A common mental illness that affects 280 million people globally, depression is a leading cause of disability worldwide, greatly impacting a person’s daily life, responsibilities, and relationships. When left untreated, depression symptoms can worsen and may even lead to suicidal tendencies without timely intervention. While depression can be treated, certain factors can prevent people from receiving the correct treatment and support, and some conventional treatments may not work for everyone. 

Traditional Antidepressant Medications

Conventional SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), which are common medications used to treat depression and anxiety are typically the first course of treatment, however, they may not always be effective, nor do they provide fast relief for those experiencing a major depressive episode. SSRIs often take a while to build up in your system which allows them to work and many people may even build tolerance over time, making them ineffective after a while. Symptoms can also quickly return once you stop taking the medication. 

In addition, these types of medications can come with a long list of troubling side effects that may cancel out the potential benefits, and for some people, can even worsen existing symptoms. Some of the most common side effects people experience with the use of SSRIs for depression or anxiety include:

  • agitation, irritability, or nervousness
  • blurred vision
  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • indigestion and other stomach issues
  • sleep issues – insomnia or drowsiness
  • sexual issues – erectile dysfunction, loss of libido, difficulty reaching orgasm

While traditional forms of treatment like SSRIs do work for many people, they don’t work for everyone, and they’re certainly not the only form of treatment. For those affected by treatment-resistant depression, who want rapid relief, or simply want a form of treatment that doesn’t come with a laundry list of unwanted side effects, ketamine therapy may be a solution. 

What is Ketamine Therapy?

Originally an FDA-approved anesthetic used for decades by pediatricians and veterinarians around the globe, new research shows ketamine may be the most important breakthrough in the treatment of depression and is a safe and effective alternative to SSRIs and other depression treatments.

Ketamine can be administered in small doses through a slow, constant intravenous (IV) drip providing immediate calming and therapeutic effects on the parts of the brain responsible for your mood and behavior. While ketamine therapy is commonly used for treating severe or treatment-resistant depression, it has also been proven to provide relief from suicidal ideations, anxiety, PTSD, and even chronic pain. Providers like TMS & Brain Health create a personalized and holistic approach to treating depression with ketamine therapy based on your individual mental health needs. For those with aversions to needles, they also provide treatment plans including an FDA-approved ketamine nasal spray therapy and rapid dissolve tablets to treat depression and other mental health concerns. 

Benefits of Ketamine Therapy

If you’re living with chronic depression, you probably know how difficult it can be to find the right treatment. If you’re interested in trying a new form of treatment for depression, here are some of the benefits of ketamine therapy. 

Rapid Results

While conventional SSRIs can often take weeks or even months to begin working as they take time to build up in your system, ketamine therapy works incredibly quickly, providing rapid relief, and relieving depression symptoms usually within just a few hours after the first session. For those experiencing a major depressive episode or suicidal thoughts, ketamine therapy may be the treatment you need to provide fast-acting results and immediate relief. 

High Rate of Success

Ketamine therapy has been shown to have a high rate of success in treating persistent depression. Studies show only one-third of those living with major depression achieve remission of symptoms after traditional SSRI and therapy treatment. While this innovative ketamine therapy is still being studied, research shows that over half of those who have treatment-resistant depression achieved significant relief of symptoms after a single ketamine infusion treatment, and even more so after two or more infusions. 

Long-Lasting Remission of Symptoms 

Conventional antidepressants must be taken daily for years on end to work with symptoms often returning once you stop taking the medication or if you happen to build up a tolerance to it. Ketamine therapy, however, may provide long-lasting remission of depression symptoms by stimulating beneficial brain changes over the course of just a single treatment cycle. The typical ketamine infusion protocol consists of six infusions spaced out over the course of two or three weeks, sometimes followed by a maintenance phase that includes occasional boosters as needed.