What is Depression?
Depression is characterized as the persistent feeling of sadness or loss of interest in doing things that once brought pleasure. This can lead to a range of behavioral and physical symptoms. These may include changes in sleep, appetite, energy level, concentration, daily behavior, or self-esteem. Depression can also be associated with thoughts of suicide. First line treatment usually consists of a class of drug known as Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs). SSRIs may be effective at resolving depression in some patients, however about 50% of patients with depression do not find lasting relief using conventional medicine. In 2008, a study was conducted that actually found most antidepressant drugs in fact work no better than a placebo. These drugs also come with significant limitations. These limitations include low response rates, treatment resistance, high incidence of relapse, and a delay in efficacy that requires patients to take one of many SSRIs for weeks to months before seeing any benefit. Not to mention these drugs also come with many side effects such as nausea, drowsiness or insomnia, constipation, and weight gain.
How does Ketamine treat Depression?
Ketamine has been identified as a fast-acting antidepressant. It has been shown in numerous studies to rapidly reduce depression and suicidality. Most antidepressants work by increasing the neurotransmitters Serotonin, Norepinephrine, or Dopamine. Ketamine acts in a different mechanism. Ketamine blocks the NMDA receptor in the brain allowing it to modulate the production of the neurotransmitter Glutamate. The function of most, if not all, of the cells in the brain are regulated by Glutamate. Thus, most disorders in the brain involve some degree of Glutamate dysfunction. This reset from administration of Ketamine creates an environment that allows receptors, proteins, and neural pathways to work in more optimal ways that they were not able to before due to depression.