Those with long memories may remember ketamine as a field anesthetic during the Vietnam war or as a party drug that got overused and abused. However, like many other drugs that once had a bad reputation, ketamine has found a new life as an antidepressant and as a treatment for chronic pain.
Ketamine treatments, when administered by trained professionals, are a low-risk alternative to aggressive and possibly addictive treatments. At Invigorate Asheville, in Asheville, North Carolina, Linda Y. Dula, DO and our expert medical staff use ketamine to improve your physical and mental health. Here’s how.
About 17.3 million women and men in the United States suffer from the mental illness called depression. As a brain disorder, depression has historically been difficult to treat. It often requires months of experimental dosing of pharmacological solutions alongside psychotherapy, with mixed results.
Lately, ketamine has gained traction in depression treatment. It’s highly effective in alleviating symptoms but doesn’t have the side effects that interfere with the use of other medications.
Ketamine works quickly by reorganizing neural activity. Researchers at Yale University found that ketamine triggers glutamate production in your brain, helping to create new neural pathways. This process often happens within 24 hours of the first treatment, which allows you to see both faster and longer-lasting results.
Early studies of ketamine are highly promising, especially among those with treatment-resistant depression and anxiety. Because the medication can be delivered both by intravenous drip and as a nasal spray, treatment options are flexible.
Ketamine was originally developed as a safer replacement for morphine, and so from the beginning was designed to treat acute pain. It’s still active in the medical world as a surgical anesthetic, but it’s also gaining favor as a potential therapy for chronic pain.
When used at similar dosages as for depression, ketamine dulls immediate pain.Then, continued low doses also rewire your brain so you feel less pain as treatment continues.
The most exciting aspect of ketamine is that it doesn’t need to be used over the long term. Unlike other drugs, such as antidepressants, which only work while they’re in your system, ketamine’s effects continue even after there’s no drug in your body.
Because ketamine triggers new neural pathways in your brain, it actually creates a healthier brain. This healthier brain is better able to produce the chemicals you need to stay mentally healthy and happy. You feel less pain – mentally and physically – because your brain no longer overreacts to stimuli and is better able to self-regulate.
At Invigorate Asheville, we administer small doses of ketamine through intravenous (IV) infusion. You relax comfortably in your treatment chair and may even fall asleep during the hour or so it takes to administer the drug.
You may feel noticeably better directly after your treatment. Almost everyone notices the benefits within the first few hours. Depending on your situation, you probably will benefit from a series of treatments to help your brain build stronger neural pathways. Then, you may opt for periodic follow-up sessions to maintain your mental and physical benefits.
To learn more about ketamine and how it may improve your mental or physical health, contact us directly by phone or use the online booking tool to schedule an appointment today.