Suicide in America is one of the leading causes of death and is a serious public health problem that is only getting worse. In 2020 nearly 12.2 million US adults reported seriously considering suicide. Additionally, mental health problems like depression and anxiety are on the rise. With almost one in five US adults living with a mental illness, finding new and innovative ways to treat these conditions is crucial.
One potential solution that is showing promise is ketamine therapy. According to a September 2022 study published in The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, ketamine may be a viable treatment option for patients with suicidal thoughts, treatment-resistant depression, and generalized anxiety symptoms. This breakthrough study suggests that ketamine therapy may be a much-needed solution for the millions of people struggling with mental illness.
What is Ketamine?
Ketamine is a medication that has been used for decades as an anesthetic in hospitals. However, in recent years, it has been found to have several therapeutic effects. When administered in low doses, ketamine has been shown to be a potential treatment option for several conditions such as:
- Post-traumatic stress
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Lyme disease
Due to ketamine’s therapeutic properties and safety profile, The World Health Organization has listed it as an essential medicine. By helping to create new neural connections and providing patients with an anti-inflammatory effect, ketamine may be a better option than traditional treatment methods. Through a process known as synaptogenesis, ketamine helps the brain release neurotransmitters that assist in nerve cell communication, which may ultimately lead to an improvement in symptoms.
Ketamine Therapy for Depression: The Research
During the study on ketamine, researchers analyzed data on 424 patients with treatment-resistant depression. Each of these patients underwent ketamine therapy at three separate infusion clinics between November 9, 2017, and May 4, 2021. A total of six ketamine infusions at a starting dose of 0.5 mg were administered to each patient for 40 minutes over a 21-day period. During each visit, study participants completed a mental and physical health assessment.
The data reported that 50% of the patients who received ketamine therapy responded to the treatment, and 20% of the patients achieved remission from their depression symptoms. Additionally, 50% of those who had suicidal ideation before treatment were now in remission after six weeks. Moreover, a 30% reduction in anxiety symptoms was reported by patients who participated in the study. These high remission and response rates are similar to interventional treatments such as oral medications and transcranial magnetic stimulation. However, ketamine therapy is less expensive and has less risk associated with the treatment.
How Does Ketamine Therapy Work?
During a ketamine therapy session, patients are administered a small amount of ketamine through an IV. Each session lasts about 40 minutes, and patients usually receive between four to six sessions over a two-week period. During this time, patients are closely monitored by a medical professional to ensure their safety. The effects of ketamine are often described as being similar to a dream-like state. Most patients are able to tell if ketamine is working within the first few sessions. Side effects of ketamine are generally mild and short-lived. Therefore, it is considered a safe and effective treatment option.
The Benefits of Ketamine Compared to Other Treatments
Upwards of 50% to 60% of patients do not find relief from traditional antidepressant medications, thus making treatment-resistant depression a significant problem. Ketamine offers hope to these patients as it has been shown to be a successful treatment option. Ketamine therapy is considered a much quicker treatment than other methods, often taking effect within hours or days. Furthermore, ketamine is used for a wide range of conditions, making it a versatile treatment option. So, instead of taking multiple medications for different conditions, patients may be able to find relief with ketamine alone.
See if Ketamine Therapy is Right for You at New Horizon
Ketamine is becoming an increasingly popular treatment option as its benefits become more widely known. If you or a loved one is struggling with depression, anxiety, or suicidal thoughts, ketamine therapy may be an innovative treatment option worth exploring. By going to New Horizon Clinics for your ketamine therapy, you’ll be in the care of some of the most highly trained and experienced ketamine providers in Florida. To learn more, visit our website or contact us to schedule a consultation.