Mental Health

Ketamine Therapy For Depression: A Simple Guide

Ketamine is a treatment for depression provided when the patient stopped responding to medications. It was first used as an anesthetic and was later discovered to be an effective antidepressant. 

Ketamine therapy is recommended to people diagnosed with treatment-resistant depression. But the approach can also be used to manage symptoms in people with bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). 

A study by Harvard Medical School described treatment-resistant depression as an “inadequate response to at least one antidepressant trial of adequate doses and duration.” This means the patient continued to experience symptoms of depression despite taking combination of medications.

To date, clinics provide ketamine either through an IV or ingested via a nasal spray called esketamine. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved esketamine for depression treatment, while the IV form has yet to get federal support.

Effects Of Ketamine Therapy 

Researchers said ketamine could reduce the effects of severe depression within 24 hours after receiving the first dose. The therapy also provided long-term effects to symptoms in patients, according to John Krystal, a professor of translational research at Yale University. 

Ketamine therapy targets the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors in the brain. It increases neurotransmitter in spaces between neurons, which enables neurons to communicate with each other and improve mood, thought patterns and cognition.

Health experts warned that high doses of ketamine may lead to abuse or addiction. In Asia, some countries have been launching campaigns to combat an epidemic of oral ketamine abuse. 

How Much Is Ketamine Therapy 

The therapy may cost from $450 per infusion to $750 in the Los Angeles area, according to In some clinics, the price of ketamine therapy may reach $1,000 per infusion. 

However, the website Ketamine Clinics Directory provides a list of clinics that offer cheaper services in the U.S. One clinic in New Jersey provides $250 per infusion.

When To Consider Ketamine Therapy

The common candidates for ketamine therapy are the people diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD), bipolar disorder or PTSD. Ketamine clinics also require patients to provide contact information on a therapist, psychiatrist or general practitioner who can confirm the diagnosis. 

It is important to talk to a psychiatrist to understand your condition before considering a ketamine therapy. 

Depression Experts are concerned that people with mental illnesses and marginalized groups may be unfairly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Pixabay