Ketamine: The New Antidepressant

FEATURED
February 24, 2022

Nue Life

Nue Life
8 MIN READ

Top points

  • Ketamine offers hope for people struggling with depression, including those who don’t respond to antidepressants.
  • Unlike SSRIs and SNRIs, which don’t work for 20-50% of patients, ketamine stimulates glutamate, a neurotransmitter that builds new neural connections in the brain.
  • Ketamine reduces severe depression in as little as 24 hours, replacing negative thoughts with a healthy, positive mindset.
  • At-home ketamine therapy is safe and convenient, allowing you to achieve long-lasting depression relief with minimal side effects.

Psychedelic therapy is on the rise in the mental health community, and ketamine is at the forefront of this innovative new treatment for depression.

There is some stigma against ketamine for its illegal use as a party drug, but this clinical medicine has proven itself for use in the struggle to achieve mental health. This psychedelic drug is getting a new reputation as an effective treatment for one of life’s biggest battles: depression.

So let’s take a look at this new antidepressant and see what it has to offer. Ketamine has a long history, and those suffering from depression need a treatment they can rely on. Does ketamine fit the role? Let’s find out.

The Need for an Alternative

The fact is that there is a great need for effective treatment for depression. SSRIs and talk therapy don’t work for everyone. If you’re one of the 30% of major depression sufferers who’ve tried two or more treatment methods without relief, you know this first-hand.

Rates of Depression

Depression is an incredibly common problem throughout the world, especially in the United States. Globally, about 5 percent of the adult population struggles with depression, but 7.8 percent of adults had a major depressive episode in 2019 alone in the US.

But the problem does not stop there. Most of those depressive episodes resulted in impairment in one way or the other. That number accounts for 5.3 percent of US adults.

Unfortunately, the problem only gets bigger when it comes to adolescents. About 3.8 million teenagers had a major depressive episode in 2019, about 15.7 percent of the teenagers in America. This problem disproportionately affects girls, with 23 percent of adolescent females having a depressive episode and only 8.8 percent of adolescent males.

And to make matters even worse, an estimated 35 percent of adults received no treatment for their depression.

Antidepressant Success

One study researched the efficacy of SSRIs and SNRIs, the two most common types of antidepressants. This study found that antidepressants only improved symptoms in about 20 percent of the people in the study.

Another study looking into SSRIs found that the antidepressants most commonly used to treat depression only work for about 50 percent of the population. This is thought to be because these antidepressants don’t know specifically which serotonin receptors to target or how to target them with maximum effectiveness.

Antidepressant Side Effects

In addition to typical antidepressants being largely ineffective, they often carry side effects that may outweigh the benefits they provide.

Common side effects from antidepressants include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Agitation
  • Sedation
  • Sexual dysfunction

A History of Ketamine

Ketamine has a long and interesting history. Its medical uses have been extensive and it is a common tool for many doctors in various fields.

Ketamine was first invented in 1962 by Calvin Stevens at the pharmaceutical company now known as Pfizer. It was first used by humans in 1965, and it was introduced into clinical practice in 1970.

Anesthesia

Its first use was actually as an anesthetic. Ketamine was a unique drug because it provided sleep-inducing, pain-relieving, and short-term memory loss effects. No other drug could do all three. So as an anesthetic, it became very popular.

It also has more limited effects on the cardiovascular system than other anesthetics, making it safer for patients with asthma or other lung conditions.

It is also safe for use in children, so it is the agent of choice for doctors conducting surgeries on young people. This also makes it one of the very few anesthetics approved for use in cesarean sections.

Pain Treatment

Ketamine has also been used as a pain treatment for both acute pain and chronic pain.

After many surgeries, the use of opioids could cause the patient to develop increased sensitivity to pain, requiring increased doses of opioids. Increasing opioids is not desirable due to their addictive potential.

But when ketamine is administered alongside opioids, it can prevent the development of increased pain sensitivity and opioid tolerance, making it a beneficial tool in post-operative pain management.

In the case of chronic pain, ketamine has also shown great results. Many types of chronic pain are neuropathic, resulting from a malfunction in the nervous system.

Because ketamine works in the brain as an NMDA receptor inhibitor, it can take away your body’s ability to feel that neuropathic pain, making it a remarkable treatment for chronic neuropathic pain.

Efficacy of Ketamine for Depression

In recent years, ketamine has been effective as a treatment for depression. And after years of research and refinement, one form of ketamine called esketamine was approved by the FDA for use in treatment-resistant depression.

Mechanism of Action

Ketamine works for depression in its abilities as an NMDA antagonist. Ketamine binds to the NMDA receptors in your brain, which results in a surge of a neurotransmitter called glutamate.

Glutamate is a neurotransmitter in the brain. It is the most abundant excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain, meaning that it excites the synapses in the brain and makes them active.

The surge of glutamate that ketamine provides increases your brain’s neuroplasticity through a series of events, allowing it to form new neural pathways and connections more easily. In the case of depression, this gives you the chance to get rid of negative thought patterns and replace them with new positive ones.

Fast Acting

An amazing thing about ketamine when it comes to depression is how quickly it works. Many traditional antidepressants take weeks to alleviate any symptoms. But one study at Yale saw most of its participants see a decrease in their depression symptoms within 24 hours of receiving the first dose.

This could be of great benefit for patients who are struggling with thoughts of suicide. The immediate relief to their symptoms could be exactly what they need.

Rate of Success

Ketamine also shows an incredibly high success rate when compared to antidepressants. Ketamine offers up to a 70 percent success rate of reducing or eliminating depression symptoms.

How to Take Ketamine

Ketamine can be administered in a variety of different ways. Most of these methods require the supervision of a medical professional.

Nasal Spray

When used for depression, ketamine can be taken through a nasal spray. But for all other applications, this method does not exist.

It’s a quick and easy process that is painless, but this method requires the supervision of a doctor, so you must head into a clinic to have the procedure done. They monitor you for side effects for about two hours.

IV

Intravenous administration of ketamine, or IV, is another common method of ketamine infusion. This tactic is used for various applications of ketamine, from pain management to anesthesia to depression treatment.

The infusion can take up to 45 minutes, and after it is over, you have to stay and be supervised for side effects.

Injection

Doctors can also deliver ketamine as a simple shot injected into the muscle. It feels the same as any other shot, and it carries the risk of causing some pain to the injection site.

But, again, this method requires a doctor’s supervision and can be quite time-consuming.

A Better Option

The hours-long process of most methods of ketamine administration can be inconvenient and difficult to plan around. If you’re looking to try ketamine for depression, but want to do so with a greater level of convenience, then Nue Life’s therapy programs could be what you’re looking for.

At Home Ketamine Therapy

Nue Life offers ketamine in the form of a simple oral tablet. This method is convenient and simple, and it can be done in the comfort of your own home.

The ketamine experience is foreign to many people, and being in a familiar environment can help you have a more positive experience. It has been so successful that 95% of Nue Life patients respond positively to treatment.

Using AI technology through the nue.app, we monitor patient progress and offer ongoing feedback, support, and recommendations to help you set goals for your mental health and help you be your best self.

Healthcare should extend beyond the administration of medicine. That’s why Nue Life offers services after your treatment plan has ended. You can go through weekly follow-ups to track your health and progress through the app and even participate in weekly, virtual group therapy sessions based on your specific challenges.

We believe ketamine is an amazing catalyst for change, but it’s how you apply the insights from your ketamine experiences that will make all the difference. That’s why we offer so many additional support services and tools to help you take control of your mental health.

Conclusion

Ketamine is truly changing the world of antidepressants. It is revolutionizing mental wellness and providing true relief to so many people struggling with depression. So if you haven’t had success with traditional antidepressants, consider trying ketamine to treat your depression.

Nue Life’s revolutionary health services can help you achieve the mental wellness you deserve. Change is possible, and you deserve to feel good.

Sources

CCNY study explores why antidepressants don’t work for half of the people taking them | The City University of New York

Depression: How effective are antidepressants? | Informed Health

FDA approves new nasal spray medication for treatment-resistant depression; available only at a certified doctor’s office or clinic | FDA

How New Ketamine Drug Helps with Depression | Yale Medicine

Ketamine use in current clinical practice | National Institutes of Health

Major Depression | National Institute of Mental Health

Rates of 5 common antidepressant side effects among new adult and adolescent cases of depression: a retrospective US claims study | PubMed

Six Years Later, Ketamine Remains ‘Miracle’ Drug for Patients with Severe Depression | Texas Medical Center

The glutathione cycle shapes synaptic glutamate activity | Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

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