A new study reveals that ketamine infusions work like an opioid when treating depression symptoms. Ketamine infusion therapy is becoming an increasingly common alternative treatment for depression, PTSD, and other mental disorders. Here at Delray Center for Healing, we offer outpatient depression treatment in the form of ketamine infusions.
Researchers from Stanford University found that ketamine works effectively and quickly by activating the opioid system in the brain. This information is important in understanding the effects of using ketamine to treat disorders like depression. Since ketamine is only FDA approved as an anesthetic, there have not been many studies about how it interacts with the brain despite it becoming a popular treatment alternative in helping depression patients.
Doctors know ketamine works to quickly and effectively relieve depression symptoms, but until now they weren’t sure why. Roughly a third of people with depression have a form known as treatment-resistant depression that does not respond to traditional depression treatment options such as medication and therapy. This is why they use ketamine.
Right now ketamine therapy is only available through private clinics and doctors. Since it doesn’t have FDA approval as a depression treatment yet, insurance does not cover the costs. The FDA has fast-tracked two medications that act similarly to ketamine, signaling an upcoming change.
This new study provides valuable insight into how ketamine works to alleviate depression symptoms. The study finds that when the opioid receptors in the brain are not active, the antidepressant effects of ketamine don’t provide any relief.
Doctors still have concerns about abuse, addiction, and long-term effects. However, the effects of ketamine therapy are great. We still need more studies to answer questions about the medication, but the results are promising.
Contact us to learn more about ketamine infusion therapy and how it could help you!
Since 2003, the Delray Center for Healing has provided exceptional psychiatric and therapeutic care for mental health, eating, and substance use disorders. To learn more about our philosophy and treatment approach, download our free e-book, “Psychiatry Redefined,” written by our founder and medical director, Raul J. Rodriguez, MD.