COVID-19, depression, and Ketamine as a treatment option
September 20, 2021
One of the many fallouts from the COVID-19 pandemic is an increase in the number of those suffering from mental illness, especially depression. Additionally, if you already deal with depression, you may find that your symptoms are intensified due to the increased isolation imposed by social distancing, fear of the illness itself, mask mandates, increased financial burden, or grief from personal losses. Unfortunately, traditional depression treatments may not be enough during these trying times. Fortunately, research suggests that there are benefits to using ketamine for depression which is resistant to the usual treatments.
Generally, treatment for depression involves the use of prescribed medications either with or without the addition of visits to a therapist. You may have noticed that these medications often come with unwanted side effects, may interact with foods or other medications, or they may be ineffective either immediately or over time.
You may also be involved in a support group where you can talk through your concerns and find out you’re not alone in how you feel.
Home remedies may involve taking herbs or supplements, but these may have some of the same unwanted side effects as prescribed medications. Since supplements aren’t regulated by the FDA, there may be a lack of consistency in dosage strength or even inconsistencies in the ingredients found in the pill versus what is listed on the label. Fortunately, some supplement manufacturers use third-party testing to ensure you that you’ll be getting what you’re paying for.
Treating Depression during COVID-19
As a result of the pandemic, it became more challenging to participate in your usual treatments. For example, many medical practices limit the number of patients that can be in the office for in-person appointments. This can hamper your access to proper mental health care.
Fortunately, many medical facilities are now offering teleservices where you can speak with your mental health practitioner over the phone or through video. Virtual support group meetings can increase safety and reduce the risk of transmitting a coronavirus infection to others.
Additionally, self-help methods are being encouraged by many providers. Getting enough sleep, and the appropriate nutrition can go a long way toward helping you feel better. Here are a couple of additional things that you can do at home to help with your depression symptoms.
Exercise increases the natural endorphins produced in your body to reduce your perception of pain, both physical and mental. If you can exercise outdoors, you’ll also benefit from the sun. Be sure to work out at a moderate intensity to gain the benefits of activity for depression. Exercise can also be a social activity that helps to boost your mood.
Relaxation techniques can help to reduce the anxiety and stress that you might feel like a part of your depression. Meditation, prayer, yoga, deep breathing, aromatherapy, and journaling are great ways to release your tension and uplift your mood. It can be especially beneficial to set up a peace corner or an area set aside for yourself that’s filled with things that make you calmer and more relaxed.
Ketamine for Depression
Finally, you may want to consider ketamine therapy to address your depression symptoms. This is a short-acting anesthetic that was traditionally used for sedation and relief from pain. In 2019, the FDA approved a ketamine nasal spray for those with treatment-resistant depression. Today, many providers are offering ketamine infusion therapy for patients who can’t find relief from other treatments.
Effectiveness of Ketamine Therapy for Depression
According to research published in the journal Psychiatric Research, patients who undergo multiple ketamine infusion treatments show significant improvement in their symptoms, especially those with treatment-resistant depression . The study was completed during two periods of time: one before the pandemic and one during. The results showed that ketamine therapy administered to patients during the coronavirus pandemic was equally effective when compared with equivalent therapy administered prior to the pandemic. This demonstrates that even in the restrictive atmosphere of lockdowns with limited in-person interactions, and limited social supports, ketamine therapy retains its robust therapeutic benefit.
How Does Ketamine Help with Depression?
Unlike traditional antidepressants that take weeks to begin working, this drug provides relief as soon as an hour following administration with benefits lasting up to a week after one dose. Whereas typical antidepressants focus on increasing and maintaining serotonin and norepinephrine levels in the brain, ketamine works on an amino acid called glutamate.
This amino acid also works as a neurotransmitter that sends signals in the brain. Other such neurotransmitters, with different roles in the brain, are serotonin and norepinephrine. Loss of synapses, the beneficial connections between nerve cells in the brain, can be caused by chronic stress, depression, and anxiety which damages the fine connection between these nerves. Ketamine produces a burst of glutamate that leads to a rapid increase in synapse number and function, restoring the connections in the brain lost during periods of chronic stress and depression.
Ketamine As a Treatment Option for Depression
While all the science behind how ketamine works for depression is somewhat complex, getting the actual therapy is quite easy. One of the great things about ketamine infusion therapy is that you can combine it with your regularly prescribed antidepressants to help them work more effectively.
Are you interested in ketamine therapy for your treatment-resistant depression during the COVID-19 crisis? Contact us at MD Infusions or call 844-463-8734 for more information or to schedule your treatment.