There is no one-size-fits-all solution for depression. Even though 17% of people will suffer from depression over the course of their lives, modern medicine is still searching for a comprehensive solution. Traditional antidepressant medications are the first line of treatment for depression, though they are only effective for about 40-70% of patients, depending on what source you quote. In recent years, ketamine infusions have emerged as one of the most effective depression treatment available, offering hope for even the most debilitating cases of depression and providing relief to 70% of patients. Inspired by the way ketamine works to treat depression, several pharmaceutical companies are well underway developing new medications that may revolutionize the way we treat this mental health disorder.
As exciting as these developments in depression treatment are, there are still cases of severe treatment-resistant depression that no variety of pharmacological treatments can help. For these cases, here are some evidence-based, non-pharmacological solutions that may offer hope, or that can be used to enhance the results of ketamine infusions or other depression treatments:
1. Self-care. Are you exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and eating a well-balanced, nutritious diet rich with healthy Omega-3 fatty acids? Exercise, sleep and a nutritious diet are at the core of our body’s wellbeing, and are necessary for a healthy body and mind.
2. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT is a proven solution for changing negative behaviors and thoughts—specifically behaviors and thoughts that are linked to depression. Meeting with a psychotherapist or counselor can help, and there are even talk therapy apps, such as iCBT, that recent studies have proven to be effective for reducing the symptoms of moderate to severe depression.
3. Acupuncture. This traditional Chinese medicine technique improves the flow of energy through the body to alleviate the symptoms of a wide range of physical, mental and emotional conditions—including depression and anxiety. Researchers recommend using acupuncture to support other therapies such as CBT or ketamine infusions.
4. Supplements. Research has shown that certain herbal supplements—such as St. John’s Wort—can decrease the symptoms of mild to moderate depression, with much fewer side effects than traditional antidepressant medications. Besides St. John’s Wort, other herbal supplements for depression include SAMe, fish oil, rhodiiola, and ashwagandha.
When it comes to treating depression, especially severe and debilitating depression, being willing to try unconventional options is important. Unfortunately, no one solution will work for everyone—safe and controlled experimentation is a necessary part of the journey towards mental health and happiness.
Our patients have found that such treatments as CBT, acupuncture and the use of herbal supplements can further enhance the positive results of their ketamine infusion therapy. Other studies have found that these non-pharmacological solutions work well to support such depression treatments as repetitive Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation and electroconvulsive therapy. At the end of the day, knowing which options are available is the first step in finding the right solution.
Vitalitas is one of the country’s leading ketamine clinics. Located in Denver and Westminster, CO, patients travel to our clinic from all areas of the country. We can’t say whether or not ketamine will work to reduce your symptoms of depression, but we can encourage you to learn more about these life-changing infusions and find out if you’re a candidate. Learn more about the depression treatment options available to you or your loved ones.