Ketamine therapy has shown promise in the treatment of both depression and anxiety, and its effectiveness can vary from person to person. Ketamine therapy is generally considered more established and effective for depression, especially treatment-resistant depression, than for acute anxiety disorders. However, there’s a bit more to consider when evaluating different treatment options for overlapping mood disorders.
Ketamine Therapy for Depression
Ketamine has received significant attention and research for its potential as a rapid-acting antidepressant. It’s often considered when other treatments for depression have not been effective. Some key points to note regarding ketamine therapy for depression:
- Rapid Relief: Ketamine has been shown to provide relief from depressive symptoms, sometimes within hours. This rapid onset of action can be beneficial for individuals experiencing severe, treatment-resistant depression.
- Not an Antidepressant: Ketamine therapy is often considered when individuals have not responded to other standard treatments, such as antidepressant medications and psychotherapy.
- Shorter-term Option: Many patients who are experiencing symptoms of treatment resistant depression are looking to reduce or eliminate the use of long-term medications like SSRI’s. Ketamine therapy, when combined with lifestyle changes and other integrative healing methods can make for an appealing shorter-term option. Ketamine treatment is usually administered in a series of treatments over the span of a few months. Dosage and treatment duration will be determined on a patient-by-patient basis.
Ketamine Therapy for Anxiety
Ketamine therapy for anxiety is less well-established and not as widely studied as its use for depression. Some points to consider regarding ketamine therapy for anxiety include:
Considerations for Different Types of Anxiety: While some studies have suggested that ketamine may have potential as an anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing) agent, the results have been mixed. The effectiveness of ketamine for different anxiety disorders can vary. For example, it has been found to help reduce symptoms of social anxiety and symptoms of obsessive compulsive disorder. The effectiveness of ketamine for specific anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), social anxiety disorder, or panic disorder, may differ. Research and clinical guidelines for these specific conditions are still evolving.
Ketamine has brought hope to a psychiatric field desperate to find new treatments for severe OCD, a chronic condition marked by debilitating obsessions and repetitive behaviors. – Sanford Medicine Magazine (2017)
Overlapping Mood Disorders
Often, patients who are experiencing Treatment Resistant Depression are also experiencing symptoms of anxiety and trauma. In these instances, patients may find IV Ketamine infusions to be an effective treatment option. One study, conducted among a large community sample of patients with symptoms of TRD, Suicidal Ideation and Generalized Anxiety Disorder found ketamine was able to sooth symptoms of all three indications.
Mood Disorders including depression and anxiety are complex and the symptomatology surrounding each condition is nuanced. It’s important to receive an accurate diagnosis of which indications are present in order to design a treatment plan that will provide relief with as few side effects as possible.