How Can Ketamine Treat Depression?

ketamine and depression

How Can Ketamine Treat Depression?

When other antidepressants have failed, ketamine has proven to be a powerful tool in the fight against depression. People in this category are commonly diagnosed with “treatment-resistant depression.” Some research suggests that as many as one-third of those diagnosed with major depressive disorder also suffer from depression resistant to standard treatments.

Research has indicated that ketamine can lead to quick and consistent relief of depression symptoms, although the exact mechanism by which it works in treating depression is not yet entirely known. Infusions of ketamine have been shown to alleviate symptoms in as little as two hours, according to some studies, and its effects can linger for weeks or months.

Mood- and emotion-regulating neurotransmitters, including glutamate and brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), may be activated by ketamine. The anti-inflammatory actions of ketamine on the brain may potentially contribute to the drug’s antidepressant effects.

What Can You Expect During Ketamine Therapy for Depression?

Treatment with ketamine for depression often entails weekly or monthly IV infusions. The number of infusions and how often they are given will be based on how the patient responds and how severe their depression is.

What to expect from ketamine therapy sessions, in general:

To prepare for the ketamine infusion, a medical professional will first establish if ketamine therapy is a good fit for the patient. The patient’s medical history and current medications will be evaluated, and the doctor will conduct a physical exam and any other necessary diagnostic procedures. The patient will also be required to fast before receiving the infusion.

The patient will be asked to sit or lie down while an IV line is placed in their arm for the duration of the infusion. The infusion of ketamine will take anywhere from forty minutes to several hours, depending on the dosage and the patient’s response. All possible side effects will be tracked as the infusion progresses.

The patient will be monitored for some time after that to make sure they’re doing okay and not experiencing any unwanted side effects. Depending on the healthcare provider’s protocol, the patient may have to wait in the clinic or hospital for many hours after the infusion.

Depending on the patient’s reaction, additional infusions may be scheduled over the next few weeks or months. They may be told to keep up with other treatments, such as counseling or drug management.

Side effects of ketamine treatment include dissociation, nausea, increased blood pressure, and heart rate. However, these unwanted effects typically subside soon after the infusion is finished. In the event of unwanted side effects, the doctor or nurse will know how to address them.

When used with other treatments, ketamine therapy for depression can be highly beneficial. Treatment with ketamine should be carried out under the direct supervision of a medical professional who has experience with the drug.

Evaluation and preparation

Before starting ketamine therapy, the healthcare provider will evaluate the individual’s medical history, current medications, and symptoms to determine if they are a good candidate for the treatment. The individual may be required to fast for some time before the infusion to reduce the risk of adverse effects.

Infusion administration

The ketamine infusion will be administered intravenously (through an IV) while the individual is seated or lying down. The provider will monitor the individual’s vital signs throughout the infusion, such as blood pressure and heart rate. The dose and duration of the infusion will depend on the individual’s response and the healthcare provider’s protocol.

Observation and recovery

After the infusion, the individual will be monitored to ensure they are stable and not experiencing any adverse effects. Depending on the provider’s protocol, the individual may need to remain in the clinic or hospital several hours after the infusion to ensure their safety.


The healthcare provider will schedule follow-up appointments to monitor the individual’s progress and determine if additional infusions are needed. The frequency of follow-up appointments will depend on the individual’s response and the healthcare provider’s recommendation.



untreated depression

What Are the Potential Effects of Untreated Depression?

Untreated clinical depression can have significant long-term effects on an individual’s mental and physical health and overall quality of life. Here are some potential long-term effects of untreated clinical depression:

Chronic depression: If left untreated, depression can become a chronic condition, with symptoms lasting for months or even years. Chronic depression can lead to a reduced quality of life, difficulty functioning daily, and an increased risk of other health problems. Chronic depression is linked to many factors, including a family history of mood disorders.

Physical health problems: Depression has been linked to several physical health problems, including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and chronic pain. These health problems can significantly impact an individual’s overall health and well-being.

Substance abuse and addiction: Individuals with untreated depression may use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate or cope with their symptoms. This can lead to substance abuse and addiction, which have serious long-term consequences.

Relationship problems: Depression can affect an individual’s ability to form and maintain healthy relationships, both romantic and platonic. This can lead to social isolation and further exacerbate depression symptoms.

Suicidal thoughts and actions: Perhaps the most serious long-term effect of untreated depression is an increased risk of suicidal thoughts and actions. Depression is a leading risk factor for suicide, and individuals with untreated depression are at a higher risk of suicide than those who receive treatment.

Cognitive decline: Untreated depression has been linked to cognitive impairment and decline, particularly in older adults. Depression can affect memory, attention, and decision-making, impacting an individual’s ability to function in daily life.

Increased healthcare costs: Individuals with untreated depression may require more healthcare services and may have higher healthcare costs than those who receive treatment. This can be due to the increased risk of physical health problems and the need for emergency care related to suicidal thoughts or actions.

Reduced life expectancy: Several studies have found that depression can shorten life expectancy, particularly in older adults. This may be due to the increased risk of physical health problems and the impact of depression on overall health and well-being.

Sleep disturbances: Depression can interfere with sleep, causing insomnia or other sleep disturbances. Over time, chronic sleep problems can lead to various health problems, including obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Impaired immune function: Depression has been linked to impaired immune function, which can increase an individual’s risk of infectious diseases and other health problems.

Reduced social support: Individuals with untreated depression may withdraw from social activities and relationships, leading to a reduced support network. This can make it more challenging to cope with depression symptoms and can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Impact on children: If a parent or caregiver has untreated depression, it can significantly impact children in the household. Children may experience increased stress, anxiety, and behavioral problems and may be at a higher risk of developing depression themselves.



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