Who Is a Candidate for Ketamine Treatment?

May 05, 2023
Who Is a Candidate for Ketamine Treatment?
You may recognize ketamine as an anesthetic drug that doctors use in surgery, but did you know it also has other uses for mental health? Keep reading to find out who is a good candidate for ketamine treatment for depression and mental health.

Ketamine has been around since the 1960s and is traditionally used for sedation during operative procedures. It has profound dissociative anesthetic properties without compromising respiratory effort like other anesthetic medicines.

However, in recent years, doctors have been utilizing it for off-label uses, such as treating severe depression and mental health disorders. In 2019, the FDA approved Esketamine, which is a nasal form of ketamine, effective for treatment-resistant depression.

If you're suffering from depression that hasn't responded to other treatment methods, the team at Pacific Phoenix TMS offers ketamine therapy as an option. Our expert psychiatrist, Dr. Elia R. Gonzalez-Rodriguez, is well-versed in treating various mental health issues like depression.

Understanding ketamine

Ketamine is dissociative anesthetic doctors use in the operating room to induce anesthesia, decrease pain, and preserve your respiratory drive. People have also abused ketamine, making it an illegal street drug dangerous to your health.

However, ketamine is a great tool when given under medical supervision. It profoundly affects your brain, decreasing pain and creating new pathways when living with severe depression.

In 2019, the FDA approved ketamine in a nasal spray, effective in treating patients with treatment-resistant depression. But how does it work for mental health disorders?

Researchers believe ketamine works in various ways on your brain. Ketamine seems to bind to the NMDA receptors in the brain, which increases the production of the neurotransmitter glutamate.

Glutamate then acts on other receptors, which help facilitate communication among more neurons and create new neural pathways. This phenomenon is known as synaptogenesis and is a crucial aspect of your mood, behavior, and thought patterns.

Ketamine for TRD

Ketamine is a breakthrough treatment option for people living with treatment-resistant depression (TRD). Standard antidepressant medications take weeks or months to begin working and only affect certain neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine.

If you've tried therapy and medications for depression without a significant change in your symptoms, we may discuss ketamine as the next viable option in your treatment plan.

One of the most significant benefits of ketamine for TRD is how fast it works. Do you suffer from suicidal thoughts and severe depressive symptoms? If you do, know that ketamine works quickly and efficiently to stop negative thinking and improve your mood.

Esketamine is especially significant because it induces rapid results in as little as several hours after a single treatment. The results can last for weeks, though you may need repeat treatments if the first dose doesn't completely alleviate your symptoms.

Are you a good candidate?

Are you experiencing suicidal thoughts, severe depression, or depression with anxiety that hasn’t responded to other treatments? Ketamine is an option to consider. However, it isn’t a good option for everyone.

For instance, ketamine therapy isn't an option in children or teens with treatment-resistant depression because of its side effects and potential for misuse.

A good candidate is an adult with depression who hasn’t responded to medications and therapy. You should have tried at least two antidepressant medications over several months without relief for consideration in our ketamine therapy program.

You're also a good candidate for ketamine therapy if your symptoms haven't improved by at least 50% with other types of treatment for depression.

It's important to understand that even if you're a good candidate for ketamine therapy, the drug has possible side effects. Although we give it a much smaller dose than for anesthetic purposes, you may still suffer short-term side effects after treatment.

However, we monitor you for at least two hours after ketamine treatment to ensure you're safe and your body responds well to the drug. Once you've passed that mark, you can go home with an escort to relax and enjoy the improvement in your mood.

To find out if you're a candidate for ketamine therapy, call 360-828-7802 to reach our team today at our convenient offices in Salmon Creek or East Vancouver, Washington. You may also request an appointment on our website.