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As Ketamine infusion therapy becomes a more common method of treating depression, severe anxiety, postpartum, PTSD, etcetera, it’s gained a lot of attention from scientists, doctors, scholars, and even celebrities who are intrigued by ketamine and it’s amazing medical versatility and mental health success. But with ketamine’s growing notoriety, many people wonder exactly what ketamine is, and how it compares to traditional antidepressants. Is it the same thing? Or something entirely different? Read below to learn more.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

While both ketamine and antidepressants treat the same thing — depression — they’re not medically equivalent. Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic that manipulates certain brain receptors. It was initially used as a painkiller in the Vietnam War and is still used that way in hospitals today. But it’s effects range past just being a painkiller, it also “re-wires” the brain by tapping into brain receptors involved with mood and emotion processing, which is how it helps those with depression. It’s a strong medication, which means it must be used under the careful eye of an experienced doctor. 

On the other hand, antidepressants are medications that balance the brain’s chemical neurotransmitters to effect mood and emotion. There are many different types of antidepressants that target different chemicals, depending on the suspected chemical origin of the depression. Antidepressants can be difficult to prescribe successfully, as it’s difficult to know which chemicals are the mental culprits. This is why over half of people on antidepressants claim that their medication has little to no effect on their mental health. However, antidepressants remain the most popular depression treatment and are often life-changing for those it does help. 

So while ketamine and antidepressants effect brain transmitters, they do so in different ways and in varying degrees of success.

Ketamine Infusion Effectiveness

Because ketamine is administered through IV, it works effectively very quickly. At low dose, ketamine manipulates the brain chemical glutamate. This quick glutamate rebalancing provides a mood “refresh”. As an abundant excitatory neurotransmitter, glutamate is vital to the central nervous system and healthy brain function. Ketamine treatments balance the chemical.

The quick effectiveness can set it as quickly as within an hour of treatment, sometimes even sooner. Sometimes, for patients, this can be the difference between thriving and merely surviving. Depending on the patient, these results can last for weeks or months. To maintain the effectiveness, doctors recommend a series of treatments, but patients have also found relief after just one treatment.

For those struggling with severe mental health challenges, ketamine has been a window of hope. With an incredible track record of 50%-70% of patients reporting a significant improvement in their mental health after just one ketamine IV treatment, ketamine is becoming a more desirable way to treat depression quickly. Additionally, recent FDA approval for ketamine nasal sprays has increased patient’s use of ketamine to improve mental health.

Antidepressant Effectiveness

Unlike ketamine infusions, antidepressants take weeks of consistent use for results, and sometimes months of trial and error to determine correct dosage. Because antidepressants target dopamine and serotonin, it requires consistent use for the results to manifest. 

However, antidepressants can be lifechanging for those it works for. And for those it does not work for, ketamine infusions offer a solution.

Ketamine for Chronic Pain

Do Ketamine Infusion Replace Antidepressants?

Ultimately, ketamine infusions are a different form of antidepressant. It’s stronger, acts quicker, and is generally more effective. Ketamine infusions can be revolutionary for those whose depression is resistant to antidepressants.  

If you are currently taking antidepressants and want to try ketamine infusions, then talk to your doctor and to a specially trained doctor at our ketamine infusion therapy center to see what would be the best course of action for you. 

We want to help alleviate the difficulties of depression, severe anxiety, bipolar, PTSD, and more. Ketamine has been changing the lives of hundreds and thousands of individuals, and can offer hope to you. Schedule a free consultation with us today. We look forward to connecting with you!

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Phone consultations only take about 15 minutes with a doctor from Virginia Infusion Therapies. Learn more about how ketamine solves for 70% of depression patients and can solve for you.