Therapy, lifestyle changes, and medication are three tried-and-true depression treatments. Many people find that a combination of these treatments is enough to ease their symptoms. However, for some people, that’s not the case. As many as 15% of people don’t respond to antidepressants, and 40% only receive partial relief.
If your depression isn’t alleviated with medication, it’s called treatment-resistant depression. The good news is, Dr. Hadi Estakhri at Allied Psychiatry and Mental Health offers hope for those with this type of condition. Ketamine therapy and Spravato nasal spray are both available at our Newport Beach, California clinic.
In this article, we’ll explore what ketamine treatment is and how it can help treat depression, even if medications aren’t working.
How do you know if you have treatment-resistant depression?
Once you start an antidepressant regimen, you won’t see a transformation overnight. That’s because it takes a few weeks to determine the right dose, the right medication, and for your body to start to adapt. A selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), for example, can take anywhere from four to six weeks to work.
If you still don’t feel any better after this time, you might have treatment-resistant depression. Dr. Estakhri can help determine if this is the case for you.
To help diagnose treatment-resistant depression, Dr. Estakhri will consider several factors, including:
- What dosage were you taking?
- Did you take the medication as directed? (i.e. not skipping any days)
- How long were you on your current medication?
- Are there any other conditions that are exacerbating your symptoms?
Once your diagnosis is confirmed, Dr. Eskakhri can help you explore your options.
Combating treatment-resistant depression
Although ketamine was first used as an anesthetic, it's proving to be an effective treatment for depression too. According to a clinical trial published in Biological Psychiatry, ketamine therapy provided relief in patients (who were already diagnosed with depression) in as little as 72 hours. For individuals who have suffered for weeks without improvement, 72 hours is indeed a beacon of hope.
Unlike other antidepressants, ketamine therapy isn’t an oral medication. You receive via an intravenous (IV) catheter. At Allied Psychiatry and Mental Health, your ketamine therapy is also combined with Spravato nasal spray. Spravato contains esketamine, which is similar to ketamine; the spray was FDA-approved in 2019.
How do ketamine and esketamine work?
Both ketamine and esketamine reduce the symptoms of depression by stimulating different parts of the brain.
Ketamine doesn’t stimulate the same area of the brain that SSRIs target. Instead, experts believe that ketamine encourages the regrowth of the connection between neurons. In this way, ketamine helps to rewire the brain.
Esketamine works to restore synaptic connections in your brain cells. Other antidepressants don’t work in this same manner. According to this press release, Spravato can start to work in just a few hours.
What happens during your treatment?
You’ll receive your IV infusion while relaxing comfortably in our office. You’ll likely experience a few, temporary side effects, so you’ll need a friend or family member to drive you home.
At Allied Psychiatry and Mental Health, it’s our goal to support your mental health. If you haven’t had luck with your other depression treatments, let’s talk. To learn more about ketamine therapy and Spravato, give us a call at 949-258-7135. You can also visit our website to schedule an appointment.