Can Ketamine Be Used To Treat Depression?

FEATURED
November 4, 2021

Nue Life

Nue Life
9 MIN READ

Top points

  • Recent science shows that psychedelics such as ketamine can effectively treat major depressive disorder and related conditions.
  • Ketamine works differently than antidepressants, acting on glutamate to form new synaptic connections in the brain.
  • SSRIs don’t work for about 40% of patients, leading to a condition known as treatment-resistant depression.
  • Ketamine therapy safely provides long-lasting relief within 24 hours, even for people with treatment-resistant depression.

Depression is a common struggle for millions of people. Some only struggle with it for short periods of time: during the loss of a loved one or a medical crisis. Others are forced to battle with depression for their entire lives.

Depression can be debilitating. And some depression is so severe that antidepressants simply don’t make any difference. Treatment-resistant depression can be one of the most discouraging and confusing things to happen to a person.

But, in recent years, scientists have begun to rediscover psychedelic treatment as an option for dealing with major depressive disorder and other mental illnesses.

LSD and DMT are some more well-known psychedelics, but ketamine has had a particularly positive effect on treatment for depression. It has made a strong impact on the medical community in recent years.

So, in an effort to get you all the facts about the innovative treatment technologies out there today, we’re going to walk through ketamine and its uses against depression. Is this form of treatment viable? How does it compare to other depression therapies out there?

Let’s take a look.

What is Ketamine?

Ketamine is a psychedelic drug that was discovered in the 1960s. It was originally used as an anesthetic alternative that could relieve pain and induce sleep.

Ketamine is an anesthetic that doesn’t reduce heart rate or slow breathing, so it can be used without putting the patient on a ventilator if necessary. For this reason, it was incredibly influential during the war.

It was introduced into clinical practice in the 70s, but it was soon outlawed due to its widespread recreational use.

For a while, ketamine faded into the background, but scientists have begun to study it again in recent years, particularly regarding the treatment of depression and other mental illnesses. In 2019, ketamine was officially approved by the FDA to help treat resistant depression with a product called esketamine, a nasal spray.

How Can Ketamine Help With Depression?

Ketamine has various effects on the brain that work together to have its antidepressant effect.

Ketamine binds to specific receptors in the brain called NMDA receptors. When ketamine locks into them, there is an increase in a neurotransmitter called glutamate. Glutamate, in turn, binds to another type of receptor called AMPA receptors.

So, ketamine blocks NMDA receptors and activates AMPA receptors. This creates a state known as synaptogenesis, which allows your body to help synapses communicate with each other along new neural pathways.

Creating these new pathways allows you to get out of the rut of your depressive pathways, opening your mind to new experiences and worlds of thought.

How is Ketamine Different From SSRIs?

SSRIs, or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, are the most common form of antidepressant. They work by promoting the levels of serotonin in your brain. Ketamine is different.

Ketamine focuses on your neurons, binding to specific receptors to generate certain reactions and inhibit others. Ketamine works to target the source of the problem in your brain: neuron communication.

Depression is characterized by structural alterations in the brain that result in atrophy and loss of neurons in the part of your brain that regulates emotion. Ketamine helps restore the structure of your brain and promotes its ability to create new neurons and new neural pathways.

But the biggest difference is in the effectiveness of SSRIs. Studies show that for 40% of people with depression, SSRIs are simply not adequate. For these people with treatment-resistant depression, ketamine is a viable option that has been shown to consistently help with this type of depression.

How Does Ketamine Treatment Work?

There are a few different ways that you can go about ketamine treatment. As we said before, nasal spray is a very common method. However, the nasal spray only contains S-ketamine, which is only a part of the full chemical compound, so its effects could be limited.

Another common method is through IV. Intravenous administration of ketamine works very quickly and causes the most potent psychedelic experiences.

You can also get ketamine via an injection or shot. This shows similar effectiveness to IV ketamine administration.

All of those treatments pose some inconveniences because they all require you to have them administered by a medical professional, so you have to go into a doctor’s office to receive the treatment. Besides, ketamine infusions, especially IV, are all costly and, therefore, not accessible to everybody.

Ketamine can also be administered by mouth. A simple pill can have effects comparable to IV administration, and you can have the treatment done in the comfort of your own home.

What Are the Side Effects of Ketamine?

As with any medication or drug, some potential side effects could come with the use of ketamine. Side effects may include changes in blood pressure (would suggest to change drops in blood pressure to changes in blood pressure. We have patients with hypertension monitor their blood pressure during treatment because it can increase it) , nausea, and vomiting, perceptual disturbances (hallucinations), or dissociation (out of body experience).

However, many patients report that if they experience hallucinations or dissociations, it is a pleasant and even eye-opening or freeing experience. So some may not even describe those as adverse side effects.

Who can Benefit From Ketamine Treatment?

The fact is that so many people stand to gain from going through psychedelic therapy. Ketamine could potentially change the course of your depression and move you into a healthy life. So here are just a few people who stand to gain a lot from this type of treatment.

Older Women

Older women can be at a particular disadvantage when it comes to depression.

For starters, older people, in general, are more likely to experience depression. But that changes if you need home healthcare or if you’re hospitalized.

Older people are more likely to have a medical condition that requires extensive treatment, and that can have a very negative impact on your mental health. For people who need this type of care, rates of depression jump from under 5% to between 11.5% and 13.5%.

In addition to that, women have higher depression rates than their male counterparts. About 5.5% of women have major depression, compared to 3.2% of men. And this trend is consistent throughout life. On top of that, the most likely age group to struggle with depression is young girls.

This means that older women are a likely group of people struggling with depression. And as we said before, ketamine is most effective in long-term, major depression cases, so older women might have much to gain from this psychedelic treatment.

Veterans

Veterans can benefit from ketamine in more ways than one. It’s well known that veterans are at higher risk for mental disorders such as depression and PTSD.

Well, the good news is that ketamine has shown positive effects on both of these illnesses. We’ve already talked about how effective ketamine is with depression, so let’s look at how it works against PTSD.

Well, one study compared the effectiveness of ketamine compared with midazolam, a standard prescription for PTSD. Results showed that patients given ketamine responded well almost three times more often than patients treated with midazolam.

This indicates that PTSD is a more effective treatment for PTSD than more standard treatments.

People Who Need Immediate Improvement

Veterans can benefit from ketamine in more ways than one. It’s well known that veterans are at higher risk for mental disorders such as depression and PTSD.

Well, the good news is that ketamine has shown positive effects on both of these illnesses. We’ve already talked about how effective ketamine is with depression, so let’s look at how it works against PTSD.

Well, one study compared the effectiveness of ketamine compared with midazolam, a standard prescription for PTSD. Results showed that patients given ketamine responded well almost three times more often than patients treated with midazolam.

This indicates that PTSD is a more effective treatment for PTSD than more standard treatments.

People Who Didn’t Benefit From SSRIs

We touched on this earlier, but SSRIs are just not effective for a large number of people. But treatment-resistant depression is what ketamine is best at. Ketamine works most effectively for people who have been struggling with depression for a long time and have not found success in any other treatment.

Where Can I Find Ketamine Treatment?

Nue Life is an innovative new form of ketamine treatment. IV infusions of ketamine are expensive and time-consuming. That’s why we specialize in oral ketamine administration. You can take your treatment in the comfort of your own home.

At Nue Life, we want to create a program that is best for you. During your consultation, we’ll guide you through our different treatment plans during your consultation and perform an evaluation to better determine what dosage is right for you.

But we are more than just another faceless company that provides medicine and nothing else. Our community of KetaCounselors will guide you through your ketamine experiences, consulting you and giving you meaningful insights that can bring long-lasting, sustainable change to your depression by fighting it at its source.

This ketamine treatment is effective and holistic. It’s your right to feel good. And the research shows that ketamine could provide you the mental reset you may need to put your depression to bed.

Conclusion

So now you know everything there is to know about ketamine and its effects on depression. Ketamine is not just another psychedelic drug. It’s an effective medical treatment that can give you immediate and meaningful relief from the illness that ails your mind.

So consider ketamine today. Your first consultation with Nue Life is completely free so that you can learn more about our therapies without any commitment.

If you need immediate improvement for your depression, if SSRIs just aren’t cutting it, if you have PTSD from your time in the service, or you’ve battled with depression your whole life, ketamine could be the solution you’re looking for. Nue Life programs are designed to help you find the mental reset you’ve been searching for.

Sources

Depression is Not a Normal Part of Growing Older | Alzheimer’s Disease and Healthy Aging | CDC

Ketamine for major depression: New tool, new questions | Harvard Health Publishing

Ketamine for PTSD: Well, Isn’t That Special | American Journal of Psychiatry

Ketamine use in current clinical practice | National Institutes of Health

Neuronal damage and protection in the pathophysiology and treatment of psychiatric illness: stress and depression | National Institutes of Health

Why is depression more prevalent in women? | Journal of Psychiatry and Neuroscience

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