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How Does Ketamine Work?

Ketamine is an FDA-approved anesthetic medication that is said to have a fast-acting effect on depression symptoms. While the medicine is not the primary treatment for depression or other mental health issues, several clinics like Complete Ketamine Solutions of Phoenix have given it as an off-label medication. 

What Does Ketamine Do?

From the several small-scale studies and research conducted on the medication, it is understood that Ketamine rapidly reduces depression, PTSD, anxiety symptoms, and chronic pain conditions like CRPS. It significantly affects acute symptoms like acute suicidal thoughts and anxiety. In addition, it is said to help about 70% of individuals with mood disorders like post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, and anxiety, even when they have symptoms that resist treatment and don’t respond to therapies and medications like TMS, ECT, SSRIs, and other medications. 

How Does Ketamine Rapidly Reduce Depression Symptoms?

Ketamine affects several receptors and pathways in the body and brain. One of the primary pathways it affects is glutamate. Ketamine is also an NMDA receptor antagonist that binds to the same receptor protein on your cell’s membranes. It blocks the glutamate from binding on these cells. However, researchers still don’t know how these pathways interact. 

How Does Ketamine Work?

Below is a summary of how researchers think Ketamine may be working in the brain:

Benefits of Ketamine Infusions

Below are some of the benefits of Ketamine infusions:

Quick Symptom Relief

Ketamine infusions provide quick relief from depression symptoms. Typically, they can help ease depressive symptoms within hours. Though researchers are still trying to understand how Ketamine infusions are so powerful, they have determined that the drug stimulates a rapid increase in glutamate. This glutamate helps strengthen and restore vital neural connections in the brain most affected by depression and induces positive changes in the brain circuit function.

High Success Rate

Though Ketamine infusion therapy is still being researched, many studies show that it is highly successful in treating depression. Many studies have shown that more than half the people with TRD have experienced significant symptom relief after a single Ketamine infusion. Many other patients experienced relief after two or three sessions. This great efficacy rate is what makes Ketamine infusion therapy so beneficial for individuals with depression who have not been able to get relief through other forms of treatment.

Lasting Symptom Remission

While Ketamine therapy is not a one-time medication that cures depression in one sitting, it is also not like other medicines that need to be taken for years. Instead, Ketamine therapy stimulates positive brain changes that provide lasting symptom relief over the course of a single treatment cycle. 

Usually, the critical phase of Ketamine therapy in an average patient will last for a series of six infusions spaced out over two to three weeks. However, this treatment will have to be followed by a long-term maintenance phase that includes booster infusions as and when needed.

Disadvantages of Ketamine Therapy

Despite its major benefits, Ketamine therapy has some drawbacks. These drawbacks are related to its dissociative effects and potential addictive properties. Though Ketamine infusions use sub-anesthetic doses to relieve symptoms of depression, they can lead to temporary side effects, including floating sensations, mild hallucinations, dizziness, and blurry vision. This is why Ketamine infusion therapy must be:

Since you might experience immediate side effects, someone else should drive you to and from your therapy appointment. While most of the side effects may wear off fast, you may continue to feel dizzy or groggy till you have had a good night’s sleep. 

Ketamine may not be the ideal solution for everyone due to its potentially addictive characteristics. However, if you feel you may benefit from this therapy, you can contact your nearest ketamine infusion clinic to learn more about the treatment.

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