How Does Ketamine Therapy Differ from Other Treatments for Depression and Anxiety?

Depression and anxiety can take a heavy toll on anyone. Thankfully, ketamine therapies offer a unique approach that can help patients find relief.

If you’re casting around for a clinic that provides ketamine in Atlanta, GA, head to the Complete Ketamine Solutions clinic for a spa-like treatment experience. While at it, expect professional care from a well-informed and thoughtful team.

But how different is ketamine therapy from other treatments for depression and anxiety? This post explains some of the notable differences.

1. Rapid Relief

Ketamine therapy is a unique treatment for depression and anxiety because of its rapid onset. Unlike traditional medications, such as antidepressants, which can take weeks to deliver noticeable results, ketamine therapy often produces results within hours. This means patients can experience relief within a shorter period. But how does it work?

Basically, ketamine binds to your brain’s receptors – which are responsible for producing glutamate, a chemical that helps regulate mood. It also stimulates the production of a neurotransmitter called BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor). BDNF improves a brain’s neuroplasticity or its ability to create new neural connections while strengthening existing ones so you can better experience positive emotions. In turn, ketamine helps create new synapses in the brain, leading to improved mood while alleviating depression symptoms.

2. Efficiency

Ketamine therapy is particularly effective in treating severe depression, which mostly fails to respond to other treatments. Unfortunately, traditional treatment methods like medication may be ineffective for some individuals. This is known as treatment-resistant depression and affects approximately 30% of cases.

It can also be incredibly frustrating for patients unable to find relief from their symptoms. However, hope exists – the FDA recently approved Spravato, a nasal spray anesthetic targeting treatment-resistant depression in 2019. The newfound option allows patients to regain control over their mental health.

And by virtue of its greater potency, ketamine can offer additional benefits when compared to other treatments for depression and anxiety. Plus, patients can use a lower dose and experience a similar effect. This reduces the long-term risks associated with conventional treatments such as antidepressants – including addiction and weight gain.

Likewise, other treatments, such as meditation and acupuncture, lack ketamine’s potency when treating depression and anxiety. Plus, they follow the same slow process of relief as other medications. That said, patients might require multiple ketamine treatments or regular intermittent sessions to alleviate their symptoms.

3. Availability in Various Forms

Unlike antidepressants that come in tablet form, ketamine therapy is available in different forms. Here’s a quick outline of the various forms of ketamine:

  • Intravenous (IV) infusion – delivered through a vein into the bloodstream using an IV drip.
  • Intramuscular (IM) injection – patients receive a shot in the muscle (usually the upper arm or thigh).
  • Sublingual tablet – patients place a small pill or lozenge under the tongue, where it dissolves and enters the body.
  • Nasal spray – involves inhalation of a ketamine mist through the nose, as directed by the care team. After the treatment cycle, your care provider evaluates your symptoms and may recommend additional treatment to accelerate the healing process.

Other than sublingual tablets, which you can take at home, the rest require a visit to the clinic for proper administration. This sharply contrasts with traditional treatments such as antidepressants, which patients can use without medical supervision.

4. Limited Research

Most conventional treatments for depression and anxiety have been tested over time and proven effective. However, ketamine therapy is relatively new in the field of mental health, implying limited studies have been conducted to assess its efficacy in treating depression and anxiety.

As such, we need further studies to better understand its long-term effects on mental health. Research is also necessary to define the most effective doses and frequencies for optimal outcomes before ketamine therapy can be widely used in clinical practice.

5. Lasting Remission

Although ketamine infusion therapy requires a series of treatments, the effects are often long-lasting, with some patients experiencing remission for years. Sure, you might require maintenance treatments, but this therapeutic approach is a welcome relief for many patients. Conversely, patients might need to take antidepressants for years, often with no guarantee of lasting relief from their symptoms.

Ketamine therapy is a promising treatment option for individuals suffering from severe depression or anxiety, especially in cases where traditional treatments are ineffective. By offering new hope for patients battling mental health issues, ketamine therapy can provide a much-needed reprieve from the struggles patients face. Even so, it’s advisable to talk to your primary healthcare provider to determine whether this is an option worth considering.

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