Living with treatment-resistant depression (TRD) can be extremely distressing, especially if you’ve spent a considerable amount of time exploring conventional treatment solutions, only to find that none of them really seem to provide adequate or lasting symptom relief for you.
For as isolating as it may feel, however, TRD is incredibly common: one in three people with major depression don’t find relief with standard treatments.
In their decades-long effort to understand TRD and find new solutions for the people affected by it, researchers made a groundbreaking discovery — ketamine. This is an FDA-approved anesthetic that’s been in use around the globe for more than half a century, and is also a fast-acting and highly effective treatment for TRD.
Here at TMS & Brain Health in Los Angeles and Santa Monica, California, ketamine infusion therapy is a fully individualized treatment that’s carefully tailored to your specific needs. Here’s what you can expect from this game-changing new solution.
Ketamine infusion therapy
When given intravenously in a slow, controlled, and consistent manner, ketamine has highly therapeutic effects on the areas of your brain that regulate mood and drive behavior.
Although the mechanisms of ketamine are still being studied, research shows that it appears to induce rapid changes in brain circuit function, causing depressive symptoms to subside quickly — often within hours.
It also prompts a rapid rise in glutamate, a key neurotransmitter that reestablishes important neural connections and builds new pathways in the brain to help restore normal activity in the brain regions that are most impaired by the effects of depression.
But ketamine infusion therapy isn’t just an effective new antidepressant treatment; it can also provide rapid and sustained symptom relief for patients dealing with persistent anxiety, chronic pain, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Ketamine infusion protocol
Unlike conventional antidepressants, ketamine doesn’t need to build up in your system over time in order to be effective — most patients experience fast relief after just one infusion.
Even so, ketamine isn’t a “one-and-done” treatment that magically cures depression in a single treatment session. Instead, it’s a controlled therapy that aims to restore optimal brain function steadily so you can achieve complete and lasting symptom remission.
For patients with TRD and other mood disorders, ketamine infusion therapy initially calls for a series of six infusions spaced out over the course of two to three weeks. This typically means having an infusion every other day or every two days until all six are completed.
While many people feel much better within an hour of their first ketamine infusion, others don’t feel substantially better until they’ve had at least three infusions. Some people don’t experience meaningful symptom relief until they’ve completed all six sessions.
It’s important to understand that even though ketamine can produce dramatic changes in brain function and mood, such results aren’t universal. In fact, it’s just as likely that you’ll experience subtle symptom relief that gradually improves from one infusion to the next.
Ketamine infusion boosters
After completing your initial ketamine treatment, you should experience total or near-total symptom remission, meaning depression no longer pervades your mood, directs your behavior, or controls your life — you do.
What happens next is determined by how long you stay in remission. Patients typically enjoy about three months of complete relief before their symptoms gradually begin to creep back up; luckily, a “booster” infusion is often all it takes to reverse the trend and get back on track.
Provided on an as-needed basis, a ketamine booster usually consists of two infusions spaced one or two days apart. Some people require a standing ketamine booster every month to keep their symptoms in remission, while others fare well with a booster every six months.
As one of the first mental health clinics in southern California to offer ketamine infusions, TMS & Brain Health is staffed by experienced specialists who are dedicated to providing progressive care and innovative treatment solutions for people with TRD.
If you’re ready to get the upper hand over persistent depression, call your nearest office in Los Angeles or Santa Monica, California, today, or click online to schedule a visit any time.