure to balance that with lean protein and fiber.
The History of Ketamine
Contrary to popular belief, ketamine didn’t start out as a club drug manufactured on the street. Rather, it was first used as an anesthetic in the 1960s to ease the pain of soldiers injured in the Vietnam War. However, it was not FDA-approved until 1970. Even today, the most common use for ketamine today is to ease lower back pain.
The Future of Ketamine
Ketamine will definitely be used in the future for both acute and chronic pain relief. The dosage required to achieve pain relief is much smaller than the dosage required to treat depression. This makes it affordable to everyone, regardless of their health insurance provider. Furthermore, it eliminates the need for dangerous, addictive analgesics.
In the future, there may be widespread use of ketamine to treat depression. It will most likely be commonplace in the most extreme cases, especially where traditional antidepressant methods have failed. Furthermore, it will probably become common to relieve the symptoms of depression for the few weeks it takes a traditional drug to take effect.
Major Depressive Disorder
Remember, ketamine is used to treat major depressive disorder and is not currently proven to effectively treat any other type of depression. Therefore, to be a good candidate for ketamine to treat depression, you need to have a major depressive disorder.
Some of the most common symptoms of major depressive disorder include:
- Sleep disorders, like insomnia or excessive sleep
- Frustration, irritability, and angry outbursts
- Chronic fatigue or exhaustion
- Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
- Anxiety or restlessness, especially at night
- Feeling that even small tasks take significant effort
- Slowed speech and reduced cognitive abilities
- Feeling worthless
- Idiopathic pain
- Suicidal ideations
There are several diagnostic testing methods that may be used to verify the existence of depression. Diagnosis always starts with a discussion of symptoms you have experienced that led you to seek a diagnosis. You may find it useful to keep a journal of your experiences. For example, you may write down when you have no appetite and can’t brush your hair.
To diagnose the cause of your depression, you may undergo lab tests to sample your complete blood count or test for thyroid functionality. Your hormone serum levels may also be tested if there’s a good chance that imbalanced hormones triggered your major depressive disorder.
There are several potential causes and risk factors of major depressive disorder. The most common cause of major depressive disorder is an inherited trait. If your mother or father was diagnosed with the condition, they may have passed on genes that caused you to develop the condition.
In women, the most common cause of major depressive disorder is hormonal imbalances. For example, hypothyroidism and pregnancy can lead to low levels of estrogen that trigger depression. Other causes include changes to the physical structure of the brain and changes in the function of neurotransmitters that interact with certain chemicals.
The most significant risk factor for developing major depressive disorder is age. Major depressive disorder is most often diagnosed between the ages of 14 and 39. It is most often diagnosed in teens because hormone levels tend to be imbalanced during puberty and trigger depression. Women who have given birth are also at high risk of developing MDD.
Less obvious risk factors of MDD include a family history of bipolar disorder, alcohol addiction, and suicide. Furthermore, having a non-traditional sexual orientation in a conservative household can trigger depression. Other risk factors include:
- Being raised in poverty
- Experiencing physical or sexual abuse
- Experiencing financial or emotional abuse
- Having low self-esteem
- Growing up with little autonomy
- Having a pessimistic attitude in general
Risks of Avoiding Treatment
When you suffer from major depressive disorder, even brushing your teeth or getting out of bed can be insurmountable tasks some days. The thought of receiving treatment may seem so overwhelming or hopeless that you may not seek treatment, especially if traditional therapies have failed in the past.
However, depression often worsens as it goes untreated. It can lead to the abuse of drugs, like alcohol and nicotine. It can lead to difficulty in school, at work, or within your family. It can lead to social isolation and severe social phobia. There are also several physical effects of depression you have to worry about, including:
- Headaches and backaches
- Obesity, type 2 diabetes, and heart disease
- Anorexia or orthorexia
Other Types of Depression
Accurately diagnosing your type of depression is important in determining if ketamine drips will benefit you. There are several types of depression and some share symptoms with major depressive disorder. However, there are distinguishing characteristics that help professionals determine what exactly you’re suffering from. These include:
- Depression with anxious distress
- Depression with mixed features
- Depression with melancholic features
- Depression with atypical features
- Depression with psychotic features
- Depression with catatonia
- Depression with peripartum onset
- Depression with a seasonal pattern (SAD)
Learn More About Ketamine for MDD Today
If traditional depression treatments have failed you, don’t give up hope. Ketamine therapy for depression can give you your life back. To learn more about this groundbreaking technique, please contact us today at Renew Health in Tempe, AZ to schedule your initial consultation. If you don’t feel comfortable calling us at (877) 880-8606, you can book an appointment online.