Though Ketamine has a long history of being used as a pediatric anesthetic for humans and animals, as well as being used as a party drug, it has been proven to have extremely therapeutic properties when used correctly. Ketamine treatment has been shown to provide rapid relief to individuals suffering from depression, suicidal ideation, anxiety, and PTSD. Our Ketamine program involves an extensive process of treatment planning, goal-setting, and reintegration in order to increase treatment effectiveness. Call TMS & Brain Health in Santa Monica, California, or request a consultation online today to find out how Ketamine can help you.
Ketamine is a powerful medication that provides an alternative approach to treating mental health conditions. Ketamine was originally used as a pediatric anesthetic. Today, a growing body of evidence shows that smaller, sub-anesthetic doses can relieve depression symptoms when other treatments have failed. Ketamine works differently in your brain than other antidepressant medications. Conventional antidepressants such as SSRIs have to build up in your system to change your brain chemistry. Ketamine almost immediately alters the neurotransmitter activity in your brain. In 2014, Thomas Insel (former director of the National Institute for Mental Health) said that” Recent data suggest that ketamine, given intravenously, might be the most important breakthrough in antidepressant treatment in decades.”
TMS & Brain Health offers ketamine infusion therapy to treat depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and chronic pain conditions. Ketamine is also used to relieve suicidal ideations and other severe and acute psychiatric distress. Research over the past decade has examined ketamine for the treatment of Major Depressive Disorder or Bipolar Depression. For instance, Singh et al., (2016) conducted a double-blind, randomized controlled trial in which they compared the antidepressant effects of ketamine infusions (with dosages at 0.5 mg/kg) to placebo infusions. They found that almost 70% of patients experienced reduction in depression symptoms after just 2 weeks. In another study at the National Institute of Mental Health, DiazGranados et al., (2010) found that a single ketamine infusion can significantly reduce suicidal ideation in depressed individuals. In a 2014 study, Feder et al. used a randomized controlled trial to examine the effects of ketamine infusions on PTSD. They found that ketamine was well tolerated and provided rapid relief from PTSD symptoms.
Ketamine therapy isn’t a typical first course of action. In most cases, patients have tried at least one type of antidepressant as well as talk therapy before trying ketamine infusion therapy. We know that depression and stress decrease the number of neurons communicating with each other in the brain, and ketamine has been proven to increase the connectivity between these neurons. This mechanism is what is thought to rapidly improve the symptoms of depression.
TMS & Brain Health has a patient-focused approach to ketamine infusion therapy. You begin with a thorough evaluation to ensure that ketamine therapy is right for you. Prior to administering the ketamine, our clinical team sits down with the patient and establishes our goals for the session. We may ask which symptoms are particularly bothersome that day, or how the patient imagines his or her life once they are freed from these symptoms.
During your treatment, you relax in a comfortable chair while you receive the intravenous infusion. Some patients experience mild side effects, including floating sensations or mild hallucinations. Any side effects wear off soon after your infusion is complete, and a member of the clinical team is with you at all times.
After your infusion, you have a debriefing session where we carefully reflect with you on your experience and work on strategies to ensure long-term success. You and your provider work out a plan to incorporate ketamine infusion therapy into your daily life. You may feel tired after your infusion, in which case you are welcome to stay in the office until you feel ready to leave. We do not allow patients to drive themselves to their appointments.
Most patients have an initial series of 6 infusions over 2-3 weeks. You may notice that your symptoms subside within an hour of your first infusion. However, it’s critical to complete your course of treatment for lasting relief. You may need an occasional ketamine infusion to maintain your results after your initial treatment plan is complete.
If you’re interested in ketamine therapy, call TMS & Brain Health or request an appointment online today.