Major Depressive Disorder
Major Depressive Disorder is a serious mental health condition that can negatively affect your everyday emotions and actions. Despite how common depression is in the United States and globally, the public often overlooks the seriousness of this disorder. Around three million new cases are reported each year in the U.S. and nearly 300 million individuals are estimated to experience symptoms of depression¹. The World Health Organization also regards depression as a leading cause of disability.
Depression treatments can include therapy and antidepressant medication that target symptoms, but some patients may experience treatment-resistant depression. If depression symptoms persist after the traditional approach, doctors may begin to recommend ketamine infusions to treat depression.
Ketamine for Treatment-Resistant Depression
Although some ketamine patients experience dramatic success after treatment, not every patient will feel drastically better without other changes in their life. Ketamine treatments often lessen the symptoms of depression so patients can have breakthroughs in therapy and cultivate a more fulfilling life. This means lifestyle changes, together with ketamine treatments can be practiced together to ensure the success of managing symptoms of depression in the future and get the most out of their ketamine treatments.
Lifestyle Changes That Can Impact Depression Positively
The best lifestyle changes for ketamine patients are identical to the lifestyle changes recommended to fight symptoms of depression. Making sure you care for your mental and physical health will help improve your depression symptoms and maximize ketamine treatments. Lifestyle practices such as receiving adequate sleep at night, exercise, and eating a healthy diet can all help to supplement your ketamine treatments and improve your quality of life. Sleep, fitness, and diet are the most important factors in maximizing ketamine treatment benefits.
Rest & Regeneration
Sleep can play a huge role in how an individual feels daily and affect how successful your ketamine treatments will be. Adequate sleep for most adults equates to around seven to nine uninterrupted hours a night to feel rested and energized for a new day². Getting enough sleep is a challenging task for everyone, especially patients who suffer from depression and anxiety. Some healthy sleeping habits you can incorporate include recording your sleep habits in a sleep diary, ensuring you don’t go to bed hungry, creating a dark and cozy sleep space, abstaining from consuming caffeine in the evening, and allowing yourself time and space to relax and wind down for at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
Fitness for Ketamine Patients
Fitness and ketamine therapy are effective ways to treat symptoms of depression. If you currently participate in a more sedentary lifestyle, incorporating fitness into your routine is a great healthy choice.
Studies have shown that leading a more active life will provide many benefits that elevate your mood³. Physical activity increases circulation resulting in a higher amount of oxygen, nutrients, and glucose to your brain, eliminating toxins in the body and improving our brain’s response to stress. In some cases of depression, exercise can even provide a more effective treatment than antidepressant medication.
Taking a walk or adding a workout routine for 30 minutes a day that feels best for you and your lifestyle can help you feel better physically and mentally¹. Tracking your progress in an activity log or having a friend you exercise with can help maintain a daily schedule.
Diet For Ketamine Patients
Similar to your fitness levels, eating a healthy diet is essential to improve and maintain your mental health. A new field of medicine called nutritional psychiatry connects how our mood and the food we consume may be linked. A diet that contains minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants will help nourish and protect the brain from oxidative stress.
What a Healthy Diet May Look Like:
A healthy diet for managing symptoms of depression and for ketamine patients is balanced portions of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, yogurt, lean proteins like fish, turkey, and chicken, and healthy fats from avocados, nuts, and oils like olive oil and fish oil.
Foods rich in omega-3 fats are also specifically good for lessening your symptoms of depression⁴. Some foods that are high in omega-3 fats include seaweed, pumpkin seeds, and various types of fish such as salmon, trout, and sardines. Proper hydration throughout the day is just as important for your health as well. Depending on your activity levels and body weight, between 64-128 oz of water a day is a good range to aim for.
Certain types of food can be more triggering than others and worsen your symptoms of depression when there is indulgence. If you struggle with depression, it is recommended you avoid or limit your consumption of foods that are processed and have additives like artificial sweeteners, refined sugars, and MSG. This can include juices high in sugar and additives and packaged foods like chips.
A healthy ketamine diet can also look similar to a Mediterranean diet. The Mediterranean diet is often looked to as one of the healthiest diets a person could have. This diet prioritizes more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seafood, and fish.
Meal Prepping Tips:
Even with ketamine treatments, life can sometimes make it difficult to enact healthier meal choices. However, with a little planning, meal prepping can be a great choice to make the transition to a healthier lifestyle easier.
Meal prepping can be a big challenge to undertake at first, but with a few tips and some changes in habits, it will slowly just become another part of your routine. Designate one day out of the week for meal prep, that way you know when you’ll cook and be prepared for the week. Meal prepping can keep you motivated throughout the week and save you time.
The first step to meal prepping is planning out the meals for the week. Technology can be very helpful in organizing your grocery list and meals. Meal planning apps can help you compile a list of ingredients for the week for your meals. Many grocery stores also provide grocery delivery and pickup. Ordering online can be convenient for avoiding crowds in stores and saving time spent inside the store.
Avesta Ketamine and Wellness
Any combination of these lifestyle practices is a great option to implement in your life when undergoing ketamine treatments for depression, or even just to improve your general quality of life.
At Avesta Ketamine and Wellness, we value your mental health and are committed to improving your well-being. If you would like to learn more about different lifestyle practices in conjunction with ketamine therapy to treat symptoms of depression, please schedule a consultation.
¹ Albany Ketamine Infusions. (2022, February 24). What lifestyle changes can help my depression? Retrieved November 9, 2022, from https://albanyketamine.com/what-lifestyle-changes-can-help-my-depression/
² Knüppel, A., Shipley, M. J., Llewellyn, C. H., & Brunner, E. J. (2017, July 27). Sugar intake from sweet food and beverages, common mental disorder and depression: Prospective findings from the Whitehall II Study. Scientific reports. Retrieved November 9, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5532289/
³ Langston, R. (2022, April 21). Getting the most out of ketamine therapy: Ketamine for depression. Vitalitas Denver. Retrieved November 9, 2022, from https://ketaminedenver.com/2016-12-26-getting-the-most-out-of-ketamine-infusions/
⁴ Ketamine Clinics Los Angeles. (2020, September 8). Food For Better Thoughts: Depression-Fighting Superfoods. Retrieved November 9, 2022, from https://blog.ketamineclinics.com/blog/food-for-better-thoughts-depression-diet
Godman, H. (2013, November 7). Adopt a Mediterranean diet now for better health later. Harvard Health. Retrieved November 9, 2022, from https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/adopt-a-mediterranean-diet-now-for-better-health-later-201311066846
Photo by Pixabay from Pexels: https://www.pexels.com/photo/man-running-on-side-of-road-235922/
Author Dr. Ladan Eshkevari, PhD, CRNA, FAAN Dr. Eshkevari is the lead clinician at Avesta, and is a long time researcher and educator in physiology, biophysics, and anesthesiology. She is passionate about assisting patients with retractable, difficult to treat mood disorders, and relies on the latest research to bring evidence to Avesta's practice to better understand and serve patients.