If you suffer from depression, you aren’t alone. In fact, depression
is one of the most common mental health issues in the Unites States today,
with nearly 15.7 million American adults suffering from these feelings
of persistent sadness and irritability. Untreated, depression can debilitate
your daily life, leading to anxiety disorders, eating disorders, substance
abuse issues, heart disease and even suicide.
It’s National Mental Health Awareness Month, and there’s no
better time for a new beginning in your life. It’s never too late
to try something new to treat your depression, and if you feel you’ve
exhausted all other options, it may be time to consider ketamine infusion therapy.
In traditional doses, ketamine is a reliable anesthetic that has been used
for nearly 50 years to sedate adults and children—but it’s
recently become one of the most significant advances in treating many
chronic diseases, including:
- Depression (including postpartum depression)
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
- Bipolar disorder (manic with refractory depression)
- Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), also called reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD)
- Neuropathic pain
- Migraine headaches/Persistent daily headaches
Traditional antidepressants can take weeks or even months to reach therapeutic
levels and only half of all patients get relief from their symptoms. Research
has shown that ketamine not only produces a rapid and robust antidepressant
effect where it can lift depression in many patients within hours; it
also can put a quick end to suicidal thinking.
Last year, the
Ketamine Wellness Clinic of Orange County opened in
Mission Hospital Laguna Beach. Patients experience a spa-like environment as a dedicated
team of caregivers, including board-certified anesthesiologists, administer
the infusion treatment.
“We’re able to provide another avenue to treat the patient
population that is traditionally resistant to other forms of treatment.
It’s a safe, effective, fast-acting medication with very few side
Dan Hancock, MD, medical director of the clinic.
Since opening, the clinic has already administered more than 125 infusions
to nearly 25 patients, and the results have been “remarkable,”
says Dr. Hancock.
“We’re finding that our ketamine infusions are successful treatment
options for about seven out of 10 patients,” says Dr. Hancock. “Obviously
it’s only one part of the puzzle. Our infusion therapy complements
the ongoing treatments—from medications to psychotherapy. We are
offering a potential lifeline to those patients who have exhausted other
avenues of treatment without effective relief. Often, we’re giving
them new hope.”
One patient, who wishes to remain anonymous, thought about suicide more
than 1,000 times per day, after the second infusion, her suicidal thoughts
had nearly completely disappeared. It stayed that way for almost three
months before she chose to return for a single maintenance “booster” infusion.
Another patient said, “I've suffered from anxiety and depression
all of my life, and have tried every kind of medicine and therapy. Nothing
else worked for me. I had given up on finding relief, but I was much better
after the very first ketamine treatment. After several treatments, my
life was remarkably improved.”
In February, the clinic expanded its services to using ketamine infusions
to also treat persistent daily headaches and refractory migraine headaches
as well as neuropathic pain—the results of treating these chronic
issues are already proving to be positive.
If you have a mental health disease and feel you’ve exhausted all
treatment options, talk to your primary care provider today about whether
ketamine infusion therapy may be the next step in your care.
Read more about ketamine infusion therapy, including a Q&A with Dr. Hancock.