My Depression Is Ruling My Life: Can You Help?

Feb 06, 2023
My Depression Is Ruling My Life: Can You Help?
While antidepressant medication works well for many people suffering from depression, it’s not effective for everyone. For people with treatment-resistant depression, ketamine therapy can help. Here’s how it works.

About 21 million adults in the United States suffer from major depression symptoms every year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. For some, the symptoms resolve after a few weeks or months. But for many, depression persists for years — even a lifetime.

Fortunately, many people find relief with antidepressant medications that target special chemicals called neurotransmitters — specifically, dopamine and serotonin. What’s unfortunate is that for people with treatment-resistant depression, these therapies don’t work.

At Revival Infusion Madison, Sarah Wilczewski, CRNA, APNP, offers an innovative alternative solution for people in Fitchburg, Wisconsin, who suffer from treatment-resistant depression: ketamine therapy. Here’s how this ground-breaking treatment could help you finally relieve the symptoms of depression and take control of your life.

How ketamine works

Historically used as an anesthetic during surgery, ketamine has been around for a long time. But only recently has the drug been evaluated for its benefits in people with depression and anxiety disorders.

Depression “happens” in different ways, involving distinct pathways that respond in various ways to therapy. While antidepressants work primarily by balancing the mood-affecting brain chemicals serotonin and dopamine, ketamine focuses on another neurotransmitter called glutamate.

Like serotonin and dopamine, glutamate works on nerve signaling and transmission in the brain. In fact, glutamate has been strongly linked with nerve pathways that play key roles in mood regulation and depression.

While researchers are still studying how ketamine works so well to ease symptoms in people with treatment-resistant depression, they believe it uses two key mechanisms to modulate mood. Initially, ketamine improves communication between nerves in the brain, optimizing the pathways and signaling that controls mood and affects feelings of depression and anxiety. 

But other research shows ketamine goes farther than that, actually helping to repair damaged nerve pathways degraded by years of chronic depression, while simultaneously promoting growth of new nerve cells. Recent studies show depression symptoms improve when fresh nerves form and develop new, improved connections.

What happens during treatment

Ketamine infusions use intravenous administration to get ketamine directly into your bloodstream, so it reaches target cells without being adulterated. Infusions take about 45-60 minutes, and we perform them right here in our office.

During your infusion, you’ll relax in a dimly lit, quiet area. The IV is placed in your arm, and you’ll be monitored throughout your treatment. Some people report mild feelings of dissociation during therapy, sensations that wear off quickly afterward.

Ketamine’s effects are fairly rapid, occurring within a matter of hours for many people. To maintain those effects, you’ll need a series of treatment initially, followed by maintenance infusions for sustained benefits. Your therapy schedule is tailored to your individual needs.

Is ketamine right for you?

Ketamine isn’t prescribed as a first-line treatment for depression. Instead, the therapy is reserved for people with depression that doesn’t respond to traditional antidepressant medications. Prior to receiving treatment, you’ll have a medical evaluation along with a review of your past depression treatments and your personal and family medical histories to ensure ketamine is a good choice for you.

To find out more about ketamine therapy for treatment-resistant depression and how it can help you relieve your persistent depression symptoms, call 608-405-6824 or book an appointment online with the team at Revival Infusion Madison today.