IV Ketamine Therapy
Symptoms of major depressive and other neurological and mental health disorders can be excruciating to live with. At Sun Health, we understand how hard it can be, especially if you’re suffering from treatment-resistant depression—which is why ketamine is one of the IV therapies we make available (by doctor’s prescription only, following an in-depth psychiatric assessment).
Sun Health Center is in fact a leading provider of FDA-approved, intravenous ketamine therapy in greater Boca Raton, including Pompano Beach and Fort Lauderdale. IV Ketamine is a cutting-edge therapy for treatment-resistant depression and other mental health conditions. If a SHC doctor determines ketamine therapy is right for you, the infusions are administered on an outpatient basis at our medical offices.
In this section of our website, you’ll learn more about ketamine therapy and what makes it so promising for treatment-resistant depression. You’ll also learn about how ketamine therapy works, how it’s administered, and about other conditions it can treat, such as anxiety, depression, OCD, and chronic pain. We always encourage anyone considering ketamine therapy to call our offices and schedule a consultation for more information.
“I had tried many antidepressants. For various reasons, none of them worked. When I came to Sun Health, I was severely depressed and seriously thinking about ending my life. After just one ketamine infusion, I felt better than I had felt in years. ”– Pat
What Is Ketamine?
Ketamine has been in use since the 1960s, when it was first synthesized and later prescribed as an anesthetic in surgery during the Vietnam War. (At high doses, ketamine acts mainly as an anesthetic, stimulating opiate receptors much like morphine.) The drug’s psychoactive properties made it an attraction for illicit drug users in the 1970s.
In these ways, ketamine is not a new drug, but it has gained growing interest more recently for what it can achieve when prescribed at lower doses—and for one group of patients in particular. Up to one third of patients with major depression have symptoms that do not respond to treatment. They may have tried one antidepressant medication after another but with no success. For patients with this form of severe, “treatment-resistant depression,” IV Ketamine therapy can be life-saving.
Why Ketamine Therapy is Promising for Treatment-Resistant Depression?
People with major depression can be at a higher and more imminent risk of suicide, to begin with; but depression that does not respond well to first-line antidepressants and therapy can invite further despair and suicidality. For patients with severe, treatment-resistant depression, (as in depression that has not responded well to at least two antidepressants taken for at least six weeks), IV ketamine therapy treatments can be an essential lifeline, by providing nearly immediate relief of depressive symptoms and effectively treating suicidal thoughts.
These quick-acting, therapeutic effects make ketamine therapy nothing short of revolutionary for treatment-resistant depression. As perspective, it’s not uncommon for someone receiving ketamine to feel better within four hours of intravenous administration; in contrast, most antidepressants take a minimum of 6-8 weeks to kick in.
Ketamine Therapy for Anxiety, OCD, and Chronic Pain
IV Ketamine has also been beneficial therapy for other conditions, such as anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and chronic pain. For example, a study reported in the journal Stanford Medicine showed that when patients with OCD received ketamine, their obsessive-compulsive symptoms drastically decreased midway through the infusion—and, these beneficial effects lasted well into the following week for half of the study subjects.
Other research has concluded IV ketamine treatments as an effective therapy for anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)—where these conditions have not responded well to other treatments. Similarly, people with chronic pain, for whom other pain medications may not have worked, can also benefit from IV Ketamine therapy. In some cases, those with chronic pain who may be preparing for surgery may be good candidates for ketamine therapy.
How IV Ketamine Therapy Works
Researchers continue to explore the various mechanisms of action by which ketamine relieves depression, anxiety, and other conditions. Ketamine acts differently and on different receptors and neurotransmitters than other first-line antidepressants such as SSRIs. For now, the scientific consensus seems to be that ketamine achieves its therapeutic effects by binding to NMDA receptors in the brain. This binding action increases the amount of glutamate (a neurotransmitter) in the brain, setting off a neurochemical sequence that ultimately can affect mood, thought patterns, even perceptions of pain.
At Sun Health Center, patients receive ketamine comfortably and painlessly, via an IV drip bag that contains a saline solution of ketamine. Over a period of around 30 minutes, the ketamine gradually enters the patient’s bloodstream while our medical staff monitors the patient’s vitals. Most patients will experience the therapeutic effects of the treatment almost immediately. They often report a lift in their depression, calmer thoughts, and a better mood overall.