Heather Armstrong was in a downward spiral and wanted to die.
“I got into a hole and it got deeper and deeper and I couldn’t get out on my own,” she said almost 3 years ago before seeking treatment at the University of Utah’s Neuropsychiatric Institute (UNI). ²
For millions of Americans, Armstrong’s battle is all too familiar. An estimated 5 million people or one-third of those diagnosed with depression are treatment resistant. This means that traditional medications aren’t working for them. Those suffering from treatment-resistant depression, major depressive disorder (MDD), PTSD, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and other mental health challenges need treatments that are safe, effective, and that work quickly in order to put their lives back on track.
Ketamine’s potential has changed expectations about depression and anxiety treatments. Scientists and doctors are now looking for medications that will work in 6 hours instead of 6 weeks. Initial results from clinical studies focus on the glutamate pathway for the development of new antidepressants. Ketamine works to inhibit glutamate, the primary activating neurotransmitter in the brain. In a recent study, ketamine—which dampens glutamate signaling—lifted depression in as little as 2 hours in people with treatment-resistant depression.
Left: Change in the 21-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) following ketamine or placebo treatment.
Right: Proportion of responders showing a 50 percent improvement on the HDRS following ketamine or placebo treatment.
Source: Carlos Zarate, M.D., Experimental Therapeutics and Pathophysiology Branch, NIMH
Antidepressant drugs relieve depression for some, but there is always a weeks-long delay before they take effect, and some people with treatment-resistant depression do not respond at all.
In a study of bipolar disorder patients in the depressed phase, ketamine restored pleasure-seeking behavior independent from and ahead of its other antidepressant effects. In less than an hour after receiving a single infusion of ketamine, treatment-resistant depressed bipolar disorder patients experienced the reversal of a key symptom—loss of interest in pleasurable activities. And this reaction lasted up to 14 days. Brain scans linked ketamine’s action to boosted activity in areas at the front and deep in the right hemisphere of the brain. ¹
PET scans revealed that ketamine rapidly restored bipolar depressed patients’ ability to anticipate pleasurable experiences by boosting activity in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (yellow) and related circuitry. Picture shows PET scan data superimposed on anatomical MRI.
Ketamine Research studies have provided new information on biomarkers that can be used to predict who will respond to treatment. According to a preliminary clinical trial, ketamine may also have potential for treating other mental illnesses. PTSD patients given ketamine experienced reduced severity of symptoms. And the investigations into ketamine may provide the momentum to develop new therapies based on the role of glutamate pathway signaling. ¹
The ketamine story indicates a strong and repeatable clinical outcome which can open up new arenas for basic research involving glutamate and lead to improved treatment options.
#1 – How Ketamine Therapy Resets Your Brain
Ketamine acts as a glutamate receptor antagonist. Glutamate regulates large regions of the nervous system and is the most prominent neurotransmitter in the brain. When glutamate receptors are overactivated, a person may experience long-term depression. Ketamine works by blocking these glutamine receptors.
Ketamine acts as an N-Methyl D-Aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist, meaning that it inhibits the transfer of electric signals between neurons in the brain and the spinal column. This is why ketamine has been used as a very safe and effective anesthetic in medical and surgical situations for children, adults, and animals for more than 50 years. Because of its history, ketamine can help train chronic pain without the addictive qualities of opioids.
Unlike traditional antidepressants, ketamine therapy can actually repair damaged neural pathways rather than dulling the signals. When people experience depression, anxiety, pain, and other forms of stress, the brain’s communication system for learning, memory, and higher-order thinking can be damaged. Ketamine works to repair this damage on several levels.
Anxiety, depression, pain, and other types of stress can damage the communication system between the areas of the brain responsible for memory, learning, and higher-order thinking. Antidepressants work by shifting the balance of brain chemicals like serotonin and dopamine, while ketamine stimulates neuron growth and helps your brain cells communicate better with each other.
Studies have also shown that ketamine enhances the brain’s structural plasticity, or its ability to change its physical structure as a result of learning. If the mind is injured or damaged by disease or stress, neuroplasticity allows it to reset and recover by reorganizing its physical structure. ³
#2 – Is Ketamine Safe?
Ketamine is very safe when administered in a controlled medical setting by a properly trained physician using established methods, like those at Therapy Reset.
Ketamine has traditionally been used as a very safe and effective anesthetic in medical and surgical situations for children, adults, and animals for more than 50 years. Because of its history, ketamine can help train chronic pain without the addictive qualities of opioids. More recently, ketamine has been a valuable and highly effective treatment for patients with depression, suicidal ideations, anxiety, certain pain disorders, and other afflictions. It is on the World Health Organization’s list of essential medicines.
#3 – Which conditions respond well to ketamine therapy?
Ketamine therapy can help treat a variety of conditions such as anxiety, bipolar disorder, complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS), fibromyalgia, major depression, mood disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), nerve-related pain, pain syndromes, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), postpartum depression, suicidal ideation, and reflex sympathetic dystrophy (RSD), among others. Ketamine can help patients who have not experienced full relief of depression, pain or other conditions from traditional medications and therapies.
Clinics such as Therapy Reset focus on ketamine therapy for depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other mood disorders. Our anesthesiologists and pain management specialists have extensive experience with ketamine and know how to perform infusions.
#4 – What is the cost of ketamine infusion therapy?
Therapy Reset offers very competitive pricing for ketamine infusion therapy. Our fees cover the full patient journey, including long-term monitoring, clean private infusion rooms, and any additional medicines needed for comfort during treatments. We offer personalized payment plans and discounts for veterans and first responders. Please contact us at our office in South Ogden, Utah to learn more about the affordable cost of this transformative therapy.
#5 – How to Get More information about Ketamine
At Therapy Reset, we have many processes and standards in place to guarantee the best experience for our patients as they receive their ketamine therapy. Your experience with us begins with a free, no-obligation call with our skilled clinicians who can answer all your questions about our clinic and ketamine therapy. Before your first treatment at Therapy Reset, we will conduct a full medical, symptomatic and diagnostic review, evaluation, and consultation to determine how you might to respond low-dose ketamine therapy infusions.
While receiving ketamine therapy at Therapy Reset, you can enjoy a friendly and inviting atmosphere. We prioritize your peace of mind, comfort, health, and safety with private rooms, luxury lounge chairs, ongoing monitoring, and advanced IV technologies.
After your treatment, our caring, compassionate, and experienced team will monitor your journey and conduct post-treatment evaluations and consultations.
#6 – Is there a ketamine clinic near me?
Therapy Reset is conveniently located in South Ogden, Utah and serves patients from all of Northern Utah and the western United States. We are currently helping patients from Salt Lake City, Ogden, Kaysville, Layton, Morgan, and surrounding areas.
Call or visit Therapy Reset in South Ogden today for a free, no-obligation visit to explore how ketamine can help reset your brain and your life.