How Ketamine Differs from Antidepressants

How Ketamine Differs from Antidepressants

From the earliest antidepressant drugs until now, treatment for depression has made little progress. Some people have depression that is resistant to conventional antidepressants, while others complain of intolerable side effects. When you’re struggling with depression, you need hope. 

The team at Renew Infusions in Gilbert, Arizona, is focused on moving antidepressant treatment forward by providing an effective alternative to traditional antidepressant drugs. Ketamine infusion therapy is a new tool for treating depression and is gaining ground as a promising treatment for major depression, antidepressant-resistant depression, and anxiety. 

Keep reading to learn more. 

How does ketamine relieve depression?

Ketamine is an old medication with a new use. Used for pain relief and anesthesia in the past, ketamine is now being applied to depression treatment with success. Classified as a dissociative medication, when used for depression, ketamine alters glutamate, a brain chemical known to impact depression. 

Ketamine is thought to improve depression by rewiring your brain through changes in glutamate. It rapidly eases symptoms of excessive worry, troublesome thoughts, limiting beliefs, and other symptoms of depression. Ketamine infusions are also used to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

What is ketamine infusion therapy?

Ketamine infusion therapy is a process of delivering ketamine intravenously to your bloodstream for depression treatment. An IV is the fastest and most efficient way to deliver substances into your body. By avoiding the oral route, the medication is made immediately available to your body for use.

How ketamine infusions differ from antidepressants

Ketamine infusions and drugs like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) both treat depression, but there are several key differences to be aware of. 

Traditional antidepressants work well in some cases. Unfortunately, drugs such as SSRIs don’t relieve symptoms in everyone, and sometimes people prefer to avoid the side effects associated with traditional antidepressant medications.

Ketamine infusions are often recommended for treatment-resistant depression. Here are some differences in these treatments. 

Ketamine and traditional antidepressants work differently

The most common antidepressant medications work by changing the level of serotonin and norepinephrine in your brain. These chemicals are linked to mood and feelings of well-being. SSRIs, for example, block chemicals that break down serotonin so that more of it remains in the brain.

As mentioned before, ketamine works by altering glutamate. After focusing on serotonin's role in mood for decades, science is exploring other brain chemicals involved in mood. Glutamate plays a crucial role in cell signaling and serves as a novel therapeutic agent in treating depression. 

Ketamine is a rapid-acting antidepressant

Traditional antidepressants take several weeks to begin working. Most of these drugs take 4-6 weeks before you get any relief, and up to 12 weeks to achieve maximum benefit. 

Each time you require a dosage change, you must be content with symptoms for several weeks until the drug reaches steady levels in your bloodstream. This can significantly disrupt your life, and many patients can’t put everything on hold while they wait for dose adjustments to take effect. 

Ketamine is a fast-acting antidepressant. Instead of waiting weeks to months for relief, patients who respond favorably to ketamine infusions experience an easing of symptoms as quickly as two hours. This rapid relief can have a significant impact on your quality of life and ability to function. 

Ketamine is more potent than traditional antidepressants

Ketamine crosses the blood brain barrier better than traditional antidepressants such as SSRIs. Because ketamine has a better ability to get into your brain, it provides more potent relief from depressive symptoms.

Ketamine is associated with fewer side effects

Common side effects linked to traditional antidepressants include:

These symptoms can interfere with your daily life. When given at the appropriate dose and administered by a licensed health care provider, ketamine causes few side effects. Common side effects are:

Most patients tolerate ketamine well. Your provider works with you and adjusts your dosage to minimize side effects. 

Future forward help for depression

Anyone struggling with depression should seek professional help for their symptoms. If you’re dealing with depression, we can help. 

Reach out to us to learn more about ketamine infusion therapy for depression and to schedule an appointment. Call our office or book an appointment online today. 

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