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Ketamine Therapy for Depression: Known for Anesthesia, Now Saving Lives in Psychiatry

Ketamine Therapy for Depression: Known for Anesthesia, Now Saving Lives in Psychiatry

A Life-Changing Treatment Option

Ketamine is a medication that has been used in the medical community for anesthesia for years. In fact it’s effective use, and relatively low risk of adverse side effects, has placed it on the WHO’s essential list of drugs for quite some time. 



Ketamine, renowned for its longstanding use in anesthesia, has emerged as a powerful and rapid treatment for depression, particularly for those suffering from treatment-resistant depression. 



Those who are diagnosed with treatment-resistant depression are not void of help. Treatment-resistant is a term that has come under scrutiny, but its usage generally means that an individual with major depression is not responding or responding well enough to first-line treatments like SSRIs, therapy, or both.



With its unique mechanism of action and minimal side effects, ketamine offers newfound hope for those who have not responded to traditional SSRIs. This article explores the legal aspects of ketamine usage, its benefits in psychiatry, and the importance of expert supervision.



The Rise of Ketamine Therapy

In recent years, ketamine therapy has become more well known, especially with the challenges brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic, which strained mental health care systems. 



However a quick internet search for the term ‘Ketamine’ will show that many people, including Heading’s patient population in Texas, want to know if Ketamine is legal in their state, or legal at all. This isn’t all that surprising as many people only know about ketamine as a street or party drug. Like many other medications, it has been misused and mishandled.



The good news is that medically appropriate use of ketamine for mental health disorders such as major depression is not only legal, but game-changing for people who have struggled to find relief from other treatment modalities. 



Additionally, the release of Spravato®, the first FDA-approved ketamine variation for depression, has generated widespread interest in ketamine as a potent mental health treatment. Many individuals previously unaware of ketamine’s medicinal potential, associating it with illicit use, are now learning about its transformative effects in mental health support.



Ketamine centers across the country have begun to offer IV and IM ketamine, and Spravato®, and research is continuing to prove the efficacy of these therapies.



The Healing Potential of Ketamine

Beyond its anesthetic properties, ketamine can induce a dissociative state, offering patients an experience akin to a psychedelic journey. However, the therapeutic benefits extend far beyond the initial “trip.” Ketamine treatments, when administered under medical supervision, can lead to lasting improvements and neuroplasticity that inspire new ways of thinking, feeling, and processing experiences. 



While the trip gets a lot of buzz the therapeutic benefits of ketamine are reinforced through a full-series of treatment, and in coupling it with psychotherapy to maximize it’s benefits for behavioral and cognitive change.


The Legal Status of Ketamine

For medical purposes, ketamine is entirely legal and can be administered as a medication.


However, when used recreationally, it is illegal worldwide, given the risks of abuse and dependency associated with misuse.


Like any other medication, Ketamine is not a miracle drug. It is a tool in the psychiatric toolkit and needs to be used safely and effectively. It’s important for any patient to be fully evaluated to mitigate risks. To ensure safety, Heading conducts thorough evaluation and only provides ketamine therapy and Spravato® treatments in-center under professional supervision.



Psychiatric Use of Ketamine

Spravato® is FDA-approved for major depression resistant to other treatments, while other forms of ketamine therapy fall under off-label use. The medical community strongly supports the psychiatric usage of ketamine, thanks to consistent research and the approval of Spravato®. As access to ketamine expands, the practice of evidence-based medicine by qualified physicians remains pivotal.



The Importance of Professional Guidance

For psychiatric medical facilities like Heading, offering ketamine as an interventional service requires guidance from trained and qualified psychiatrists. Full psychiatric evaluations are conducted before commencing therapies, and patients are closely monitored by medical professionals throughout their treatment journey.



This level of support and supervision provides patients with a sense of safety and confidence in their treatment.



Embracing Best Practices

Centers that offer Spravato®, like Heading, go through a strict approval process and must adhere to rigorous protocols to ensure optimal treatment outcomes. These standards for Spravato® offer a clear benchmark for best practices that may be adopted for all ketamine therapies to ensure the best possible treatment for patients.



Professional organizations and researchers also play a crucial role in promoting experience sharing, evidence-based research, and education among clinicians working with ketamine.



Get in Touch with Heading

If you have questions about the safety and effectiveness of Ketamine treatments for depression or wish to schedule a consultation, reach out to the Heading staff.


Our team is eager to connect with you and learn more about your needs, helping you embark on a transformative journey towards improved mental health.