Ketamine & Depression

There are many treatments and therapies for depression available – the most important part of treatment is finding the right one for you.

Depression may be difficult to describe, in part because there is no singular experience of it. For instance, of the approximately 16 million adults in the U.S. diagnosed with clinical depression in a given year, some might describe living with depression like living in a Teflon-coated pan–a pervasive sort of numbness where nothing sticks, everything just slips off. For others depression is more of an acute, physical sensation punctuated by migraines, bottomless hungers, or insomnia. And for many other people depression is sometimes both of these things, sometimes it is neither, and sometimes it is more.

Symptoms of depression can include:

  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
  • Persistent low mood
  • Loss of or diminished interest in activities
  • Fatigue
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive and inappropriate guilt
  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or helplessness
  • Diminished ability to think, concentrate, or make decisions
  • Significant decrease or increase in appetite, with significant weight loss (when not dieting) or weight gain
  • Excessive sleepiness or insomnia
  • Agitation and restlessness

Ketamine as a depression treatment blocks the NMDA receptor instead of inhibiting the uptake of serotonin/norepinephrine/dopamine, as most antidepressants currently on the market are designed to do.  By blocking this receptor, ketamine allows the brain to begin repairing itself and regulate the chemicals in the brain that cause depression.

For 70-80% of patients treated, ketamine treatments provide a break from debilitating symptoms of depression within 24 hours of a ketamine treatment, but it is not a permanent cure.  These breaks last different lengths of time for each individual and can range from a day to months at a time.  Booster treatments can be given to extend the relief from depression symptoms.