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Ketamine Infusion Therapy for Depression

Depression is the most common mental disorder in the United States and the world. Over 15 million Americans have a major depressive episode every year, and it is estimated that depression affects 300 million people worldwide. Studies have shown depression is twice as common in females compared to males. Depression and pain often co-occur, and pain symptoms are present in 65% of depressed patients. It is the leading cause of suicide in the United States and the world. Nearly 40,000 Americans and 800,000 people worldwide die every year from suicide due to uncontrolled and undertreated depression.

Depression treatment has traditionally consisted of medications, psychotherapy and electroconvulsive therapy.

There are several types of anti-depressant medications commonly used, and they usually take 6-8 weeks to work.Unfortunately, many of the medications used are plagued by intolerable side effects including nausea, headache, difficulty sleeping, agitation and sexual dysfunction.

Of the 15 million Americans who seek treatment, 30-40% will not get better with traditional treatment of oral medications, therapy or ECT. Fortunately researchers are working hard to find other treatments, and recently there have been several promising studies using ketamine for depression.

Proven Research on Ketamine Therapy

Starting in 2000 with a study published by Yale, Ketamine for depression was first shown to be a rapid, effective treatment. Dozens more studies have been conducted by Yale and other major institutions, including the National Institutes of Health, the Veterans Administration, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Mount Sinai Medical School and Oxford University.

Psychotherapy is an important component of depression treatment. Therapy can be helpful in teaching a patient new ways of thinking and behaving, and changing habits that may be contributing to the depression. Often, therapy can help uncover difficult relationships or situations that may be causing the depression or making it worse.

Electroconvulsive therapy, also known as ECT or “shock treatments”, is often used as a last resort in severe cases that do not respond to medications and/or psychotherapy. Studies show ECT is effective about 50% of the time.

Ketamine for Depression

The effectiveness of ketamine for depression has been reconfirmed and proven many times. Just how ketamine works as a treatment is not entirely understood, however, there is some evidence that it causes biochemical changes in the brain that help alleviate symptoms. A significant advantage of ketamine vs. traditional treatment is the rapid improvement in symptoms. Most patients getting an infusion of ketamine feel better the day of their treatment, rather than 6-8 weeks with traditional treatment. If you have been suffering from depression symptoms and traditional treatment is either not effective or causes uncomfortable side effects, ketamine infusion therapy may be a good option for you.