Depression is the most common mood disorder, but experiencing it yourself can make you feel intensely isolated and alone. At Avesta Ketamine and Wellness in McLean, Virginia, Bethesda, Maryland, and Washington DC, our providers use ketamine, formerly just a sedative for medical procedures, to help you manage your depression and resulting suicidal thoughts. To learn more about how ketamine can quickly treat symptoms of depression, schedule a consultation by phone or online at either location today.
How does ketamine work to treat depression?
Ketamine IV infusions are a relatively new yet effective way to treat depressive symptoms. Ketamine works against depression by affecting the chemistry within your brain. It increases a neurotransmitter called glutamate, which helps regulate your thoughts and emotions. Glutamate also helps your brain create and strengthen neural connections, leading to better thought processing and more positive thoughts and feelings.
In addition to glutamate, ketamine increases a neurotransmitter called gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) that helps calm you down. One of the causes of depression is low glutamate and GABA, so restoring balance among these neurotransmitters helps reset your brain.
What should I expect during ketamine IV treatments for depression?
The general treatment timeline includes an induction phase of six to eight treatment sessions, on average, which occur at regular intervals over the course of 2-4 weeks.
We highly encourage you to continue with psychotherapy or counseling during this time, and with using any prescription medications you currently take. While the exact effects vary from person to person, you can expect to notice a difference around the point of the fifth to sixth infusion.
This phase is then followed by a much more individualized maintenance phase, called booster infusions, which will extend the time between visits until patients feel stable enough to come in only as needed, if at all.
Your Avesta provider will determine your booster treatment intervals according to your response during the induction phase infusions.
A clear treatment plan will be shared with all patients, and adjusted as needed based on response.