Dealing with on-going health conditions for years can be exhausting. Whether they are mental or physical ailments, it can overwhelm a person just the same. Having to deal with something that can be extremely painful on a daily basis sounds frustrating enough. Now imagine trying treatment after treatment and medication after medication, feeling hopeful to find relief each time only to meet a dead end once again.
Unfortunately, this is a real scenario for a considerable number of patients whose bodies have shown to be treatment-resistant.
For cases like this, Ketamine can be an effective alternative treatment that helps to relieve the symptoms of certain mental health conditions. And, for people who struggle with them everyday, that really sounds like a miracle.
But, behind an almost miraculous answer to those problems, there is science. This article has the objective to better explain IV Ketamine Therapy and how it has been shown to help substantially with this patient population.
So let’s start from the beginning:
What is IV Therapy?
IV Therapies are treatments that deliver fluids, medication, vitamins and nutrients into the bloodstream. IV stands for intravenous, which means that the solution is administered through an injection into your vein. When injected directly into the bloodstream, the medication targets the problem very effectively and quickly, with some experiencing relief almost right away!
What is Ketamine Infusion Therapy?
Ketamine is one of the oldest anesthesia medications and has been used in operating rooms for more than 60 years. When injected in much smaller amounts called micro-doses, it has been proven to be a highly-successful, non-traditional method for treating chronic pain conditions and mental health disorders.
What Does Ketamine Therapy Do and What Are the Benefits?
Ketamine Therapy works by targeting specific receptors in the nervous system to stimulate and create new neural pathways while the patient experiences an out-of-body, dissociative experience. In this state the patient feels disconnected from their body. Some people have described the experience as “being in their happy place.” Others describe the feeling as very unusual or “weird.” This feeling is temporary and is usually described as mild and pleasant, but it is important to realize that everyone can interpret this state differently and to remember that you are in a safe and monitored environment. It is thought that once in this state, ketamine works its way into the patient’s brain and its communication network called synapses.
Ketamine works in the central nervous system stimulating the formation of new receptors, and neural connections to “rebalance” the central nervous system. After successful treatments patients leave saying they were able to “think differently” or achieve an enlightened state. Some patients report they were able to disconnect from their trauma or stop negative cyclical thoughts. Others report they have decreased anxiety. And perhaps most importantly, it has allowed relief for patients that have thoughts of hurting themselves. What has the medical community intrigued is that relief seems to last beyond the length of the dissociative state and even beyond the length of time the medicine is in your body.
The main indications that ketamine infusions have been studied in are:
- Treatment resistant depression, with and without thoughts of suicide
- Postpartum depression
- Certain variations of bipolar depression
- Obsessive compulsive disorder
- Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
- Eating disorders such as Bulimia and Anorexia Nervosa
- Certain chronic pain conditions
When Should I Consider Ketamine Infusion Therapy?
You can be a good candidate for Ketamine Therapy if you:
- Have been suffering with any of the scenarios listed above
- Have tried other treatments and medications that haven’t worked for you
- Prefer to avoid anti-depressants. It is important to remember never to come off your medications without consulting your physician.
Ketamine Infusions For Chronic Pain, Fibromyalgia and Back Pain
Ketamine has a potent and immediate mechanism of action, which is to block NMDA receptors. By doing that, ketamine appears to reset the altered and hypersensitized pain receptors in patients with fibromyalgia and chronic pain.
In the long run, it has been shown to change the expression of NMDA receptors and reduce neuro-inflammation, which correlates with reductions in neuropathic pain. Additionally, ketamine also increases brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which results in synaptic changes to the central nervous system.
In many different ways, even more than the ones mentioned in this article, ketamine appears to be able to address a variety of symptoms both inside and outside the brain while also taking care of the root cause of chronic pain disorders.
IV Ketamine Therapy can really be a promising treatment for patients with fibromyalgia and other types of chronic pain to find relief of symptoms when traditional medications do not work.
Ketamine Therapy for Anxiety and Psychiatry Disorders
Ketamine Therapy is being considered a revolutionary medicine for people suffering from treatment-resistant depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, bipolar disorder, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or suicidal patients. It has been stated by many patients that have tried Ketamine as a last resort, that it has helped them when they had lost all hope to live a normal and happy life.
Ketamine targets nerve cells in the brain (neurons) that are directly involved in the mood and emotion centers of the brain. These neurons use a chemical called glutamate to communicate with each other and build healthy and new connections. In the brains’ of patients that suffer from depression and the other psychiatric disorders mentioned above, it seems that those neurons don’t get stimulated in the same way or with the same frequency by glutamate anymore. It is believed that through ketamine’s interactions at the glutamate receptors in the brain, the brain is “restocked” and new neuron connections (synapses) are made allowing changes in the brain that seem to help these patients shift out of depression.
Ketamine comes in several forms. The two main ones are a nasal spray called esketamine (Spravato) and IV therapy. Dr. William Corvell, author of The Merck Manuals and psychiatry professor at the University of Iowa’s Carver College of Medicine states that in his findings 2/3 of patients with major depressive disorder have considerable symptom improvement within three hours. These effects tend to decrease over the following several days, so initial treatment is usually a series of infusions typically over the course of 2-4 weeks.
For people that respond to ketamine therapy that have had minimum to no symptom improvement with traditional medication, this can seem like a miracle drug. However, we should be cautious to use the term “miracle.” In order to be worthy of this term, it would need to work in one hundred percent of patients with complete resolution of symptoms and have zero relapses! While undergoing ketamine treatments we advise patients to continue taking their medications, seeing their therapists and doctors, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.