Find Happiness Again with Ketamine

ketamine treats depression

“This is a game-changer,” says John Krystal, MD, chief psychiatrist at Yale Medicine and one of the first pioneers of ketamine research in the country. Ketamine works differently than previously used antidepressants, he notes, calling ketamine “the anti-medication” medication. “With most medications, like valium, the anti-anxiety effect you get only lasts when it is in your system. When the valium goes away, you can get rebound anxiety. When you take ketamine, it triggers reactions in your cortex that enable brain connections to regrow. It’s the reaction to ketamine, not the presence of ketamine in the body that constitutes its effects”.

How Do Antidepressants Work?

Research into ketamine as an antidepressant began in the 1990s with Dr. Krystal and his colleagues at the Yale School of Medicine. At the time (as is still mostly true today) depression was considered a “black box” disease, meaning that little was known about its cause.

One popular theory was the serotonin hypothesis, which asserted that people with depression had low levels of a neurotransmitter called serotonin. This hypothesis came about by accident—certain drugs given to treat other diseases like high blood pressure and tuberculosis seemed to drastically affect people’s moods. Those that lowered serotonin levels caused depression-like symptoms; others that raised serotonin levels created euphoric-like feelings in depressed patients. This discovery ushered in a new class of drugs meant to treat depression, known as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). The first one developed for the mass market was Prozac.

But eventually, it became clear that the serotonin hypothesis didn’t fully explain depression. Not only were SSRIs of limited help to more than one-third of people given to them for depression, but growing research showed that the neurotransmitters these drugs target (like serotonin) account for less than 20 percent of the neurotransmitters in a person’s brain. The other 80 percent are neurotransmitters called GABA and glutamate.

GABA and glutamate were known to play a role in seizure disorders and schizophrenia. Together, the two neurotransmitters form a complex push-and-pull response, sparking and stopping electrical activity in the brain. Researchers believe they may be responsible for regulating the majority of brain activity, including mood.

This means stress and depression themselves make it harder to deal with negative events, a cycle that can make matters even worse for people struggling with difficult life events.

Ketamine—from Anesthetic to Depression “Miracle Drug” 

Interestingly, studies from Yale research labs showed that ketamine, which was widely used as anesthesia during surgeries, triggers glutamate production, which prompts the brain to form new neural connections. This makes the brain more adaptable and able to create new pathways and gives patients the opportunity to develop more positive thoughts and behaviors. This was an effect that had not been seen before, even with traditional antidepressants.

For the last two decades, researchers at Yale have led ketamine research by experimenting with using subanesthetic doses of ketamine delivered intravenously in controlled clinic settings for patients with severe depression who have not improved with standard antidepressant treatments. The results have been dramatic: In several studies, more than half of the participants show a significant decrease in depression symptoms after just 24 hours. These are patients who felt no meaningful improvement on other antidepressant medications.

Where to Get Ketamine Treatments

Ketamine IV therapy is the newest breakthrough for the treatment of depression. It is helpful for those who have not responded to traditional psychiatric medications and therapy.  We offer several IV nutritional therapy treatments including one with Ketamine. Every IV is administered by a physician in a spa-like environment.

Call  678-443-4000 or click book online to schedule your appointment today!