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What Is A Ketamine Infusion And When Do You Need It?

As more people recognize the importance of mental health, many are exploring ways to address mental health issues. Some are turning to ketamine infusions, but how do they work? And how do you know if you need a ketamine infusion? Keep reading to learn more and determine if ketamine infusions are right for you.

What is ketamine and what is it used for?

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved ketamine as an anesthetic for 45 years. Since the 1990s, ketamine has been studied for its antidepressant effects. Ketamine is not approved by the FDA for use as an antidepressant as studies are still ongoing. However, doctors may prescribe ketamine for off-label use to treat mental health conditions.

A ketamine infusion is believed to stimulate production of glutamate, a neurotransmitter. Increasing glutamate production helps the brain become more adaptable, encouraging repair of damaged cells and allowing new connections to be formed.

Who can benefit most from a ketamine infusion?

The study of ketamine has revealed particular benefits for treatment-resistant depression, a form of major depressive disorder. People who have tried 2 or more antidepressant regimens with little to no success meet the criteria for treatment-resistant depression.

Other mental health conditions that ketamine may be helpful in treating include:

  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Chronic pain
  • Chronic suicidal ideation
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Postpartum depression
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Do ketamine IV infusions really work?

One of the major reasons why ketamine IV infusions are being studied for their mental health benefits is how quickly they work. Most antidepressants that are consumed orally require 4-6 weeks of consistent doses before the full effects of the drug are experienced. However, ketamine IV therapy can offer patients relief in just a few hours. In one study of patients with suicidal ideation, 88% of participants experienced relief of symptoms within 90 minutes of emergency ketamine IV treatments.

Symptoms that ketamine can effectively relieve include:

  • Depressed mood
  • Helplessness
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Worthlessness

Ketamine also appears to be highly effective. Another study showed that symptoms were relieved after one treatment in 85% of participants with depressive symptoms. Positive effects lasted an average of 19 days, with some patients experiencing relief for up to three months.

The long-lasting effects of ketamine treatment can be attributed to the encouragement of cell repair and formation of new neural connections. Antidepressants typically only work as long as they are in your system. The stimulation of glutamate production by ketamine helps continue to promote healthy thoughts and behaviors even after ketamine is no longer in your system.

It’s important to understand that ketamine treatments work better as part of a comprehensive approach rather than a standalone treatment. Doctors may advise you to pair ketamine treatments with therapy, and in some cases, traditional antidepressants. Ketamine IV infusion therapy usually involves 6-8 sessions, which may require follow up with booster treatments if symptoms reappear. Those who do need boosters typically space them apart by weeks or even months, and the time between booster treatments tends to get progressively longer. Of the people who complete a standard series of ketamine treatments, roughly 30% will not need a follow up booster.

What are the side effects and risks of ketamine IV infusions?

Ketamine is a powerful treatment that is not appropriate for everyone. Your healthcare provider should conduct a thorough health screening to ensure it is safe for you to take ketamine. There are several factors to weigh before receiving ketamine treatments.

Side effects

When used as an antidepressant, ketamine is administered in much smaller doses than when used as an anesthetic. You may still feel similar side effects, such as:

  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Double vision
  • Drowsiness
  • Feelings of unease
  • Nausea or vomiting

Health risks

Ketamine can be dangerous treatment for those with high blood pressure due to several risks, including:

  • Heart attack
  • Uncontrolled high blood pressure
  • Aneurysm
  • Aortic tear

Other risks of ketamine include:

  • Intracranial pressure release
  • Unstable blood vessel and heart function (heart rhythms may be abnormal, and there may be temporary increases or decreases in heart rate and blood pressure)
  • Liver dysfunction
  • Respiratory depression (may be caused by overdose or rapid administration of treatment)
  • Cognitive deficits (some research has linked ketamine to cognitive deficits in children)

Additionally, people with the following conditions should avoid ketamine:

  • Breastfeeding
  • Pregnant
  • Schizophrenia

Does ketamine have addictive properties?

Ketamine can have several pleasant effects, including:

  • Pain relief
  • Feelings of detachment from the environment
  • Hallucinations
  • Pleasant feelings of floating

Some people take ketamine recreationally to experience a high. It is possible to develop a strong psychological addiction to ketamine. Stopping a ketamine addiction may result in extremely unpleasant withdrawal symptoms, which is why professional supervision during detox is strongly recommended.

“Coming down” sensations after using ketamine may include:

  • Aches and body pains
  • Anxiety
  • Clumsiness
  • Impaired judgment
  • Feeling disoriented

Ketamine may also incapacitate, cause memory lapses, and sedate, which has led to it being used as a date rape drug. It’s important to note that ketamine can have very serious, even fatal effects when combined with alcohol or other drugs.

Considerations when choosing a ketamine IV therapy provider

Ketamine should only be taken when prescribed by a doctor due to its potential side effects, health risks, and addictive properties. A licensed health expert can conduct a thorough health screening before administering treatment to ensure ketamine is the right choice for you. Providers should be licensed and properly trained in the administration of ketamine IV treatments.

When struggling with mental health, the idea of leaving the house to seek treatment can be a challenge. Consider scheduling an appointment with a house call doctor for ketamine IV therapy. These mobile healthcare experts will administer treatments in the comfort and privacy of your home. Many house call doctors offer telehealth services as well, meaning you can follow up to discuss progress and ask questions without having to schedule another in-person appointment. Getting ketamine IV treatments at home also reduces the chances of exposure to Covid-19 and other contagious illnesses while seeking treatment.

Experience The Benefits Of Ketamine Therapy At Home With Concierge MD

If you are interested in the benefits of ketamine therapy, reach out to Concierge MD. We are a licensed, mobile healthcare practice of a number of services, including ketamine therapy.

We offer ketamine infusion therapy for conditions such as:

  • Treatment resistant depression
  • Chronic pain conditions
  • Anxiety
  • OCD
  • PTSD
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Postpartum depression

Our health experts will evaluate your medical history and the concerns you are trying to address to determine if ketamine therapy is the right choice for you. Treatments are administered by a licensed medical professional in the comfort and privacy of your home. Our telehealth portal allows you to follow up after treatment to report progress and ask questions.

Concierge MD is proud to offer the benefits of ketamine therapy in the comfort and privacy of our clients’ homes. We also provide a number of other services, including direct primary care. Contact us today!

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