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Ketamine & Depression

Ketamine & Depression

There are many treatments and therapies for depression available – the most important part of treatment is finding the right one for you. Major Depressive Disorder affects over 300 million global citizens of all ages, and while there is no cure, there are several treatment options. Depression is most often treated with psychotherapy (talk therapy) and antidepressant medications administered together. Although antidepressants can be effective for many patients, they do not work for everyone. Alternative treatments are also available, such as transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). More recently, ketamine therapy is currently helping patients with treatment-resistant depression (TRD) manage their symptoms and find relief.

Symptoms of depression can include:

  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
  • Persistent low mood
  • Loss of or diminished interest in activities
  • Fatigue
  • Feelings of worthlessness or excessive and inappropriate guilt
  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or helplessness
  • Diminished ability to think, concentrate, or make decisions
  • Significant decrease or increase in appetite, with significant weight loss (when not dieting) or weight gain
  • Excessive sleepiness or insomnia
  • Agitation and restlessness

Ketamine as a depression treatment blocks the NMDA receptor instead of inhibiting the uptake of serotonin/norepinephrine/dopamine, as most antidepressants currently on the market are designed to do.  By blocking this receptor, ketamine allows the brain to begin repairing itself and regulate the chemicals in the brain that cause depression.

For 70-80% of patients treated, ketamine treatments provide a break from debilitating symptoms of depression within 24 hours of a ketamine treatment, but it is not a permanent cure.  These breaks last different lengths of time for each individual and can range from a day to months at a time.  Booster treatments can be given to extend the relief from depression symptoms.

Tammy Saah, MD
Director of Ketamine Services

Dr. Saah’s clinical and research interests are focused in Treatment Resistant Depression(TRD), with emphasis on advanced psychopharmacology, novel therapeutics (ketamine), and Neuro-modulation (rTMS).

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