Ketamine Infusion Therapy for Treatment-Resistant Depression

Treatment-resistant depression is a frustrating mental health condition. Of course, any form of depression can be debilitating and overwhelming. However, the problem is magnified when you have tried every treatment that you can think of and still don’t get any relief. That’s the case with treatment-resistant depression. Luckily, there’s some hope on the horizon, because ketamine infusion therapy could be helpful for people with this form of depression.

What is Treatment-Resistant Depression?

Depression is a condition with many subtypes. For example, you can have major depression, chronic ongoing depression, or seasonal depression. However, all types of depression have the same basic symptoms in common. These include:

Changes in appetite and/or sleep
Difficulty with memory, concentration, and/or attention
Feelings of guilt, shame, and/or worthlessness
Hopelessness and negativity
Loss of interest in things previously enjoyed
Irritability, anger, and/or aggression
Sense of disconnection, numbness, and/or sadness.
Suicidal thoughts or plans

Treatment-resistant depression has the same symptoms. Additionally, you’ve tried to treat it, and nothing has improved those symptoms. People with treatment-depression depression have often tried:

Multiple medications in varying doses and combinations
Several forms of talk therapy
Lifestyle changes including diet and exercise plans
Neuro-psychological treatment including ECT and TMS

Nevertheless, the symptoms continue. Sometimes there is brief relief and then the symptoms return. In other cases, there is no relief at all. Unfortunately, although therapy and medication do help most people with depression, a significant percentage of depressed people will discover that they have treatment-resistant depression.

Ketamine Infusion Therapy for Treatment-Resistant Depression

There are many medications out there to treat depression. Ketamine is one of them. Unfortunately, it’s a controversial drug that isn’t yet readily available. That’s because it has been stigmatized due to recreational use/abuse by some people. However, strong research indicates its benefits for depression. The way that it works in the brain differs chemically from other anti-depressant medications.

This brain difference could be one reason that ketamine infusion therapy has been shown to have good results for people with treatment-resistant depression. We don’t know the full story of the brain, yet. However, we do know that some people’s brains sometimes work differently from others, and that this plays a role in depression. Ketamine may treat the brain in such a way that it provides relief to patients who have not experienced depression relief from other forms of treatment.

At the very least, ketamine is known to work quickly on depression. This can allow for relief while searching for other long-term depression treatment options. Most anti-depressants take days, weeks, or sometimes even months to become effective in the body. When you’re dealing with depression, that can feel like forever. Moreover, it means that you can’t always tell whether or not a drug is working. You stay on it for weeks, nothing improves, so your doctor ups the dosage. Then the doctor adds another drug. Then the doctor has you change drugs entirely, and with each change, you’re waiting additional weeks to see results. In contrast, when you get ketamine infusion therapy, you get relief the same day.

This isn’t just relief for the moment. It has the potential to provide enough relief to allow you to keep working with your doctors on additional forms of treatment. There may be a medication combination out there that does work for you, and you just need time to see the results. Alternatively, you may benefit from talk therapy, but only after the relief from ketamine allows your brain to calm down enough to actual work through issues with your therapist.

Maybe ketamine is the single answer for treatment-resistant depression because of the way that it acts on the brain. Alternatively, it could be one part of a bigger solution. Either way, it offers relief for people who have been struggling to find that relief for a very long time.

Dr. Jeffrey Ditzell is a Psychiatrist in New York City and specializes in issues involving anxiety depression and adult ADHD. Ketamine for Depression is one of the many treatments Dr. Ditzell offers to treat a variety of mental health issues.