How Many Ketamine Treatments Does It Take to Manage Depression?
Ketamine is an FDA-approved medication that helps manage treatment-resistant depression (TRD). This type of depression might not respond to other antidepressants. With the right ketamine treatment, patients can respond positively and feel better. Here are four factors that determine the frequency of ketamine treatments needed to manage depression.
1. Severity and Length of Depression
The number of ketamine treatments can vary from patient to patient depending on the severity and length of their depression. Patients with severe depression might need more treatments than those with mild or moderate depression.
People who have had depression for an extended period might have treatment-resistant depression. Repeated and controlled treatments can help control serious TRD symptoms, such as suicidal thoughts, hallucinations, or delusions.
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Ketamine can be useful for managing mild to moderate depression symptoms after only a few treatments. The severity of the following mild to moderate depression symptoms may be lessened after a short treatment period:
- Anger and irritability
- Lack of motivation
Based on the severity and length of time your depression symptoms have been affecting your life, a professional can recommend several 1-2 hour ketamine treatment sessions to help manage your symptoms. They will create a treatment plan that is tailored to you and your specific needs.
2. Underlying Mental Health Issues
Depression commonly presents itself alongside other mental health issues, such as anxiety. If you have both anxiety and depression, you might need additional ketamine treatments. The treatment can take several weeks or months to help manage the combination of anxiety and depression.
Other mental health problems that can come with depression include:
- Social phobia
- Panic disorder
- Eating disorders
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
If you have one or more additional mental health concerns, your treatment could require more sessions. A medical professional can help you create a personalized treatment plan that meets your various mental health needs and goals.
3. Types of Ketamine
Ketamine comes in many forms. The way the drug is delivered can determine the number of treatments you’ll need. Here are the different forms of ketamine:
- Nasal spray: You can use a nasal spray for a couple of weeks to control your symptoms.
- Oral ketamine: Oral ketamine can be in the form of tablets or lozenges that dissolve under your tongue.
- Intravenous (IV) therapy: This ketamine therapy entails an IV drip that goes directly into your bloodstream.
- Intramuscular (IM) injections: You can receive ketamine shot in your thigh or shoulder.
A professional can suggest the type of ketamine you need based on your health needs. You can opt for at-home ketamine therapy and a clinician can support you throughout the session.
4. Results and Side Effects
Ketamine’s effectiveness and potential side effects can dictate how many treatments you might need. If this medication works well for you, a medical professional can continue with your treatment regularly. After the first few sessions, if your depression has not responded, your symptoms worsen, or you experience side effects, an expert can adjust your dosage and frequency of treatments.
If your body still isn’t responding positively to the medication, your clinician can reduce or discontinue the treatment. Some patients see positive results after 1-2 hours while others see results over a longer period.
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Ketamine helps activate glutamate in the brain which might assist in regulating your mood. This treatment can be responsible for stimulating neurotrophic factors in your brain that can change negative thoughts linked to depression. Ketamine can also alleviate headaches or back pain associated with depression.
With ketamine treatment from a trusted provider, you can manage depression symptoms and feel better. The number of treatments you need can depend on the severity and length of your depression. Any underlying mental health issues and the type of ketamine can also determine the dosage and frequency of treatment you’ll need. Ask your provider about assisted ketamine therapy to complete your treatments from the comfort of your home.