More than 20 veterans commit suicide every day. Organizations such as 22 Kill and Active Heroes have brought a lot of awareness to the mental healthcare needs of those who have served our nation, but the truth is, no matter how aware we are of suicidality in veterans, they are still choosing to take their own lives at a rate higher than any other population of people.
When it comes to depression, no one is exempt—especially those at the tops of their industries. In fact, as a result of the stress that goes hand-in-hand with their careers, plus the personal characteristics that have enabled them to become successful in the first place, C-level executives, business leaders and entrepreneurs are perhaps more susceptible to depression than other people.
In April 2018, we shared some promising information about a Yale School of Medicine study that found ketamine to be highly effective in reducing the symptoms of depression in a 16-year old patient suffering from suicidal ideations. After having declared himself “hopeless about the prospect of psychiatric improvement,” the patient was treated with ketamine infusions. His condition quickly improved to the point where he could be discharged from his inpatient psychiatric facility and resume his schooling. This study, however, was limited in scope, as it only presented the results from this one patient.
Opioid addiction has increased by over 500% in the last seven years—there is hardly an American who doesn’t know someone who is addicted, who has been directly affected by opiate addiction, or who is addicted himself. In response to this epidemic, the CDC has enacted changes to the way doctors may administer and prescribe opiates. This has left many chronic pain patients frustrated and in fear of losing access to the medications that keep them functional.
The mind-altering effects of psychedelic drugs may do more than just change a person’s state of consciousness. In a new study recently published in Cell Reports, researchers at the University of California, David found that substances such as LSD, DMT and MDMA actually increased the number of neural connections between brain cells. These findings could ultimately be used to repair the damaged neural connections oftentimes observed in those suffering from depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other psychiatric disorders.
In an exciting development, Regional Anesthesia and Pain Medicine published the first set of guidelines for the use of ketamine for treating pain—a framework for doctors and institutions, who should get it, and who should not. Ketamine infusions have emerged as a leading option for the treatment of both chronic and acute pain. Some chronic pain patients report a reduction in pain symptoms for up to six months post-infusion. The World Health Organization lists ketamine as an essential medicine, primarily for its analgesic qualities.
Suicidal depression is not a black and white issue. There is no one cause: untreated depression, substance abuse, stress, failure to reach unrealistic expectations at home or at work—all of these may play a factor in suicidal ideation. There is also no one solution: psychotherapy, antidepressant medications, electroconvulsive therapy—although these options have been at the forefront of suicidal depression treatment for decades. Until now.
For patients suffering from mood disorders—especially severe depression or bipolar disorder—ketamine infusions can be a life-changing treatment. Effective in up to 70% of patients, ketamine rapidly alleviates the symptoms associated with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, PTSD and other potentially debilitating psychiatric conditions. The patients who respond to ketamine treatments are often able to reclaim their lives—return to work, enjoy the hobbies they had previously lost interest in, travel with their families, and otherwise live a rich and fulfilling life.
50 percent of patients diagnosed with depression do not respond to traditional antidepressants or psychotherapy, and a new study—the largest study of its kind—says it may have to do with genetics. Researchers from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine and University of Queensland studied the potential genetic risk factors of depression, and have linked 44 genes to the mental health disorder. Depression is the leading cause of disability for Americans between the ages of 15 and 44, and results in one million suicides annually.
Without getting into a discussion about the American healthcare system, it’s no secret that mental health treatment could stand to see some improvement. The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 6.7% of Americans have suffered a major depressive episode. Still, depression is under-diagnosed and under-treated—especially in adolescents.
Because of the occasional stigma applied to ketamine treatments, we feel it is important to share as much information about ketamine infusions as possible. For our ketamine clinic, using social media to communicate useful information to the public has been quite effective. We keep our followers abreast of the latest ketamine research and news hoping that, by educating more people about the science behind ketamine infusions, more people will become open-minded to these potentially life-changing treatments.
It’s no secret that ketamine is a highly effective treatment for depression. Study after study has shown that intravenous ketamine is effective in improving depressive symptoms in about 70% of patients. And while IV ketamine infusions have emerged as the “gold standard” in administration, newer studies have explored other routes of administration: intramuscular, sublingual, and intranasal.
From CRPS to Lyme disease, migraine headaches, fibromyalgia, and more, ketamine infusions have proven to be one of the most effective chronic pain management options. For many of our patients who receive ketamine infusions for the treatment of CRPS and other chronic pain conditions, these infusions have been life-changing. After receiving ketamine infusions, many patients find their pain levels manageable enough that they can return to a more active and fulfilling lifestyle. And isn’t that the goal?
Our Denver, Boulder and Fort Collins area ketamine clinics have been treating patients for several years now, a time period over which we’ve been able to watch the progression of this drug as it evolves. We’ve always known, without a doubt, that ketamine is highly effective for the treatment of such psychiatric disorders as depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and PTSD. However, the exact mechanism that makes ketamine such an effective antidepressant has been something of a mystery to researchers and clinicians alike.
In the 1980s, a Russian research team unveiled data indicating that ketamine may be useful in the treatment of drug and alcohol dependency. In the study, 66% of patients receiving ketamine treatments maintained abstinence for an entire year, compared to 24% who received only psychological counseling.
In August 2016, Janssen Research & Development—a Janssen Pharmaceutical Company of Johnson & Johnson—announced that an isomer of ketamine, called esketamine, had received Breakthrough Therapy Designation by the Food & Drug Administration (FDA). Similarly to ketamine, esketamine has shown huge promise as a depression treatment, especially for those experiencing suicidal ideation, or who have resisted other treatment methodologies.
Ketamine has been around since the 60s. A popular battlefield anesthetic used liberally in the Vietnam war, ketamine has experienced something of a renaissance in recent years, emerging as a powerful treatment for depression, anxiety, psychiatric disorders, and various chronic pain conditions. It's renaissance in the realm of pain management is controversial, though—according to the National Pain Report and clinicians around the country—it should not be overlooked.
Researchers first discovered the antidepressant effects of ketamine back in 2000, and have since come to recognize the drug’s ability to improve depressive symptoms—even in patients who had not responded to other methods of treatment—in a matter of hours. Private ketamine clinics, like ours, began to open their doors around 2013, bringing hope to many people who had none.
Ketamine has the potential to treat even the most severe cases of depression within a matter of hours. It has changed the lives of thousands of Americans. It has brought hope to those who have had none. And yet researchers still don’t know exactly how this drug works, the antidepressive mechanism still largely a mystery.
The holiday season is here, bringing along with it dozens of parties, days upon days of shopping, countless hours of gift wrapping, decorating, cooking, baking, entertaining…and, for millions of Americans, stress and depression. From dealing with unwelcome guests and overexcited children, to diet and exercise woes, the demands of the holiday season can be dizzying, to say the least.