Is Ketamine Therapy Depression's New Kryptonite?

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Is Ketamine Therapy Depression's New Kryptonite?
Is Ketamine Therapy Depression's New Kryptonite?
May 16, 2021

Is Ketamine Therapy Depression's New Kryptonite?

Editor

Many individuals who struggle with Treatment-Resistant Depression and Major Depressive Disorder often feel like they are stuck in a hole without a ladder. Spravato, or intranasal esketamine, can be that ladder out of the depression pit for some. Spravato treatment can be used in conjunction with other medications and offers relief from symptoms within the first 2-48 hours of administering. 

Life still happens even if your mental health has been stable, and traumatic or distressing events can trigger a depressive episode. It is important to continue talk therapy and skills-building while undergoing Spravato treatment. Intranasal esketamine treatment can extend the time between relapses, and some patients enjoy long-term remission. 

What Is Spravato? 

Spravato is a prescription medication used for Treatment-Resistant Depression in adults. It is used as a nasal spray and is taken alongside an oral antidepressant medication. Spravato treatment is typically part of a Spravato Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy Program. This program ensures that Spravato treatment is only provided to patients in a certified medically supervised healthcare setting. It also verifies that each patient receives full details about the possible side effects of using Spravato. 

Spravato is a short-term treatment. After a Spravato treatment, a patient may experience a short-term reduction in depression symptoms. Researchers are still unsure exactly how Spravato impacts the brain, and research is ongoing to determine whether Spravato is an effective treatment method for other conditions. It is crucial for patients considering Spravato to work with a healthcare provider; this ensures they can safely explore Spravato and other treatment options to help them effectively manage their Treatment-Resistant or Major Depressive Disorder symptoms. 

What Does Spravato Feel Like?

Side effects vary, but most patients report sedation and mild dissociation. For individuals undergoing trauma recovery or utilizing other somatic modalities, the "out of body experience" or feelings of weightlessness may be alarming at first. However, most patients can lean into the experience of connecting mind and body. Some other side effects can include:

  • Elevated heart rate
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Feeling “intoxicated” 
  • Need to urinate

It will be necessary to arrange a ride to and from treatment, as patients should not drive until after a full night’s rest.  

Some patients have reported that positive side effects within hours of treatment can include:

  • Reduction of anxiety 
  • Relief from chronic-pain related depression 
  • Elevated mood
  • Reduced brain fog 
  • Feeling more “balanced”
  • Improved sleep hygiene 
  • Lack of “hopelessness” or persistent strong feelings of guilt
  • An increased ability to feel pleasure and enjoy more interest in hobbies and activities

Is It Addictive?

While ketamine may be a popular street drug, individuals recovering from drug and alcohol abuse find that Spravato does not cause cravings and is safe when administered by a professional. 

However, there is still a risk for psychological dependence. A healthcare provider should evaluate a patient for past substance abuse and potential for dependence before and during treatment with Spravato. 

Ketamine in its street form when abused may cause physical side effects that disappear shortly after use. However, the more frequently a person uses the ketamine, the more likely it becomes that they will require increasingly higher doses to achieve the same results as before or combine it with other substances, putting them at risk a fatal overdose. To avoid misuse, the manufacturers of Spravato have strict criteria for certified providers, which at Achieve include:

  • Asking the patient to fill out the PQ-9 Depression Scale questionnaire upon arrival 
  • Assessing blood pressure in 40-minute intervals during the 2 hour observation period
  • Reporting of side effects like headache, nausea, sedation, and dissociation from after the previous session and before the upcoming session
  • Monitoring of medication, supplement, and dietary changes 
  • Secure storage requirements 

Achieve Medical Center is home to some of the most well-renowned addiction medicine specialists in the greater San Diego area and takes extensive measures to evaluate each patient for a risk of drug craving triggers or potential to misuse or relapse. 

How to Get the Most Out of Your Intranasal Esketamine Treatment 

Some patients like to bring a blanket and eye mask to recline; some like to bring headphones and listen to binaural beats or relaxing music. Others like to just nap through the treatment session -- there is no specific goal of Spravato other than symptom reduction and elimination. 

Because the process of sewing together the conscious mind, the subconscious mind, and the body can be taxing, most patients like to relax the remainder of the day following treatment. Strong emotions are stored in the body that Spravato helps release, so having multiple forms of self-soothing and self-care available afterward is helpful. Some patients report it helps to have meals and snacks readily available at home. It is also important to stay hydrated, avoid caffeine, and take acetaminophen if they experience a headache. 

If you feel like you are stuck in the pit and can’t get out on your own, don’t wait to explore adjunct therapies like Spravato Intranasal Esketamine. Spravato is a prescription medication used for Treatment-Resistant Depression in adults. It is used as a nasal spray taken alongside an oral antidepressant medication. It is crucial to use Spravato in the presence of medical professionals due to a risk of psychological dependence and information on possible side effects. To learn more about Spravato and if it may be right for you, contact Achieve Medical Center. Achieve Medical Center is the premier Janssen-accredited location in sunny San Diego County, California, and we look forward to helping you or your loved one enjoy life in remission of Treatment-Resistant Depression. Please call us today (619) 375-3977 for eligibility and insurance coverage information or to make an appointment for an evaluation. Start your path to healing today with Achieve Medical.