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How Ketamine Infusion Therapy Works to Help Chronic Pain and Depression

How Ketamine Infusion Therapy Works to Help Chronic Pain and Depress

Chronic pain and depression can both zap your quality of life and for many people, the two conditions occur simultaneously. To compound matters, both conditions can be hard to manage on your own.

That’s where ketamine infusion therapy comes into the picture. Dr. Hadi Estakhri and our team at Allied Psychiatry & Mental Health offer intravenous ketamine therapy here in Newport Beach, California. If you’re struggling with chronic pain and/or depression, don’t hesitate to reach out for help.

In the meantime, here’s a closer look at how ketamine infusion therapy works.

Learn more about ketamine

Ketamine is a medication known for its anesthetic properties. It was first used in Belgium during the 1960s as an anesthetic for animals and later in the 1970s for soldiers during the Vietnam War. It’s increasingly recognized for its use in treating conditions such as chronic pain and treatment-resistant depression.

Ketamine infusion therapy involves administering a controlled dose of ketamine through an intravenous (IV) line. This treatment doesn’t have to go through your digestive system (like many oral medications for pain and depression), so the ketamine can quickly enter your bloodstream and interact with your brain. 

How ketamine infusion therapy works

Ketamine therapy can help you tackle chronic pain and depression in several ways. Ketamine is an NMDA receptor antagonist. This means that ketamine acts like a stop sign for a certain part of your brain called NMDA receptors. That’s the key to ketamine’s success.

For chronic pain

When ketamine engages with your NMDA receptors, which are involved in pain signaling, ketamine reduces the messages that tell your brain you're in pain.

Ketamine also has anti-inflammatory properties, meaning it can help reduce swelling and inflammation that contribute to pain.

For depression

Ketamine infusion therapy helps improve symptoms of depression even when traditional depression medications aren’t enough. That’s because ketamine interacts with a different part of your brain than traditional depression medication. 

When ketamine engages with your NMDA receptors, it ramps up the release of something called glutamate. Glutamate helps build brand-new connections between brain cells, especially in areas that control your mood.

Ketamine infusion therapy can help:

If you are currently in crisis, call the suicide lifeline at 9-8-8.

Bottom line: Ketamine infusion therapy works for pain and depression by targeting those receptor sites.

How to get started with ketamine for chronic pain and depression

Dr. Estakhri offers IV ketamine infusions here at Allied Psychiatry & Mental Health. Your first step is a consultation where Dr. Estakhri reviews your symptoms, takes your health history, and confirms that ketamine infusion therapy is right for you. 

Even if infusion therapy isn’t right for you, you’re not out of options. Our team also offers ketamine via a nasal spray called Spravato™.

If infusion therapy is right for you, the process is similar to receiving an IV for fluids either at a hospital or a med spa. 

Once you’re comfortable in your private room, our team cleanses your IV site and then inserts the catheter into your vein. The ketamine flows directly into your bloodstream. The whole process (including waiting for initial side effects to wear off) takes about two hours. 

It’s normal to experience mild hallucinations, feel groggy, or experience tingling. These are temporary, but it’s important for a friend or family member to drive you home. In the morning, you’ll wake up feeling refreshed. 

To learn more about ketamine infusion therapy for chronic pain or treatment-resistant depression, schedule a consultation at Allied Psychiatry & Mental Health today by calling us at 949-945-0927. You can also book an appointment online anytime.

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