How Does Ketamine Work?
Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic that doctors have widely used to induce general anesthesia for medical procedures that don’t require muscle relaxation. Ketamine is a racemic mixture that comes into two molecular forms – R- and S-Ketamine.
In more recent years, Ketamine has been shown to provide near-immediate antidepressant effects. This is achieved as a result of Ketamine working as an NMDA receptor antagonist.
Ketamine increases the amount of glutamate in the brain, a neurotransmitter found between neurons. As well as increasing BDNF, Ketamine also has a cascading effect where the glutamate then activates the AMPA receptor. This means that unlike other antidepressant treatments – which increase chemicals such as serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine – ketamine instead improves communication between the brain’s cells. The result is a positive impact on one’s mood.
Which Mental Health Concerns Can Ketamine Treat?
How Many Ketamine Treatments Are Needed and What Is the Form of the Ketamine:
Our treatment consists of a combination of ketamine-assisted psychotherapy and ketamine IM injections. We believe that preparation for treatment and integration of the experience during and after the ketamine treatment is paramount to the healing process. The treatment protocol we recommend is 2 treatments weekly over a 3-week period. Maintenance sessions may be warranted and this is evaluated on an individual basis.
We Also Offer Esketamine Treatment (Spravato):
Our Esketamine treatment is administered via a nasal spray. Treatment consists of nasal spray doses conducted under strict medical supervision. Patients will be required to remain in the clinic for observation, even after the final dosage has been administered. The duration of the entire appointment is 2 hours. Esketamine treatment is FDA approved for patients who experience treatment-resistant depression and/or acute suicidal ideation. This means that in order to qualify, patients must have tried at least two other anti-depressant treatments – for at least 6 weeks each – with minimal improvement or results. Most insurance companies do cover this treatment.
What Sets Memor Health Apart From Other Ketamine Clinics?
Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy
Our mission is to provide ethical and compassionate use of Ketamine. This includes providing therapy to assist in all phases of the experience, from preparation to experiential to integration.
Research has shown Ketamine alone can have an immediate antidepressant effect. Our experience is that for lasting change, Ketamine is most effective when paired with psychotherapy. Ketamine comes with a dissociative experience that can be disorienting and bring up a lot of psychological material for people. Having a trusted guide next to you makes the experience more relaxing and supports the processing of new material that may arise around issues, hopes, desires, and struggles (set, setting, and integration).
Medical Provider Always On Site
At Memor Health we take your health and safety very seriously. Though medical emergencies with ketamine are very rare, our medical team will be monitoring you closely during your treatment. Not only are we medically trained but our expertise is in mental health; so, we understand the physical and psychological aspects of ketamine.
Integrative Psychiatry Services
You will be evaluated by a medical health provider, who believes in getting to the root of your mental unwellness. Ketamine may be a part of this holistic approach; though assessing for imbalances of other aspects of your life are also important. These can include lifestyle habits, diet, stress reduction, belief patterns, relationships, and community. To receive the most benefit from your ketamine treatments, other aspects of your mental well-being must be taken into consideration. Learn more about integrative psychiatry.
Ketamine and Esketamine Treatment FAQs
Will ketamine therapy help my treatment-resistant depression?
Based on searches of major medical centers over the past 12 years around 70% of all patients may experience significant and rapid relief. Many people report a significant improvement in symptoms.
If ketamine therapy works for me how soon will I begin to feel better?
This can vary by patient. Some patients feel better within a few hours, while for others, it may take several days. The series of injections helps to build a more lasting therapeutic response.
Can I continue to take my antidepressants or medications during ketamine therapy?
Anti-depressant medications (SSRIs, MAOIs, and tricyclics) do not interfere with ketamine, and there is no need to stop them. Patients taking large doses of benzodiazepines, such as Ativan or Xanax, may have a reduced response to ketamine, but taking these medications at lower doses does not mean that ketamine cannot help you. There are some reports that Lamictal in doses over 100mg/day may blunt the ketamine response, but this is still considered controversial. We will carefully review your medications during the evaluation process.
Will my insurance company pay for ketamine therapy?
Ketamine therapy for mood disorders is recent and still viewed as experimental, insurance companies do not cover this treatment.
Where is the treatment performed?
All treatments are performed at our clinic on an outpatient basis in our relaxing and comfortable environment.
Are there any long-term side effects of ketamine therapy?
Ketamine therapy has not shown any long-term side effects when administered at the small doses used to treat mental health conditions.
What conditions could keep me from receiving ketamine?
There are very few, but these can include uncontrolled high blood pressure, severe kidney function problems, psychotic disorders, or mania. Women who are pregnant should not have treatment with ketamine. Dr. Kaunismaki will review any contraindications with you during the evaluation process.
What should I expect during ketamine therapy?
Ketamine is administered at the beginning of the treatment time through an intramuscular injection. The dose is determined by your weight and by your response to previous treatment. The amount of ketamine administered is not enough to cause a loss of consciousness, so you will remain awake, but relaxed. Blood pressure and heart rate are measured at the beginning of treatment and at a few intervals during the treatment. You may experience odd perceptions – such as distortion of sounds or time. Some report what is referred to as “dissociative” or “out of body” experience. Though this experience does not need to take place to have an effective ketamine experience. Most patients tolerate the experiences with no trouble, and many people find them pleasant. You will have staff always available and one of our highly trained therapists will be with you during the entire experience. The entire session takes approximately 2-3 hours.
Make an Appointment
Call us at 775-827-2400 for a complete list of services
Zarate CA, et al. A randomized trial of an N-methyl-D-aspartate antagonist in treatment-resistant major depression.Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2006 Aug;63(8):856-64
Huang YJ et al. New Treatment Strategies of Depression: Based on Mechanisms Related to Neuroplasticity. Neural Plast. 2017; 2017:4605971
Muscat SA, Hartelius G, Crouch CR, Morin KW . An Integrative Approach to Ketamine Therapy May Enhance Multiple Dimensions of Efficacy: Improving Therapeutic Outcomes With Treatment Resistant Depression. Front Psychiatry. 2021 Nov 24;12:710338. DOI: