Does Ketamine for Depression Really Work?

Does Ketamine for Depression Really Work?

Those brooding, dark feelings of depression.  You don’t even feel like getting out of bed. If you’ve ever experienced these emotions, then you know how hard it can be to rebound.  Until recently, the most common treatments for depression were selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), like Prozac and Celexa, and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) such as Cymbalta.  But now there is a treatment that is showing promise in treating this condition: Ketamine.

What is Ketamine?

Ketamine is actually a common drug used in surgeries and even as a pain reliever.  Unfortunately, it has also been abused as a street drug “Special K.”   But when administered correctly by professionals, it is showing an increase in the effectiveness of treating depression among patients whose conditions weren’t improving with the traditional antidepressants.

How is Ketamine administered?

There are a few ways that this drug is administered.  The most common, and apparently most effective, way is through an intravenous infusion (IVs).    The average cost is around $450, and someone either stays with you or monitors you closely during the process.  This method has shown to be fast-acting; some patients even see immediate results, and the effects can last up to a few weeks.

Another way this drug is administered is through nasal spray.  Though possibly not quite as efficient as an IV, this is a good option for anyone with needle phobia!  The effects only last a day or two, but some would say that the relief from depression would be worth it.

Some insurance companies cover the cost of treatment, but it is a good idea to check before going this route.

Who benefits from using Ketamine?

It depends a lot on the personality and the length of time the patient has been suffering.  After careful screening by a professional, the rate of success actually varies from patient to patient.  Ketamine seems to work best with people who have mild to moderate depression as opposed to a persistent case.  Well over 50% of approved patients see relief. 

Ketamine has also proven to be more effective in people under the age of 50.  Additionally, if the patient has high blood pressure, chemical dependency issues, or a chronic medical condition, then Ketamine will not be administered.

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