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How is Ketamine Used for Bipolar Disorder Treatment?

Bipolar disorder is a serious mental illness characterized by extreme shifts in behavior, energy, and mood. Those who suffer from this condition often have difficulty managing their emotions and staying in control of their behavior. As such, it is important to seek treatment for bipolar disorder in order to reduce the severity of its symptoms and improve quality of life.

One of the more recent treatment options is ketamine, which can be effective in treating the symptoms of bipolar disorder.

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What is Ketamine?

Ketamine is a fast-acting anesthetic used to sedate and numb patients before medical procedures. A member of the dissociative class of drugs, which distort perceptions of sight and sound, ketamine produces feelings detached from one’s environment and self. Ketamine can be injected or swallowed in liquid and powder form.

Ketamine works by blocking the signals in the brain that signal us to feel pain, affecting the release of specific neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine, disrupting our mood and emotions. It also affects glutamate, a chemical messenger involved in learning and memory.

The FDA approves ketamine as an anesthetic and sedative in emergency medical settings that can also treat depression and anxiety, chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and other psychiatric and neurological disorders.

Syringe and a vial with blue fluid.

In some cases, ketamine has been effective in relieving symptoms of depression.

Bipolar Disorder Treatment

Bipolar disorder is a harsh mental health condition that influences a person’s mood, energy, and ability to think clearly. Often characterized by periods of extreme highs and lows in mood, energy, and behavior, these severity swings can interfere with daily functioning and relationships.

Traditional treatments for bipolar disorder typically involve medications, psychotherapy, lifestyle changes, and supportive strategies. Commonly prescribed medications include antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, antidepressants, and benzodiazepines. Psychotherapy may include individual or group therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), family therapy, and psychoeducation. Other lifestyle changes may include prioritizing getting adequate sleep, exercising regularly, and eating a balanced diet.

lots of medication

While these treatments are effective for many people with bipolar disorder, they can have limitations. Medications can take weeks to become fully effective and can cause side effects like weight gain and insomnia. Psychotherapy can take time to be successful and may not be accessible to everyone. Lifestyle changes can also be challenging to maintain over time and may not work for everyone.

Ketamine is a medication originally developed as an anesthetic that has been used off-label to help treat a variety of mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety.

Ketamine Treatment for Bipolar Disorder

The primary benefit of ketamine treatment for bipolar disorder is that it quickly elevates mood and mindset, providing relief from depressive symptoms shortly after administration.1 Furthermore, because ketamine works at the neural level, the benefits may last longer than those from traditional antidepressants or other medications used to treat bipolar disorder.2

Overall, ketamine has been found to be an effective treatment for bipolar disorder in some cases. It has the potential to provide relief from symptoms of depression within a short period, which can make it attractive to patients who have not responded well to traditional treatments.

Benefits and Risks of Ketamine Treatment

Ketamine has been relied upon as an anesthetic but has recently shown significant potential treatment for bipolar disorder. Studies have shown that using ketamine may be beneficial in treating depressive symptoms associated with bipolar disorder and reducing suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

Ketamine Treatment Benefits

The potential benefits of ketamine treatment for bipolar disorder include improved mood and reduced risk of suicide, as well as improved cognitive functioning, including increased creativity and focus. Ketamine can effectively treat anxiety symptoms associated with bipolar disorder, enhancing the quality of life.

happy older woman

Ketamine Side Effects

However, while there are many potential benefits to ketamine treatment for bipolar disorder, there are also risks associated with its use. These include physical and psychological side effects such as nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, and confusion. In addition, long-term use of ketamine may lead to changes in brain chemistry, which could adversely affect mental health. It is essential to discuss these risks with a doctor before beginning any ketamine treatment.

woman on a couch having stomach pain

Factors that may Affect the Success of Ketamine Treatment

The success of ketamine treatment for bipolar disorder varies depending on the patient. Varying factors can include their overall health, the disorder’s severity, family history, response to other treatments, and other medical conditions they may be suffering from.

Regarding the dosage of ketamine used, higher doses may be more effective in treating bipolar disorder. However, we need to note that higher doses can also lead to more side effects. Therefore, patients should discuss an appropriate dose with their doctor to ensure they receive the most beneficial treatment possible.


Ketamine can be a beneficial treatment for bipolar disorder that may help reduce symptoms of depression, mania, and anxiety. However, it is important to consider the potential risks and side effects associated with this treatment before making any decisions. Additionally, it is essential to recognize that individual factors may play a role in how successful ketamine treatment will be for a patient with bipolar disorder. Ultimately, ketamine can offer hope for those struggling with bipolar disorder and needing effective treatment.

Experience The Benefits Of Ketamine Therapy At Home With Concierge MD

Ketamine IV therapy can help provide relief from a wide range of conditions, including treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, and PTSD, by helping restore brain synapses and promoting repair.

One of our certified nurses comes to your location to administer treatment, saving you the time and hassle of visiting a clinic while providing safe, quality care. Our telemedicine portal provides fast, easy access to our team, making it simple to get the treatment you need to feel your best.

If you’re ready to book an appointment, give us a call or click the button below!


[1] Ketamine for Bipolar Depression: A Systematic Review. Bahji A.

[2] Efficacy and safety of ketamine in bipolar depression: A systematic review. Alberich S.

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