How Do Ketamine Infusions Work for Depression?

Does ketamine really work for depression?

Is Ketamine For Depression A Good Treatment Option For Maryland Residents struggling with treatment-resistant depression? Please read on to learn how ketamine IV infusion may be one of the best treatment options available, when other medical therapies for depressive symptoms have failed.

Depression, the brain, and ketamine infusion therapy: Imagine a tree, as the season changes from Autumn to Winter. The leaves fall, one by one, until the tree is bare.

The tree appears to be a beautiful, but lifeless structure of branches going out in every direction from the trunk. A brain scientist might look at the tree and imagine a neuron, deep in the human brain, where the branches represent dendrites reaching out to connect with many other neurons.

Dendrites are the magic that makes our brains so complex and powerful. Our brains may have many billions of neurons, but the actual number of connections between them have been estimated to be as high as 100 trillion.

What happens if our neurons, like a tree losing leaves in winter, start to lose connections? How is the brain’s functioning affected by reduced connections and diminished communications?

As dendritic connections decline, the person may become depressed. While we do not think of depression as a physical problem, there are clear physical changes in the brain.

How does ketamine work for depression with respect to neurogenesis? Please read on to better understand the process of how ketamine provides long-lasting relief from depressive symptoms.

Does ketamine really work for depression?

What if you went to a fancy dinner party and no one would speak to anyone else? Without communication, and no connections forming between the party guests, the party is boring, and a bit depressing.

On the other hand, at a good dinner party, the conversation is lively. People are connecting and getting to know each other better.

When dendrites form fewer connections between neurons, it feels like being at a slow dinner party. The host becomes depressed, because no one wants to talk to anyone else.

What if something could energize the party to stimulate conversation? Or what if there was something to stimulate dendritic growth, helping to restore neurogenesis with better connections and communication?

Ketamine does just that. A ketamine IV infusion is delivered to the brain, where it blocks NMDA receptors, affecting the activity of the neurotransmitter, glutamate. The result is dendritic growth and less depression.

How does ketamine work to treat depression by reducing brain inflammation?

How does reducing brain inflammation help? Imagine if you injure your neck or back, and it hurts to move around for a few days. Your doctor may recommend ibuprofen or naproxen, which are anti-inflammatory medications.

Reducing inflammation helps you to move better and have less pain. Inflammation is the body’s response to injury, but it can work against us, causing pain and difficulty functioning.

Inflammation in the brain may have a similar effect, causing us to experience chronic pain or depression. Unfortunately, we cannot simply take an Advil to reduce our depression. Brain inflammation is different from body inflammation.

However, ketamine is known to reduce inflammatory processes in the brain. The mechanism is not fully understood, but experts believe that, by reducing inflammation in the central nervous system, a person experiences less depressive symptoms and is able to better function in their daily life.

Are the anti-inflammatory effects of ketamine more useful in treating depression, or is it the growth of new dendritic connections? While we cannot be certain as this time, we know that both mechanisms are important for supporting reductions in depressive symptoms for people who have treatment-resistant depression.

How does ketamine differ from traditional antidepressants, such as Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft, or Lexapro?

Returning to our dinner party analogy, we know that our goal is to liven up the conversations amongst guests. Think of ketamine as being like a motivational speaker addressing the party.

The speaker gives an intriguing and thoughtful talk, while the party goers sit at their tables, listening intently. After the talk is over, they start to discuss what they have learned with each other.

The result is that people who previously kept quiet, at a table of strangers, start to communicate and connect with each other. These connections are meaningful and long-lasting. New friendships form that may last a lifetime.

Now, let’s think of a typical SSRI drug, such as Prozac. While SSRIs are not intoxicating, let’s imagine that giving an SSRI is like serving more alcohol at the party to get the party goers talking to each other more.

While the dinner party attendees may communicate more, it will take a while to get the conversation going. Additionally, the conversations will not be meaningful, and it is unlikely that people will get to know each other well enough to form long-term connections.

SSRIs make the neurotransmitter, serotonin, more available in the brain. These drugs do help some people with depressive symptoms, but they must be taken daily for an indefinite period to continue working. Many people are not happy with the long-term results they achieve with SSRIs and similar antidepressants.

SSRIs feel more like covering up the problem than helping to solve it. An SSRI can seem to a depressed patient like putting a bandage on a bleeding artery. The bandage must be changed often, and it does not solve the underlying problem, which is that we need to promote effective healing.

Ketamine, unlike an SSRI, is not taken daily. A ketamine patient comes into the clinic for a limited series of infusions. These infusions provide lasting improvements in depression. The key is promoting quality prefrontal cortex growth of new dendritic connections.

Ketamine IV infusion therapy works through mechanisms that are uniquely suited for treatment-resistant depression.

Our brains continue to develop throughout our lifetimes. As we gain new knowledge and experiences, our neurons reach out to other neurons, near and far, forging new connections, and establishing new pathways.

When we go through periods of depression, the process of neurogenesis slows. We find ourselves in a rut, not able to move forward to escape the looming feelings of hopelessness.

In order to break the cycle of depression, we must confront the issues of the distant and recent past that have led to this state. Psychotherapy is important, so that we can unravel a history of past traumas and regrets.

Yet, talk therapy can only go so far by itself. With the help of ketamine infusion treatments, the ongoing neurogenesis that is so important for our mood, our outlook on life, and our feeling of general wellbeing, is given a much-needed boost.

Read More: What to Expect After Ketamine Infusion Therapy

With each progressive IV infusion, the dark clouds of depression start to lift. We begin to have hope for a better future, where enjoying life is possible again.

With the combination of infusion therapy and ketamine-assisted therapy, it is possible to overcome depression. Without being held down by the chains of depression anymore, you are given the opportunity to have a fresh start, to move forward, getting back to living your life again.

Ketamine assisted therapy can help to facilitate and guide brain growth in such a way that depression melts away. As the clouds of depression evaporate in the warmth of the healing effects of therapy, we begin to have hope for a better life.

If you live in the Washington Metropolitan Area, in D.C., Virginia, or Maryland, we would like to introduce you to the best ketamine for depression Maryland has to offer. Our program is an integration of therapy, integration, and medical ketamine infusion that is unparalleled in our region. Schedule an appointment now.

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