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Treating depression with ketamine

Are you suffering from depression? You’re not alone. Approximately 300 million people around the world suffer from depression—many of whom don’t seek help or can’t find a treatment that works for them. That doesn’t have to be you.

With ketamine, you can beat depression and start living your best life.

Is Ketamine Right for Me?

What is ketamine?

Ketamine is a medication that helps alleviate acute and chronic pain—both physically and mentally. Best of all, ketamine works quickly and effectively, so you don’t have to wait weeks or even months to find relief from symptoms as is the case with most antidepressants.

Watch a success story from a Nova Vita patient:

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When was ketamine created?

Ketamine has a long history as a pain reliever.

Developed in 1962, ketamine was initially used as an anesthetic on battlefields, in operating rooms, and in pediatric medicine for minor procedures. Beginning in the 1970s, ketamine gained the unfortunate reputation as a club drug as it became a popular substance of abuse among partygoers and later rave culture.

Ketamine’s notoriety took a positive turn in1990s when the Yale School of Medicine began researching ketamine therapy as a potential treatment for depression. They found that ketamine can provide significant relief of depression symptoms when administered in a clinical setting and at the right dosage.

Further studies have shown similar results, with significant positive outcomes for ketamine among patients with severe treatment-resistant depression and suicidal ideation.

“The rapid therapeutic response of ketamine in treatment-resistant patients is the biggest breakthrough in depression research in a half century,” said Ronald Duman, the Elizabeth Mears and House Jameson Professor of Psychiatry and Professor of Neurobiology, Yale School of Medicine.

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How does ketamine help with depression?

There are many ways that ketamine can help alleviate depression.

As research from the Yale School of Medicine has found, ketamine triggers glutamate production, prompting the brain to form new neural connections. This could allow the brain to be more adaptable and to create new pathways, which would in turn provide an opportunity to create more positive thoughts and behaviors.

Ketamine may also reduce signals in inflammation (which has been linked to mood disorders in past studies) or help aid communication within certain areas of the brain.

Regardless how it helps, one of the pioneers of ketamine research—John Krystal, M.D.—said in an interview that ketamine is a game-changer.

"With most medications, like valium, the anti-anxiety effect you get only lasts when it is in your system," Krystal said.

"When the valium goes away, you can get rebound anxiety. When you take ketamine, it triggers reactions in your cortex that enable brain connections to regrow. It’s the reaction to ketamine, not the presence of ketamine in the body that constitutes its effects."

This potential for long-term effect is one of the reasons so many in the field consider ketamine therapy a breakthrough for depression treatment.

Other uses for ketamine

Ketamine has also effectively been used to treat the following:

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Chronic pain
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Suicidal ideation
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Sources:   Ketamine, Center for Substance Abuse Research; How New Ketamine Drug Helps with Depression, Yale Medicine; Ketamine for major depression: New tool, new questions, Harvard Health Publishing; What You Need to Know About Ketamine’s Effects, WebMD; Ketamine: Exploring continuation-phase treatment for depression, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER); Highlight: Ketamine: A New (and Faster) Path to Treating Depression, National Institute of Mental Health; What are the uses of ketamine?, Medical News Today; Depression, World Health Organization

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