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Ketamine Therapy

How Ketamine Therapy Helps Treat Treatment-Resistant Depression

7 min read

Depression, though it is often referred to as an invisible illness, is far more prevalent than commonly perceived. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 265 million individuals worldwide are currently suffering with this mental health condition. Some of the symptoms of depression include feelings of profound sadness, alterations in sleep and eating patterns, and in severe instances, thoughts of self-harm or suicide.

Given its pervasive impact on an individual’s well-being, seeking treatment for depression is vital for individuals to regain their sense of normalcy. However, treating depression does not have a one-size-fits-all approach. While psychological therapies and medications are often effective in alleviating the common symptoms of depression, there are instances where these conventional treatments fall short. In such cases, the approach needs to be tailored according to the specific diagnosis and severity of depression, which necessitates the exploration beyond the most common treatments. 

If you have been diligently seeking treatment for your depression without finding relief, and nothing seems to work, it is essential to seek guidance from your doctor. Persistent challenges in managing depression may indicate the presence of treatment-resistant depression (TRD). When this happens, you should consult your healthcare provider for recommendations and explore alternative treatment options. TRD necessitates a comprehensive evaluation and personalized approach to effectively address the condition and improve quality of life.

What is Treatment-Resistant Depression?

Finding relief for depression is quite frustrating, even more when you are dealing with TRD.

If you have been dealing with depression for quite some time now despite undergoing treatment, you might be experiencing treatment-resistant depression (TRD). While antidepressants and psychotherapy often alleviate depression symptoms for some patients, they may not have the same effects for individuals that have TRD. Depressive symptoms might still persist despite treatment efforts, or improvements might be fleeting, with the depression recurring.

When cases like these occur, the best option is to consult a healthcare provider that specializes in mental health. Your primary care doctor can recommend you with a psychiatrist who will conduct a thorough assessment, considering various factors:

Medical History Review

Your psychiatrist will delve into your medical history, exploring life circumstances that might contribute to your depression. 

Treatment Response Evaluation

Your psychiatrist will assess your response to previous depression treatments, which includes medications and psychotherapy, to gauge effectiveness. 

Medication Review

All medications, including over-the-counter drugs and herbal supplements, will be reviewed by your psychiatrist in order to ensure a comprehensive treatment assessment. 

Adherence and Lifestyle Factors

You and your psychiatrist will be having a discussion that centers around medication adherence and lifestyle habits, as it is crucial for effective treatment. 

Physical Health Consideration

Physical health conditions potentially exacerbating or causing depression, such as thyroid disorders or chronic pain, will be examined.

Potential Co-Occurring Conditions

The psychiatrist will be evaluating the possibility of other mental health conditions complicating depression, such as bipolar disorder or dysthymia, which may require some other distinct treatment approaches. 

Addressing TRD necessitates exploring various treatment modalities, tailored to individual needs. From medication adjustments to alternative therapies, the goal is to find effective interventions. Treatment-resistant depression manifests across a spectrum, demanding a comprehensive approach to identify viable solutions.

What is Ketamine?

Ketamine is a unique psychedelic, known as a dissociative drug, that has diverse effects, as it offers relief from pain, forgetfulness, intoxication, dissociation, and even euphoria. Ketamine was originally developed in the 1950s as an anesthetic and was commonly utilized on the battlefields. However, Ketamine’s application has expanded beyond anesthesia to include treatment for challenging cases of depression such as treatment-resistant depression (TRD), and it offers two administration methods: IV infusions or nasal sprays.

What are the Benefits of Ketamine?

Ketamine has a lot of benefits, particularly its prescription version called Esketamine (Spravato), which helps alleviate the symptoms of treatment-resistant depression. It has been demonstrated to offer the following benefits: 

  • Reduction in suicidal thoughts
  • Decrease in thoughts of self-harm 
  • Alleviation of symptoms related to anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Beyond its mental health benefits, ketamine therapy can also positively impact your physical health. Ketamine infusions, for instance, have been shown to decrease the body’s inflammatory signals while enhancing communication with the brain. In cases of severe depression, individuals may experience fluctuations in their eating habits, ranging from overeating to loss of appetite. By alleviating depression symptoms, ketamine therapy can help normalize these eating patterns, which will allow you to regain control over your diet and pursue a healthier, well-balanced lifestyle.

Administered via nasal spray, the use of Spravato requires supervision by a healthcare provider in a certified medical setting. This ensures that patients receive appropriate monitoring and follow-up care to ensure safety and efficacy.

Is Ketamine Therapy the Right Treatment for You?

Ketamine doesn’t promise a cure; rather, it offers relief from depressive symptoms for a period of time. Before you make the decision to undergo ketamine therapy, it is very important to understand that it is not the typical first-line treatment for depression. Ketamine therapy for depression is reserved for cases where traditional treatments have proven ineffective, particularly when an individual is diagnosed with treatment-resistant depression.  

To determine if ketamine therapy is suitable for you, it is crucial to have discussions with your primary care doctor, mental health provider, and other healthcare professionals that are involved in your care. It is imperative to openly communicate any concerns or questions you may have about ketamine therapy, as your healthcare team can provide valuable insights and address any uncertainties that you may have, which will help you make an informed decision about your treatment options.

Should you go to a Ketamine Clinic for Treatment?

When you are dealing with overwhelming symptoms that are starting to impact your daily life, seeking treatment at a Ketamine clinic like Marpa Minds, a New York City-based depression clinic, can offer relief. Specializing in ketamine therapy for treatment-resistant depression, we can provide you with an alternative approach to traditional treatments. With our expertise in this innovative treatment approach, we aim to provide you with effective relief from the burdens of treatment-resistant depression when traditional methods have fallen short.

Ketamine for Treatment-Resistant Depression

Ketamine operates differently compared to standard antidepressants like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). SSRIs function by increasing levels of serotonin, a neurotransmitter responsible for transmitting signals between brain cells. By blocking the reabsorption (reuptake) of serotonin, SSRIs enhance its availability in the brain, thereby alleviating depression symptoms. 

On the other hand, Ketamine is able to foster the formation of new connections (synapses) between brain cells, which is a process that is associated with the alleviation of depression and reduction in suicidal ideation. Individuals battling depression typically exhibit fewer of these connections, which helps in alleviating their symptoms.

For individuals that are currently dealing with severe, treatment-resistant depression, the struggle can feel utterly overwhelming, like battling against an unrelenting tide of darkness. Ketamine stands a beacon of hope in these moments of despair, as it offers a lifeline to those who have been searching for relief. When traditional treatments fail to lift the heavy veil of sadness, ketamine steps in, offering a glimmer of possibility and the promise of brighter days ahead. Get relief from treatment-resistant depression. Contact Marpa Minds to take the first step towards your recovery today.