How Ketamine Therapy Treats Depression

Depression is a widespread illness affecting 17 million adults in the U.S. Many patients with severe depression may spend months or years searching for traditional treatment to alleviate their symptoms.

Medical experts have studied how glutamate and GABA neurotransmitters affect the brain’s neuroplasticity and allow individual neurons to communicate with each other. The increased communication and firing between neurons relieves the symptoms of depression.

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Ketamine stimulates the action of glutamate and GABA neurotransmitters, causing increased neuron activity which has a rapid antidepressant effect. It is theorized that the antidepressant effect of ketamine is due to the drug stimulating the brain neurons to regrow their synaptic connections. Ketamine seems to work on different systems in the brain than standard antidepressants, and that is the reason Ketamine works on patients who did not respond to standard drug therapy.

The FDA approved Ketamine therapy as a treatment for depression in 2020. It is reserved for patients who failed to improve after at least two other antidepressant treatments and needs to be combined with cognitive behavioral therapy to ensure that patients develop new cognitive coping mechanisms to prevent the relapse of depression. If you suffer from depression, you may be able to benefit from this form of treatment, but be sure to consult your doctor first.


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