Anxiety Chronic Pain Depression Ketamine PTSD

How Does Ketamine Infusion Therapy Work?

People who suffer from mood disorders such as depression, anxiety, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), along with nerve-based chronic pain conditions, know all-too-well that physical and psychological discomfort is oftentimes hard to manage. Traditional treatment options sometimes work poorly, if at all, and many people are turning to a new kind of treatment – ketamine infusions

WHAT IS KETAMINE?

Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic that has some hallucinogenic effects. It distorts perceptions of sight and sound and makes the user feel disconnected and not in control. It is an injectable, short-acting anesthetic for use in humans and animals. It is referred to as a ‘dissociative anesthetic’ because it makes patients feel detached from their pain and environment.” Created as an anesthetic in the 1960s, ketamine became famous for successfully treating wounded U.S. soldiers in Vietnam.

HOW DOES KETAMINE WORK FOR DEPRESSION?

For people experiencing symptoms of mental illness, chronic pain, or other disorders, research has shown that a neurotransmitter in the brain called glutamate may be weakened, damaged, or not working correctly leading to depression, for instance. Neurotransmitters are responsible for sending signals between cells, influencing how pain is perceived physically and mentally. Low doses of ketamine have been shown to repair or strengthen damaged neurotransmitters, making it easier for a person to handle depression symptoms. 

HOW DOES KETAMINE INFUSION THERAPY WORK?

Ketamine has been proven effective in treating symptoms of mental illness and shows promise in reducing discomfort from arthritis and nerve-based chronic pain conditions. Since the early 1960s when it was created for pre-surgical anesthesia, ketamine has largely been administered intravenously. Today, ketamine infusion therapy works the same way – dispensed through a tube intravenously, but in lower doses than what is typically needed to sedate a person for surgery.

How does ketamine work? 

Ketamine can sometimes go to work right away to provide relief. Feeling better quickly, and improving moods is its key benefit. When administered in a controlled setting, it kicks off a series of events in your brain that rejuvenates damaged neurons.

Will I need regular ketamine therapy? 

Ketamine has a high success rate in treating symptoms of mood disorders and various pain conditions, but because it is not a cure for the conditions it treats, this is considered an ongoing treatment process where periodic infusions are still required after the initial series of infusions are completed.

Are there potential side effects? 

As with any medication, there’s a risk of negative side effects when ketamine is administered intravenously. It can result in side effects including increased blood pressure and heart rate, anxiety, dizziness, double vision, seizures, vomiting, slowed breathing, and others. These side effects are very rare with low-dose ketamine infusions and any increases in blood pressure and heart rate typically return to baseline ranges within 20 minutes of the infusion being completed.

ALTERNATIVE TREATMENT OPTIONS

Many people who suffer from mental illnesses like depression, seasonal anxiety disorder, postpartum depression, chronic pain, or sleep conditions like neck pain or insomnia, may benefit from non-traditional therapy to lessen their symptoms. There’s no magic answer when it comes to reducing pain, and the first step along the path of managing discomfort is getting diagnosed by a healthcare provider. 

Once diagnosed, your provider may recommend one or a combination of therapeutic treatments including:

  • Ketamine therapy.
  • Eliminating or reducing caffeine from your diet, particularly in the form of caffeinated soda or coffee beverages.
  • Eating healthier meals, including food rich in whole grains, vegetables, fruits, beans, fish, and lean meats. Foods containing omega-3 fatty acids, folate, and vitamin B12 should also be part of your meal plan.
  • Light exercise including regular walks.
  • Meditation, yoga, or tai chi.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Many kinds of physical and psychological pain can be managed with psychotherapy, medicine, or holistic therapy. In some cases, physical therapy or surgery may be required. But if you’ve experienced pain that resists such treatment, ask your healthcare provider about the benefits of ketamine infusion therapy. Ketamine was once used solely as an anesthetic, but it has proven effective in treating the symptoms of mental illness and other pain conditions. 

Contact us today to learn more about these innovative new treatment options.

PTSD

How Do You Treat Complex PTSD?

Dr. Judith Herman, MD, introduced complex PTSD to the psychiatric lexicon in 1992 because the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder didn’t adequately encompass “trauma-related psychopathologies.” She believed there was more to the condition than had been explored, and that unique treatment options were waiting to be discovered. She was right.

WHAT IS PTSD?

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric illness that may happen when someone experiences or witnesses a traumatic event like a natural disaster, serious accident, personal attack, war or combat, or something else where death or serious injury may occur.

PTSD has been called many names in the past (“shell shock” during World War I and “combat fatigue” following World War II), but PTSD doesn’t just affect combat veterans. PTSD can happen in all people.

HOW IS COMPLEX PTSD DIFFERENT?

Complex PTSD is driven by prolonged or chronic trauma. People experiencing complex PTSD normally have some PTSD symptoms, but could suffer other symptoms, too. The biggest differentiator is that it’s caused by repeated trauma over months or years, rather than a single event.

Most people suffer at least one harrowing event in their lives, with about 25 percent later developing PTSD. It’s unknown how many people have complex PTSD, but help is on the way.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

Newer symptoms that are considered unique to complex PTSD make it challenging to diagnose and treat. What to look for:

  • The presence of uncontrollable feelings, like fiery anger or continuing sadness.
  • Not remembering the trauma or feeling separated from your body or emotions, also called dissociation.
  • Negative self-perception.
  • Trouble with relationships. You could find yourself avoiding interactions with other people out of a sense of not understanding how to cooperate with or mistrust of others. Conversely, some people might pursue relationships with someone who harms them due to feelings of familiarity. 
  • If you’ve been abused, you may become preoccupied with your relationship, such as obsession with revenge or granting control over your life to that person.
  • Loss of your religion or beliefs about the world.

WHAT CAUSES PTSD?

You can develop PTSD when you live through, see, or learn of a trauma involving threatened or actual death, serious injury or a physical attack. No one knows for sure why someone develops PTSD, but as with other mental disorders, PTSD is probably caused by a mixture of experiences, including the severity and amount of mental pain you’ve experienced in your life. Other factors:

  • Genetic mental health risks, like family history of depression and anxiety 
  • Inherited characteristics of your personality — referred to as your temperament
  • The regulation of chemicals in the brain and hormones your body releases in reaction to anxiety

DOES PTSD CAUSE OTHER HEALTH PROBLEMS?

Post-traumatic stress disorder can disturb your whole life ― your career, your relations, your enjoyment of everyday endeavors, and your health.

Experiencing PTSD can also increase your risk of other mental health problems, such as:

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Struggles with alcohol use or drugs 
  • Eating problems
  • Suicidal thoughts and behaviors

HOW DO YOU TREAT COMPLEX PTSD?

To be diagnosed with complex PTSD, you can expect to undergo a physical examination and a mental health evaluation. Your symptoms will then be compared to criteria in the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, published by the American Psychiatric Association. There also are important criteria in the International Classification of Diseases which your healthcare provider also may consult with.

Once a diagnosis has been reached, your healthcare provider will begin talking about how to treat symptoms of complex PTSD. There are time-honored forms of therapy you may be presented with, as well as a new option called ketamine treatment. Here’s a review of treatment options:

Ketamine therapy. Ketamine originated as an anestheic in the late 1960s but has since proven effective in reducing symptoms of complex PTSD, anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, and many other mental and chronic health problems.

Psychotherapy, also referred to as talk therapy. This is normally the first treatment option you’ll be presented with, and may involve in-patient or out-patient sessions, one-on-one or group therapy, self-help, cognitive therapy, and other kinds of treatment.

Prescription medicine. Your doctor or mental healthcare provider may also recommend medicine such as antidepressants or anti-anxiety medication.

Holistic approaches. Your doctor or mental healthcare provider may recommend anything mentioned above in combination with living a healthier lifestyle (including eating healthy, exercising, getting enough rest, and avoiding tobacco and alcohol).

Complex PTSD is a serious mental health condition whose symptoms shouldn’t be ignored. If you think you’re experiencing it, contact us today to see how we can help you find relief.

Depression Uncategorized

Mental Health Experts on Depression

Depression is a widespread and significant medical illness that negatively influences how you feel and how you act. Depression may cause feelings of sadness and/or a loss of interest in activities you once enjoyed. While no cure exists for depression, there are several different treatment options available with ketamine infusions being a newer option which has a 70% success rate nationally.

RISING DEMAND FOR HEALTHCARE

A poll of almost 1,800 psychologists published in November 2020 indicated they were seeing a flood of patients experiencing anxiety disorders compared to pre-pandemic levels, and 60 percent were found to be treating more patients with depressive disorders. Of those psychologists, about 30 percent said they were treating more patients overall. The increased workload is becoming daunting. Two mental health professionals chimed in on their pandemic-era capacity.

Brooke Huminski, a psychotherapist and licensed independent clinical social worker in Providence, RI, who specializes in treating people with eating disorders said, “Never at any time in my practice have I had a five-person waiting list.”

Austin, Texas-based Dr. Gregory Scott Brown, the director of an outpatient psychiatry clinic, said the influx of patients seeking care has forced him to hire an additional nurse practitioner to help treat more patients. “I’m busier than ever and just don’t have room,” he said. “I’m full.”

IT’S OK TO FEEL BAD IN ROUGH TIMES

People who experience symptoms of depression and other mental health illnesses often struggle with feeling that if they’re not happy all the time, then something’s seriously wrong with them. But according to Dr. Jennifer M. Gómez, Assistant Professor, the Department of Psychology and Merrill Palmer Skillman Institute for Child & Family Development, Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, good mental health doesn’t mean you’re happy 24/7. Many everyday emotions are “integral parts to being alive,” she said. In fact, Dr. Gomez said that reacting happily following bad news, especially during a global pandemic, “would be abnormal.” She said, “If you’re struggling, there’s nothing inherently wrong with you.”

Dr. Riana Elyse Anderson, Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan, agreed and stressed, “When people say, ‘it’s okay not to be okay’, I want you to really hear that.” She further noted there is no playbook for navigating such unprecedented stress levels and the human body wasn’t built for it.  

A common form of treatment for people who suffer from depression is psychotherapy, traditional medications, and now newer treatment options like ketamine. Mental healthcare professionals stress that it’s important to find a treatment you’re comfortable with and stick with it as prescribed.

DEPRESSION MEANS PRIORITIZATION

During high-stress moments in life, whether it’s the effect of a global pandemic or something else, mental healthcare professionals say it’s important to stay centered, and prioritize little things to help remain grounded. Joey Lusvardi, a psychiatric physician assistant, and Dr. Samantha Meltzer-Brody, Assad Meymandi Distinguished Professor and Chair, Department of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, reiterated that mental health is the foundation we build our lives upon, and we can’t ignore the little things – cleaning the house, maintaining personal hygiene, and reaching out to friends and loved ones with Zoom calls and other mediums.

TYPES OF MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS

Many kinds of mental health care professionals can help diagnose and treat depression and other conditions. They often work in in-patient facilities like general hospitals and psychiatric facilities, and out-patient facilities, such as community mental health clinics, private practices, and schools. 

The following professionals handle assessment and therapy:

  • Psychologists, who typically hold a doctoral degree in clinical psychology or another specialty such as counseling or education. They specialize in evaluating someone’s mental health through clinical interviews, psychological assessments, and testing.
  • Counselors, clinicians, therapists, and other masters-level health care professionals are trained to gauge a person’s mental wellness and employ therapeutic techniques based on certain training programs.
  • Clinical social workers are trained to diagnose your mental health through therapeutic techniques built on certain training systems. They also have experience in advocacy services and case management.

Some healthcare professionals can issue prescriptions to treat depression symptoms, but it varies based on state laws. One innovative new treatment is ketamine infusion therapy. They include:

  • Psychiatrists are licensed medical doctors with specific psychiatric training. They can identify mental health conditions, prescribe, and monitor treatment and provide therapy.
  • Psychiatric or mental health nurse practitioners who provide assessment, diagnosis, and therapy for mental illness or substance use disorders.
  • Primary care physicians and pediatricians, though you may be better served by seeing someone who specializes in mental healthcare.
  • Family nurse practitioners can offer general medical services which are like those of a primary care physician, depending on each state’s laws.
  • Psychiatric pharmacists are advanced-practice pharmacists specializing in mental health care.

Exodus Health offers innovative new treatment alternatives that have been shown to rapidly improve the symptoms of depression in hours versus the weeks that antidepressants can take. If you or a loved one are struggling, we can help. Contact us today to learn more about the clinical use of ketamine to help treat the symptoms of depression.

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