According to the Centers for Disease Control, 15-20 million people are diagnosed with and treated for depression every year.

This makes depression the most common mental illness in the United States. However, for roughly 30 percent of these patients, standard treatment options like antidepressants are not effective. For some, ketamine may be the answer to addressing treatment-resistant depression. Since ketamine was a medication originally developed as an anesthetic drug, many people have questions about how ketamine works for depression and other psychiatric conditions. Below are answers to some common questions about ketamine therapy:

What is ketamine?
Ketamine is a FDA-approved anesthetic and analgesic (pain reliever) which was originally developed in the 1960’s. It has been used primarily as an induction agent for general anesthesia surgery for children, adults, and animals. Ketamine has been proven to be remarkably safe in this application, hence its use in the pediatric population.

How does ketamine work to relieve depression?
Ketamine works by increasing the activity of the neurotransmitter glutamate in the brain, while also allowing new, healthy synapses to form in the same area. Ketamine is able to produce an antidepressant effect quickly because it bypasses the traditional serotonin route and goes directly to activating the glutamate system. This is a deviation from traditional antidepressants, which first increase serotonin in different areas of the brain, and then—ultimately—affect glutamate. This process can take two to four weeks to take effect, where ketamine yields results within 1-2 infusions

What is the success rate in treating depression?
According to research studies, ketamine for depression can be 60-80% effective.

Where can you receive ketamine infusions?
Ketamine therapy to treat depression and other disorders can be found at ketamine clinics, like ours, across the country. Learn what to look for and how to choose a credible ketamine clinic.

How is ketamine administered?
There are many different ways to administer ketamine: intravenous, oral, sublingual, intranasal, and intramuscular. The majority of scientific studies have been performed using intravenous ketamine, and this has been the gold standard route for ketamine administration. Additionally, the efficacy and predictability of the response to other routes of administration has been found inferior to intravenous ketamine.

How many infusions are needed?
The standard protocol for ketamine infusions to treat depression is 4-6 infusions over a two-week period. This protocol was the result of scientific and clinical trials which showed that serial infusions were more effective than single infusions. In addition, patients who respond to ketamine treatments will likely require maintenance infusions on an ongoing basis following the initial series.

What are the side effects?
As a treatment for depression, ketamine has only a few mild side effects. These can include a dream-like feeling, blurred or double vision, nausea or vomiting, and short anxious reactions after receiving a dose. Most side effects subside within 2-hours of an infusion.

Is ketamine addictive?
Ketamine is a safe drug with no evidence that it is physically addictive. When abused recreationally, ketamine can be psychologically addicting, though most credible ketamine clinics will administer ketamine only under close clinical supervision, ensuring the proper use of this medication.

How much does it cost?
At Vitalitas Denver, 40-minute infusions for psychiatric conditions are $375 per treatment. This is one of the lowest prices in the country.

What psychiatric disorders can ketamine infusions treat?
Data has demonstrated the robust effects of ketamine in treating severe, chronic and treatment-resistant depression. Anyone diagnosed with major depression, bipolar depression, postpartum depression, or dysthymia could also benefit from ketamine infusions. Research has shown that ketamine can be also be effective in treating fibromyalgia, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive compulsive disorder and a number of anxiety disorders.

At Vitalitas Denver, we offer ketamine for depression and anxiety, as well as a full spectrum of psychiatric services. If you would like to discuss your symptoms, we are happy to help you determine whether ketamine therapy could be effective for you. Find out if you’re a candidate and complete the brief form below to request a free consultation with a member of our team.

Contact Vitalitas Denver

At Vitalitas Denver, we encourage our patients to explore a wide variety of holistic treatment options to better support ketamine therapy. Ketamine infusions are effective for about 70% of patients, and works quickly to alleviate symptoms. To find out if you are a candidate, contact us using the brief form below, or call either of our Colorado ketamine clinics today.

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