Ketamine found its first use several years ago as anesthesia. Many people know it as the popular name for horse tranquilizers because of its use in the veterinary field. Over time, studies have found that ketamine has antidepressant effects in addition to its anesthetic qualities. In fact, in 2019, the FDA approved a type of ketamine transfusion as a method of treating depression that is resistant to initial interventions.

Learn more about Rockland Recovery’s drug addiction treatment program in Massachusetts by calling 855.732.4842.

What Is Ketamine?

Ketamine is a type of anesthesia that was considered an illegal drug for many years with no practical human use. However, research over time proved that ketamine could be an effective treatment for depression that does not respond to other forms of treatment. Ketamine transfusions are the most common type of ketamine treatment.

Also commonly referred to as a ketamine infusion, ketamine transfusions deliver ketamine through an IV during a hospital visit. Each ketamine transfusion lasts 30-40 minutes, after which people can go about their day. Other ways of delivering ketamine include as:

  • An intramuscular injection
  • A Lozenge
  • A nasal spray

Ketamine transfusions remain the go-to variety of ketamine treatments because they are easily absorbed by the body and produce the best outcomes. Sometimes ketamine transfusions are combined with other ketamine treatments. For instance, lozenges may be prescribed as a secondary treatment between ketamine transfusion sessions.

One of the biggest questions people ask after “What is Ketamine?” is, “Does it have any side effects?” Ketamine treatment is accompanied by some side effects. Common side effects are nausea, dizziness, and confusion. These do not appear in all cases, and if they do, they rarely persist for more than a few hours following a ketamine transfusion.

What Do Transfusions of Ketamine Treat Best?

Ketamine transfusion is most often used to treat major depressive disorder. It is important to note that ketamine treatment is not the first thing doctors recommend for depression. Other methods should be tried first, such as therapy or anti-depressant medication. But when those interventions fail to produce positive outcomes, ketamine treatment could be the answer.

In addition, depression is far from the only thing that transfusions of ketamine can treat. It is also leveraged in dealing with chronic suicidal ideation alongside other issues such as:

  • Chronic pain
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Bipolar disorders
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder

Benefits of Ketamine Transfusion

One of the biggest benefits of ketamine transfusions is that it works very quickly. This is a significant consideration in people whose depression has turned into suicidal ideation or people in imminent danger of self-harm due to their depression. Antidepressant medications, when they do work for people, often take a few weeks to realize their full benefit. Meanwhile, a transfusion of ketamine can eliminate suicidal ideation in as little as 90 minutes following treatment.

The response rate for people treated with a transfusion of ketamine is also promising. One study found that a round of ketamine transfusion therapy reduced depressive symptoms in 85% of participants. Ketamine treatment should not be considered a cure-all. Most of the people in the study had their symptoms return, although some persisted symptom-free for as long as three months. But neither do antidepressants cure a mental health disorder. When considered in that light, ketamine transfusions are a viable, tested approach to reducing depressive symptoms.

Explore Ketamine Treatment at Rockland Recovery

Ketamine treatment is just one of the many treatment methods employed by Rockland Recovery when addressing mental health disorders within addiction recovery. Successfully treating mental health at the same time as substance abuse is vital to achieving long-term sobriety. Ketamine is thought to work by producing glutamate in the brain. Glutamate contributes to the development of new neural pathways, which in turn may help reduce the symptoms of depression.

Learn more about how Rockland Recovery uses ketamine transfusion to treat the mental health aspects of substance abuse when you call 855.732.4842.