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Ketamine Infusions for Depression and Chronic Pain

Ketamine is a medication well-known for its use in hospitals where anesthesia is administered, but did you know it can also be used to improve mood and treat depression? In fact, Ketamine is being administered to more and more patients who are suffering from severe depression, with effective results.

In several clinical trials and studies, patients who were unresponsive to other treatments or required accelerated treatment showed improvement with Ketamine.

In many of these studies, including one published in Current Neuropharmacology in September of 2014, up to 89% of those who tried using Ketamine to treat their depression saw positive results, just 24 hours after their first treatment.

Ketamine has also been known to help with chronic pain when administered in the correct dose, which can help individuals suffering from a wide variety of conditions get back to doing what they love most.

What is Ketamine?

Ketamine is a drug developed in the 1950’s used for anesthetic purposes, including before and during surgeries and operations. It does not compromise respiratory functions and has a wide safety margin. One of its earliest documented uses was during the Vietnam War, where soldiers used it on the battlefield.

Ketamine is known for being a class III scheduled drug, meaning it is approved for use in medical settings, but due to its record of abuse and tendency to be used as a “club drug,” many are uninformed or tend to stray away from Ketamine as a viable treatment.

What Does Ketamine Treat?

While many have known Ketamine to be a widely popular party drug, it can be utilized as a positive medical treatment when administered by professionals. When taken in high doses, Ketamine can easily be abused, especially in those who are taking it to feel its auditory and visual hallucinogenic effects.

However, it can be quite a medical breakthrough when used properly in lower doses under the care of a medical professional. In these settings, the effects of Ketamine can be controlled, allowing a pleasant experience for the patient and reducing Ketamine addiction drastically. In fact, when closely monitored and controlled in a medical setting, Ketamine addiction or abuse is very rare. Here are some conditions treated by ketamine:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • PTSD
  • Suicidal Thoughts
  • Pain Disorders
  • PTSD
  • Mast Activation Cell Disorders

Ketamine for Depression and Pain

While depression is one large concern that Ketamine can help treat, another major issue Ketamine can address is chronic pain. Chronic pain affects the lives of individuals all over the globe, and oftentimes it can interrupt regular life activities, such as social engagements, work responsibilities and a person’s overall quality of life. Friendships and family relationships may struggle, while remaining economically stable can seem out of reach for those who suffer from chronic pain. In time, chronic pain can also lead to other medical issues due to the disruption it causes with sleep, proper diet, and the ability to get the right amount of exercise.

Ketamine vs. Antidepressants

Major depression, suicidal thoughts, and chronic pain can all have highly negative impacts on a healthy lifestyle. These conditions can stop you from living your life to the fullest and prevent you from feeling like yourself. With the wonderful medical breakthrough of Ketamine treatments, however, you can have a chance to beat those conditions and feel like your old self again, without various medications, such antidepressants as narcotics, which carry side-effects that can often leave you feeling worse than the condition itself.

Ketamine can actually work better than other treatments, including many pharmaceutical drugs that carry high side effect risks or expensive psychotherapy. When Ketamine treatments are administered under the care of a medical professional, Ketamine can help traditional sedatives and pain medications work better, almost amplifying their effect, which means that the need for stronger and more dangerous medications can dwindle.

Unlike antidepressants, which can take weeks or months to take effect and then can require regular dosage changes to continue working properly, Ketamine takes only one or two doses to bring about positive results. After a single session, which can last one or two hours, Ketamine can begin to ease depression and chronic pain. While scientists still aren’t sure exactly how it works, it appears that when Ketamine begins to be removed from the body, the effects on easing chronic pain and depression begin.

How Ketamine Works?

Ketamine works to reduce chronic pain and depression. When you use Ketamine, it has a mechanism that targets NMDA receptors, which are chemical receptors, in the brain. Once it has targeted and taken over these receptors, it causes a cascade of changes in a cellular level within the body, bringing about improvements in both depression symptoms and chronic pain.

While it is not one-hundred percent understood by the scientific community in terms of how it works or why, Ketamine’s history in regards to medical purposes and studies have shown that when it is used in a controlled medical setting, it can be helpful.

While there haven’t been a lot of scientific studies done on Ketamine and medical benefits, those smaller studies that have been conducted have reported positive results in terms of Ketamine treating chronic pain and depression. The more Ketamine makes an appearance as a medical tool in aiding in these conditions, the more studies will be conducted and reviews of the drug in medical literature will rise.

Ketamine Treatments Options

There are three different types of Ketamine treatments typically used to help with depression and chronic pain. Your medical professional will decide on a Ketamine treatment that is right for you and your particular ailment.

The three types of Ketamine treatments available are Ketamine infusions, nasal, and oral delivery.

Ketamine Infusions

Ketamine infusions are the most popular method, as Ketamine is far more bioavailable as an intravenous medication. Ketamine infusions are given slowly and through an IV hooked up to the patient. These treatments tend to take about an hour and provide a pleasant feeling for the patient. While most patients do have a slight dissociative experience in terms of sensitivity to lights, sounds, and colors, these effects wear off shortly after the transfusion is complete. Ketamine infusions rarely cause any negative side effects.

Nasal Ketamine

Ketamine administered nasally is also quite effective and produces rapid results in most patients who take the treatment in this fashion.

Oral Ketamine Delivery

While oral Ketamine treatment is also available, it isn’t used as readily as nasal Ketamine treatments and IV Ketamine infusions.

Both nasal and oral Ketamine are given at low doses to reduce the number of negative side effects. Ketamine is never given in doses that will bring about any kind of hallucinations.

Candidates for Ketamine Treatments

When considering using Ketamine as a part of your treatment plan for depression or chronic pain, it is important to first ensure that you are a proper candidate for Ketamine treatments.

Those who suffer from conditions such as refractory depression, OCD, and PTSD are ideal candidates for Ketamine treatments, as well as those who haven’t responded to traditional depression treatment in the past. Those suffering from severe neuropathic pain are also considered great candidates for Ketamine treatments.

Very few medical conditions can prevent you from receiving Ketamine treatments, and the benefits can make all the difference in those suffering from the conditions listed above.