MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — Ketamine isn’t new. It was developed over 50 years ago as anesthesia for surgery. But now, with FDA approval, there’s a state-of-the-art Ketamine therapy approved to treat depression, anxiety and certain pain disorders.
Susan Gillispie from Wholistic Health joined WKRG News 5 to talk about Ketamine IV therapy.
“A good candidate [for Ketamine treatment] is someone that has been dealing with depression, perhaps who has tried several medications, and not found really good relief,” Gillispie said.
Not everyone is eligible for the treatment. Gillispie said it’s best to come with a referral from a mental health provider, but Wholistic Health can provide a full evaluation to make sure a person is a suitable candidate.
How does ketamine treatment work?
Depression and other forms of stress damage communication between areas of the brain, including those areas responsible for memory, learning and higher-order thinking. Ketamine works to repair the communication between these areas by triggering the growth of new connections between neurons in the prefrontal cortex.
Improvements can be seen in as little as a few hours, and a series of low-dose Ketamine infusions can provide protection against relapse of depression, anxiety or suicidal thoughts.
What does Ketamine treatment look like?
Gillispie explained what patients can expect with Ketamine therapy. Most patients need between 5 and 6 IV treatments administered in the clinic with trained personnel, including a nurse practitioner. A maintenance program follows every 1 to 2 months, with a plan tailored to each patient.
What are the benefits of Ketamine treatment?
Gillispie, a nurse practitioner, said ketamine treatment is not a first-line or stand alone treatment, and it works best with ongoing medication treatment and therapy. Gillispie has seen the results first hand.
“I had a patient with such severe anxiety that she couldn’t even go to the grocery store,” Gillispie said. “She’s living a full life now.”