Treatment Resistant Major Depression is one of the most difficult conditions to treat in all of Psychiatry. Characterized by an often-disabling degree of depression that responds poorly to multiple different medication regimens, treatment resistant depression can destroy quality of life and diminish functional capacity for decades at a time in afflicted individuals. Some people just give up and resign themselves to a life of misery. Others keep struggling to get better but do not know what to do. Options can run thin after 1 or 2 bad years of repeated failed treatments. Regardless of what someone may have been through, there are likely still a few potentially effective options that have not yet been tried.
Q: How effective is Ketamine for Treatment Resistant Major Depression? Recent clinical trials have demonstrated very encouraging results for the use of Ketamine in treatment resistant depression. Ketamine, which has been used for many years as a form of anesthesia, has been shown to yield robust and rapid responses for depression when given in lower doses.
Q: How is Ketamine administered for depression treatment? Protocols have been developed where a specifically calculated amount of ketamine, based on the patient’s body weight, is administered intravenously over a specified period of time to yield an effect. The desired effect is a notable mood lift while still fully awake and alert. The dosing is managed so as to avoid putting the patient to sleep.
Q: How long does a Ketamine infusion last? The mood elevation is notable and may last up to several weeks after even just one administration. Many cases will require subsequent ketamine infusions with some regularity that may be weekly or bi-monthly. Most cases maintain a very strong clinical response with ongoing treatment.
The notably high effectiveness in treating some of the hardest cases has given Ketamine a certain distinction in Psychiatry. Some patients with Treatment Resistant Major Depression, that had long been written off as hopeless, were turned around within the first 30 minutes of a Ketamine infusion. People who previously could not function have had their lives restored after a series of successful Ketamine treatments. Aside from being highly and rapidly effective, Ketamine is well tolerated with minimal to no side effects. Response rates are typically high and can be achieved quickly. Many of the few patients who did not respond initially to standard protocol dosing can still achieve a response if the dose of infusion rate of Ketamine is adjusted. Some patients experience a response lasting over 6 weeks after the first infusion. Many patients continue to receive weekly infusions to maintain a strong response.
The Ketamine infusion is a powerful tool available to achieve a response in treatment resistant Major Depression. All patients must first undergo a Psychiatric evaluation, after which all of the different treatment recommendations are discussed. Ketamine infusions may be an appropriate option in treatment resistant cases, with the best results coming as part of a comprehensive approach that includes individual and group psychotherapy, optimized nutrition, and exercise.
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