ketamine therapy treats severe depression

ketamine therapy treats severe depression


CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Nearly 10% of American adults suffer from depression and anxiety, but about a third of those patients will not respond at all to traditional treatment, according to research from Johns Hopkins Medicine.


What You Need To Know

  • Nearly 10% of American adults suffer from depression and anxiety, but about a third of those patients will not respond at all to traditional treatment
  • Micro doses of ketamine, traditionally used in hospitals for anesthesia and pain relief, have been successful in helping patients with treatment-resistant depression
  • Ketamine therapy patients typically get six IV infusions over two to three weeks
  • Ketamine therapy can work as quickly as minutes into the IV infusion session and can relieve depression for days, weeks and even several months after treatment

Ketamine has traditionally been used in hospitals for anesthesia and pain relief. Thewanda Peterson, a certified registered nurse anesthetist, said it can also be used in micro doses for patients with treatment-resistant depression. She has been administering the treatment at Flo Hydration & Wellness in Charlotte for about a year.

“Think of New York City, OK, this big bright city, and as neurons and brain cells begin to become more damaged, over time the city lights begin to become really dim. Ketamine comes in and it repairs the neurons in the brain. It actually stimulates neuron growth. So as that happens, little areas in the brain become more lit. So, that what was dark city begins to have more light,” Peterson said.

Patients get six ketamine IV infusions over two to three weeks. They can feel like they are floating, see things that aren’t there, and feel a bit nauseous. Peterson said those side effects are normal and mean the treatment is working.

“Patients can find relief from their depression within minutes after their infusion. Not only is it fast acting, but it also last for days, months, even several months from their infusion, they get relief from depression,” Peterson said.

Ketamine therapy is just one of the options the Mayo Clinic lists as a possible way to manage treatment-resistant depression. 



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