Millions of people suffer from mental health issues and chronic pain, often finding little relief from traditional treatments. One drug that has gained attention recently is ketamine, which has been found to provide significant benefits in the treatment of depression, anxiety, PTSD, bipolar disorder, and other conditions, as well as chronic pain. Ketamine infusions have become a popular way to deliver the drug, as they can provide longer-lasting benefits with fewer side effects.
Ketamine is a medication that works on the nervous system to help alleviate symptoms of mental health conditions and chronic pain. A pain management specialist or psychiatrist can prescribe ketamine infusions, which involve a slow and controlled drug delivery into the bloodstream.
Read more: What Is Pain Management?
Here, we will look at how ketamine infusions work and what to expect when undergoing this treatment. We will also explore the benefits of ketamine infusions and how long they typically last.
What Is Ketamine?
Ketamine is an anesthetic medication used for many years in various medical procedures. It can be given as a nasal spray, injected into muscle, or intravenous (IV) infusion. As a way of treatment for mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety, ketamine infusions are becoming increasingly popular due to their effectiveness. Ketamine has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for anesthetic purposes. Its use in psychotherapy is an off-label form of treatment.
How Do Ketamine Infusions Work?
Ketamine infusions usually involve administering the drug intravenously over some time. During this process, the patient will be monitored for adverse reactions or side effects.
Our brain is capable of incredible feats, from complex decision-making to cellular maintenance. It all starts with neurons – the nerve cells that pass chemical and electrical messages around our system via neurotransmitters like glutamate. Glutamate acts as “neural fertilizer” by helping produce new neural connections between neurons it interacts with through NMDA receptor sites, which can also aid in neuroplasticity or how quickly your brain can adapt! Usually, when it comes to depression and anxiety, glutamate is over-stimulated, leading to too many NMDA receptors being activated.
Ketamine works by blocking these NMDA receptor sites temporarily – while this might sound scary, it has several beneficial effects on the brain. For example, ketamine can help reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, and PTSD by allowing the brain to reset and rewire itself in a more positive, healthier way. It can also reduce physical pain and help create new neural connections that might not have existed before.
How Long Do Ketamine Infusions Last?
Some factors that affect the duration of a ketamine infusion are:
- The amount and frequency of ketamine dosage administered
- How much the individual can tolerate (as some people may find they are more sensitive than others)
- The overall goals of the treatment.
Ketamine infusions can last anywhere from 30 minutes to several hours, depending on the type and length of therapy used. The average ketamine treatment protocol involves six infusions lasting approximately 45 minutes to 1 hour. In some cases, however, the duration of a single infusion may be extended if necessary to achieve the desired therapeutic effect.
For expert pain management in Chicago, contact Pain & Spine Institute. We specialize in the use of ketamine infusions to help manage pain.