Major depression is a complex disorder that usually requires a multi-layered approach to treatment. This is because the root cause of extreme depression is often biological, psychological, and social. We will discuss the nature of depression and the potential treatments for it in other articles on this site. This article focuses on the relatively new ketamine treatment for depression.
What is ketamine treatment for depression?
Ketamine has been around for a while as an anaesthetic and horse tranquilizer. In the past decade or so there has been more than one ketamine depression study. These studies have shown that ketamine treatment for depression is rapidly effective, even in the 30% or more of clients who do not respond to antidepressant treatment. This makes ketamine therapy as a treatment for major depression very appealing on the surface.
Benefits of ketamine therapy for depression.
The benefits of ketamine treatment for depression are that it is very effective in rapidly relieving suicidal thoughts in extremely depressed clients. At the hospital, the psychiatrist injects the ketamine through an IV into your vein. Although we will go over the negative aspects of ketamine therapy in the next section, it is important to remember that the benefits are actually astronomical because ketamine provides help for those with severe depression. That help can save a life.
Sadly, sometimes depression can be a silent killer because people are so sad and cannot find a way to end the pain without ending their lives. Ketamine treatment for depression offers hope and comfort to people who might otherwise have none.
Drawbacks of ketamine treatment for depression
There are several drawbacks of ketamine therapy for depression. The primary one is that although it works rapidly, it also stops working rapidly. Without repeated injections, the depression often returns. This can be impractical, which is why some researchers are investigating the potential for intranasal ketamine therapy. Intranasal ketamine therapy, as the name implies, would be inhaled through the nostrils. It is therefore something that patients could take at home.
Another potential downside of ketamine therapy is that it can raise a person’s heart rate and blood pressure and, in larger doses, it can potentially cause bladder problems. Also, there is a risk of addiction and/or drug abuse. Although this is ketamine for depression, it is the same ketamine that is “special K” in the club scene albeit at a different dosage and in a different formulation.
Conclusion about ketamine depression treatment
Ketamine injection for depression can save lives. It might not be an ideal first avenue of treatment, but as a last resort treatment for severe depression, it can be the difference between life and death.
There is hope even if you feel hopeless
To those who are depressed and reading this I want to say in this and in other articles that there is hope. You may be feeling hopeless, but that is because feeling hopeless is a symptom of depression — this is one of the most insidious things about depression. The illness itself takes away your feeling of hope that the illness will, in time, get better. However, it will get better and there are many treatment options. (If you are extremely depressed to the point of being suicidal, please call your local emergency number right away and/or go to the hospital and explain how you are feeling. Click here for a link to the Google Search results on suicide hotlines or find one nearest to you if you prefer).
Be a supportive friend to those who suffer from depression
Please keep in mind how debilitating depression can be. I mention this because I believe that ketamine therapy for depression is a little extreme. However, when a person suffers from extreme depression, just an empty pit of hopelessness, they are in serious danger. They might not even look like it, but it is very important to recognize this before it is too late.
If they will try ketamine therapy and their psychiatrist recommends it, try to be encouraging. Although it is an extreme therapy, remember that this is a very serious problem that is life-threatening.