Ketamine treatments are an infusion given as an off-label treatment for treatment-resistant depression. It has long-lasting benefits for many patients and may work more effectively than SSRIs in treating depression and other mental health conditions. Ketamine can help patients relax and has a history of giving mild euphoric feelings to those who take it. Read on to learn about ketamine treatments, how long they last, and if they might be right for you.
What is a Ketamine Treatment?
Ketamine, originally used as an anesthetic, has become an increasingly popular off-label treatment for treatment-resistant depression (TRD). Ketamine works differently than selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Lexapro and Zoloft because they can effectively target and repair the effects of depression. Patients with TRD use ketamine alongside psychotherapy and psychopharmacology to ease symptoms of depression. Some research has indicated that ketamine treatments may also improve symptoms in other psychiatric disorders such as bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
What Does IV Ketamine Feel Like?
Every patient reacts differently to ketamine therapy. Patients being given low-dose ketamine therapy for treating depression tend to experience the following:
- Mild euphoric feelings
- Increased awareness of the body
- Feelings of dissociation from one’s body
- Deep relaxation
- Visual hallucinations
Ketamine works as a dissociative anesthetic, leading patients to experience distorted sights, colors, sounds, and self. These experiences may result in dissociation, a feeling of leaving one’s own body. Some patients may suddenly relive memories and emotions, including unprocessed memories or feelings. Reliving these experiences and feelings allows patients to process them, which may help alleviate the mental stress contributing to their depression.
How Long Do Ketamine Treatments Last?
While ketamine is generally eliminated from the body within 10-12 hours after an administered session, its effects can last for weeks or even months. Ketamine has noticeable physical effects within seconds when administered intravenously. Patients can feel the therapeutic effects within just a few hours, much quicker than SSRI medications, which can take several weeks or months to provide therapeutic benefits to patients.
How Long Does Ketamine Effects Last?
In addition to having a faster onset of therapeutic effects, ketamine treatment benefits appear to last longer, up to three months from a single month. Contrast this with SSRIs, whose benefits decline rapidly after quitting the medication. These drastic differences show why ketamine treatments are better to treat TRD. Ketamine infusion’s faster onset of benefits and longer working time make them a preferred treatment for patients who can’t afford to wait several months to see changes in their depression.
Will Ketamine Change the Way My Brain Functions?
Ketamine therapy can change the way your brain functions, treating and improving depression symptoms in three phases.
- Phase One: Shortly after treatment, ketamine begins working by activating your brain’s opiate receptors, creating a wave of relaxation and a feeling of sedation.
- Phase Two: After treatment, your glutamate receptors begin increasing, causing a domino effect that restores glutamate and GABA levels, which causes a continued feeling of relaxation.
- Phase Three: Once levels are stable later on, new neural receptors begin to grow as a reaction to the ketamine. Think of this as hitting the “mental reset” button.
Ketamine Treatment Options in Colorado, Texas, and New Mexico
If you’re wondering if ketamine treatment may be right to alleviate your treatment-resistant depression, Klarisana may be able to help. Klarisana is a mission-driven organization committed to “rebuilding lives.” We are a mental health treatment facility with Texas, Colorado, and New Mexico locations. If you’re ready to find treatments that can help improve your mental state, contact us and let our mental health professionals find a treatment that works best for you.
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