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Am I a Good Candidate for Ketamine Therapy?

May 04, 2023
Am I a Good Candidate for Ketamine Therapy?
Ketamine is a narcotic with numerous uses, including helping people cope with depression and anxiety. But, this isn’t something everyone should use, so how do you know if you’re a good candidate for this medication?

 Medications can be used for a variety of different ways they can treat illnesses, but controlled dangerous substances (CDSs) are a class of medication that can also be abused, and carry labels under legal control. Several narcotics, synthetic steroids, stimulants, and depressants are classified by their accepted medical use and their potential for abuse and addiction, which also generally means they are only used for specific treatments.

Ketamine is what is known as a Schedule III CDS, which is approved by the FDA as an anesthetic, but is also used for a variety of other treatments off-label (non-FDA approved, but possessing some medicinal value). One area ketamine is being used for is treatment of conditions like depression and anxiety, but not everyone struggling with those problems is a good fit for this method of care. To find out if ketamine is a treatment for you, let’s explore what it is, how it works, and what factors best determine if it is an option for your needs.

If you live in the Woodlands or the Kingwood, Texas, area and you’re looking for treatment for depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses, Dr. Athi Venkatesh and his team at Kingwood Psychiatry can help with ketamine therapy and a wide variety of other methods.

What is ketamine?

Also known by the brand name Ketatar®, ketamine is a Schedule III narcotic that is illegally used for its dissociative and hallucinogenic properties, but often legally used as a sedative before and during surgery, sometimes mixed with other anesthetics, like nitrous oxide. In low doses, it is also used to manage severe pain both by itself or with other pain medications, and can treat a form of seizure called status epilepticus.

Research shows that ketamine therapy can be effective in treating social anxiety and depressive disorders, and has become more commonly used under controlled conditions. It is an option for people who don’t respond well to other forms of treatment.

How does the therapy work?

Glutamate is a chemical in your brain that plays a role in regulating mood, and ketamine binds receptions in your brain to help produce it. It also stimulates the production of neurotrophic factors derived from the brain, which play a role in your ability to adapt while experiencing new things. Both of these changes ketamine creates can reduce negative thought patterns, and unlike some antidepressants it can work very quickly. Ketamine can be applied using nasal sprays, lozenges, and through injections, with intravenous (IV) therapy being the most common.

Who is a good candidate for this treatment?

This method is well tolerated for people dealing with different forms of anxiety, depression, and treatment resistant depression (TRD), but isn’t without side effects. These include nausea, vomiting, dizziness, the sense of floating or feeling detached from your body, visual problems, and confusion. Fortunately, these are short term, and don’t tend to repeat over the course of a treatment.

It is not recommended for people with hypertension, as it can raise blood pressure, or if you have a history of heart disease, increased intracranial pressure, or substance abuse. Because of its hallucinogenic and dissociative properties, if you or your family has a history of psychosis, you should also avoid using this treatment.

If you’re struggling with anxiety or depression and other medications or treatments have proven unsuccessful, you should consult with your doctor about ketamine therapy. If you’re ready to see if it can work for you, make an appointment with Dr. Venkatesh and Kingwood Psychiatry today to get started.