What is Ketamine?

Ketamine was first developed in the 1960s for use in anesthesia. However, over the past twenty years, ketamine has received attention as a treatment for many neurological conditions including chronic pain, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder and anxiety.

Ketamine works differently from other antidepressants. Most antidepressants work on two chemical messengers in the brain: serotonin and norepinephrine. The effectiveness of these medications is limited due to the fact that serotonin and norepinephrine account for a very small percentage of the chemical messengers in the brain. In contrast, ketamine works on the glutamate system, which is the main chemical messaging system in the brain.

A slow infusion of ketamine initiates a cascade of events that ultimately results in the rapid growth of neural connections. This increase in the quality and the quantity of neuronal connections are thought to relieve depression. Ketamine is also a powerful anti-inflammatory agent which may be responsible for its effectiveness against depression, which is highly associated with chronic inflammation. Other additional factors may also be involved that have yet to be identified.

Traditional antidepressants can take as long as 2-3 weeks before patients start experiencing relief. With ketamine, individuals can start to experience relief within the first 24-36 hours. Ketamine is not a one-time treatment or cure for depression. Depression is a chronic disease and requires continuous treatment. It is recommended that individuals continue with their current antidepressant regimens and therapy. Many patients find that during the initial period of relief they are suddenly able to break free from negative patterns of thinking. During this period, patients should embrace a healthy lifestyle that supports mental health including diet, exercise and talking therapy.

Ketamine can be administered in several ways, although it is most effective for the treatment of depression when administered intravenously (IV) at a low dose. Ketamine Fort Lauderdale Clinic offers the most effective and best approach.

After a medical and mental health intake evaluation, patients are prescribed two infusions of ketamine to evaluate their response to the treatment. Up to 80% of people with severe, resistant depression respond to a single infusion of ketamine, and the vast majority responds after the first two treatments. If improvement is noticed after two treatments, an additional four doses will be given over a two week period.

On the day of treatment, you will be seen in a private office setting. While you relax in a reclining chair, a very small intravenous catheter will be placed and the ketamine infusion will begin.

Ketamine might change the way you feel or your perceptions. After the infusion is complete, you will remain with us for an additional 20 minutes or until you have recovered from the mild effects of ketamine.

You will be required to have a close friend or family member drive you to and from your appointment. You will not be able to drive, operate heavy machinery or make legal decisions for the next 24 hours.

All patients should be under the care of a mental healthcare provider at the time of treatment. Patients should continue all medications and treatment as directed by their primary healthcare provider.

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