Ketamine is primarily used for anesthesia in emergencies following painful physical injuries. As anesthesia, ketamine does not depress the respiratory system or stimulate the circulatory system. As such, ketamine works well as anesthesia for children with certain heart conditions and patients with asthma or other conditions obstructing breathing. On the other hand, ketamine is also abused for its sedative and hallucinogenic properties.
Along with other “club drugs,” ketamine has been popular among teens and young adults at parties or “raves.” Because of this, ketamine is considered a Schedule III non-narcotic substance under the Controlled Substances Act. Despite its classification, the drug has been used as an anti-depressant for treatment-resistant depression in recent years. Studies on the effectiveness of ketamine therapy are somewhat limited. However, evidence reveals 70% remission rates from treatment-resistant depression with ketamine treatment.
How Does Ketamine Therapy at The Willows Health and Recovery work?
Ketamine therapy at The Willows works by injection or a nasal spray. In March of 2019, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the nasal spray version of ketamine called esketamine (brand name Spravato). The nasal spray can be used along with an oral anti-depressant for treatment-resistant depression. This combination revealed that ketamine therapy helps depression by allowing certain neurotransmitters to communicate with one another.
Depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders are often the result of misfires or a lack of communication between neurons within your brain. A 2019 article from Harvard Medical School explains how ketamine can help with depression. Ketamine binds to NMDA receptors in your brain. By binding to NMDA receptors, ketamine increases the amount of a chemical called glutamate within the brain.
The overabundance of glutamate then activates AMPA receptors. By blocking NMDA receptors and activating AMPA receptors, ketamine helps other neurons communicate with one another. This communication between neurons may, in turn, affect your mood and thoughts. During ketamine therapy at The Willows, you might begin with twice-weekly treatments. Then as symptoms improve, you treatments may stop or you may begin maintenance doses. You and your treatment team can determine the next steps forward for continuing ketamine therapy.
Is Ketamine treatment right for you?