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Ketamine Infusions for Anhedonia and Bipolar Depression | How Ketamine Therapy can Help Improve Loss of Interest and Improve Motivation | Northern Virginia Ketamine Infusion Center

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What is Anhedonia?  It is defined as the diminished pleasure from, or interest in previously rewarding activity and this is considered to be part of a depressive episode However, depression may be relieved with medical treatments, yet the anhedonia can remain with associated reward blunting.  

Depression is a major cause of disability in the world and its symptoms include loss of interest, depressed mood, and loss of pleasure in daily activities with frequent associated loss of sleep, appetite changes, intrusive thoughts, suicidal thoughts, and issues with focus and concentration (brain fog). 

Anhedonia is a component of depression and other mental health disorders that is not tracked as closely. The loss of excitement in anticipating activities that were once pleasurable defines anhedonia. The treatment of depression with traditional medications may relieve depression without restoring the circuits involved with the enjoyment of anticipation – the “wanting’ of something. This leaves an anhedonic person without hope or passions for the future. They may enjoy consuming things placed before them, but effectively they are unable to achieve the motivation to reach out for their old hobbies and passions. They aren’t interested in learning about new rewarding experiences.  

The fulfilment of life experiences hinges on the anticipation and excitement of future adventures. Anhedonia robs people of this treat and can be as life-threatening as the depression itself through an increase suicidality or overall medical illnesses such as heart disease due to the stress and anxiety that remains. 

Either way, anhedonia may indicate a poorer prognosis in depressed people as they are unable to achieve the motivation and cognition to return to work, accrue more medical problems, have an increased risk of substance abuse, and an increased risk of suicidality. The loss of emotions, sexual interests, and physical blunting (decreased activity) frequently accompanies depressed patients who are treated with traditional antidepressants.  

Ketamine has been shown to be one of the only effective therapies for anhedonia. 

Anhedonia as a Clinical Correlate of Suicidal Thoughts in Clinical Ketamine Trials 

Can Anhedonia Be Considered a Suicide Risk Factor? A Review of the Literature 

Relationships between anhedonia, suicidal ideation and suicide attempts in a large sample of physicians 

The Neurobiology of Anhedonia and Other Reward-Related Deficits 

Anhedonia is commonly present in bipolar disorder, anxiety, Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), and other psychiatric illnesses. Some studies have demonstrated that ketamine can reduce anhedonia symptoms as measured by the Snaith-Hamilton Pleasure Scale (SHAPS). Anhedonia responds to treatment differently than does depression . In fact, regular antidepressant treatment may lead to sexual anhedonia and anorgasmia, and emotionablunting. Anti-anhedonic effects of ketamine were found to be related to increased glucose metabolism in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex and putamen.   

Standard treatments for depression do little to alleviate anhedonia. These standard treatments also cause other issues: 

Anhedonia can be seen as having a consummatory component, such as the enjoyment of a good meal, and a motivational component, such as the anticipation and drive towards rewarding stimuli, such as looking towards a good movie. These have a biological basis. Most patients with MDD and Bipolar depression have normal consummatory behaviors but low motivation to obtain the consumable items they might enjoy. 

Although someone who is depressed may find sugar to be enjoyable or cartoons to be funny as do non-depressed people, they will not have the actual motivation to seek out such enjoyments. Thus again, the consumption of rewards is still present in MDD patients, but the positive anticipatory stimulus and motivation to obtain these rewards is diminished. Anhedonia in depression is primarily associated with a deficit in non-consummatory reward behaviors

Anticipation, motivation, and learning is a result of dopaminergic signaling as related to pleasurable stimuli; However, dopamine signaling is not related to the consumption of pleasurable items. When there is an unexpected result, the Ventral tegmental area (VTA) fires off signals as there is ‘new learning’ to be had regarding the event. A violation of an expected reward involves dopamine signaling and reward learning. The VTA connects to the Nucleus accumbens where reward motivation is processed. 

Other areas involved with reward processing and receive or send out dopaminergic neurons include: 

These areas are recruited during reward processing. 

We are aware of motivational disorders in MDD yet there is not much direct evidence of dopamine signaling errors in MDD. However, medications that involve dopaminergic stimulation, such as Pramipexole, a D2 agonist, has been found to help MDD and Bipolar Depression (BD). 

Ketamine acts on the glutamate system, which is impacted in depression. Blocking glutamate uptake into astrocytes in animal models resulted in anhedonia, and ketamine, an NMDA-receptor antagonist, reversed anhedonia-type behaviors in lab animals placed under stressful conditions.  

Ketamine improved dopaminergic and glutamate signaling pathways  to the prefrontal cortex and decreased anhedonia symptoms. Ketamine reverses anticipatory anhedonia through these pathways. 

18FDG-PET measures glucose metabolism.  Glial uptake of glucose in response to glutamate release from neurons principally reflects glutamatergic neurotransmitter release and cycling which determines much of glucose metabolism in the brain. Glucose in the brain is transformed into glutamate and this is the basis for using PET scanning to determine regional brain metabolism and glutamate metabolism. 

One study used a randomized, placebo-controlled, double-blind crossover design to examine whether a single ketamine infusion could reduce anhedonia levels in 36 patients with treatment-resistant bipolar depression and also evaluated PET scans of the brain to determine the neurobiological basis of anhedonia. The study demonstrated that the reduction of anhedonia was independent from the reduction of depression, and the reduction of anhedonia was related to increased glucose metabolism in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex and putamen.   

The study evaluating the efficacy of ketamine for anhedonia involved 36 patients with BD who were given one dose of ketamine and a follow-up PET scan to determine glucose metabolism in the brain.  

  • Ketamine rapidly reduced anhedonia with results lasting 14 days in many. 
  • Anhedonia reduction was independent of depressive symptom reduction. 
  • PET scanning revealed that the dorsal anterior cingulate nucleus (DACC) had a resulting increase in metabolism. 
  • There are no other treatments available for anhedonia despite its presence in many mental health disorders. 
  • Improvement in depression was associated with increased ventral striatum glucose metabolism following ketamine infusions yet this area is not involved in anhedonia relief. 
  • Areas of the nucleus accumbens (NAC) that have opioid receptors are involved with the ‘liking’ of hedonistic activities or consummatory pleasures. 
  • Motivational behavior centers in the brain achieve their innervation from multiple receptors in the NAC. 
  •  Patients showing the greatest antidepressant response to ketamine, as measured by the MADRS ( a depression scoring system) , may be experiencing high levels of pleasure. The anhedonia scale (SHAPS) might not be sensitive enough to distinguish the pleasure of being less depressed from low motivation that anhedonia produces. 
  • This study found that increased glucose metabolism in the putamen and DACC resulted in much improvement in anhedonia separate from the relief in depression. 
  • Both the dACC and putamen are highly involved in reward processinglearning and decision-making
  • The dACC has also been strongly linked with the anticipation of rewarding events in humans. 
  • Deficits in the ability to imagine future events, particularly positive ones, have been reliably identified in MDD patients experiencing an MDE. The ability to anticipate pleasure is associated with the diminishing of depression. 
  • Other studies, as did this one, demonstrated that anticipating a reward such as a sugary snack elicited heightened activity in the right putamen compared with anticipating a punishment (salt water). Levels of anhedonia, as measured by the Fawcett–Clark Pleasure Scale, were positively correlated with activity in the right putamen during an emotional face-processing task that required MDD patients to compare sad and neutral faces. Other measures of anhedonia include a SAAS self-assessment scale for anhedonia
  • Studies of the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) (an area of decision-making and anti-depressant area) demonstrate that the synaptogenic and antidepressant-like effects of a single dose of ketamine in rodents are dependent upon activation of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) complex 1 (mTORC1) signaling pathway together with inhibitory phosphorylation of glycogen synthase kinase-3 (GSK-3), which relieves its inhibitory in influence on mTOR. The use of lithium allows this inhibition of GSK-3 and may be useful for improvement of the anti-anhedonia effects of ketamine as found in one study
  • Lithium may enhance the anti-anhedonic effects of ketamine in individuals with BD through enhanced plasticity and antidepressant-like effects. 
  • Glutamate has a central role in anhedonia and depression
  • Ketamine is also a partial agonist of the dopamine D2 receptor and it has been found to increase dopamine levels in the striatum, including the caudate and the putamen. Of note, in MDD patients with motor retardation, there are lower extracellular levels of dopamine. Ketamine may, in part, modulate dopamine levels in anhedonia and depression through its initial effects of glutamate, which then affect the dopamine systems of reward. 
  • recent study in primates demonstrated that an “area 25” of the brain was overactive in anhedonia models of depression and ketamine could decrease that overactivity. 
  • Anhedonia is present in many psychiatric and neurological illnesses, such as schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, drug addiction and both mood and anxiety disorders. Anhedonia influences outcomes of treatment and needs to be monitored. 
  • Ketamine ameliorates anhedonia independent of its already considerable antidepressant effects. 
  • Ketamine is the only medication available to treat and improve anhedonia. 

recent study from the Canadian Rapid Treatment Center for Depression demonstrated that ketamine infusions can rapidly treat consummatory anhedonia symptoms in depression and relieve suicidality, depression, and anxiety. Again, there are no effective treatments outside of ketamine therapy for the anhedonia that accompanies depression, so if you have improved your depression but still have no energy, motivation, or sense of enjoyment, ketamine therapy may offer an additional line of treatment to make you feel more excited about the basic things in life. It is time to find the next great adventure. 

NOVA Health Recovery Ketamine Infusion Center utilizes ketamine therapies for the treatment of depression and anhedonia. Why suffer with low motivation, loss of pleasure and interest, anxiety, and brain fog? Traditional medications may improve some measures of depression, but ketamine can provide rapid relief in many for both their depression and anhedonia. No other medication has demonstrated the ability to restore hope and anticipation of pleasures as can ketamine therapy in the setting of anhedonia. Ketamine targets key areas of the brain to restore the appropriate reward circuitry to lead a more fulfilling life. The ability to have the energy and motivation for your next adventure is crucial for your happiness. This is where ketamine therapy may be able to bridge the gaps your other treatments could not. 

NOVA Health Recovery is a Ketamine Treatment Center in Fairfax, Virginia (Northern Virginia Ketamine) that specializes in the treatment of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, OCD, and chronic pain such as CRPS, cluster headaches, and fibromyalgia using Ketamine therapies. We offer ketamine infusions and home-based ketamine nasal spray and oral tablets. For CRPS, we offer multi-day, high-dose infusions and prescriptions for maintenance ketamine therapies for home. We utilize integrative psychiatric therapies for mood disorders as well and offer IV Vitamin support as well as IV NAD+ for mental health, pain, opioid detox, and mood disorders. We also offer addiction treatment services with Suboxone, Vivitrol, and Sublocade therapies for opiate addiction as well as alcohol treatment regimens. Contact us at 703-844-0184 for more information or to schedule. No referral is needed. 

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703-844-0184 | Ketamine Infusions Alexandria Virginia |Ketamine Nasal sprays for suboxone detox | Ketamine for depression, PTSD, Anxiety, and OCD | Glutathione IV | IV Vitamin C | Fairfax Ketamine | Loudoun Ketamine Center | 703-844-0184 | Arlington Virginia Ketamine | IV NAD+ Virginia Center

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KETAMINE IV Therapy for Rapid Depression Treatment

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NOVA Health Recovery | Alexandria, Va 22306 | Call for esketamine and nasal ketamine as well as IV Ketamine for depression, PTSD, anxiety  703-844-0184 < Link



Ketamine could be first of new generation of rapid acting antidepressants, say experts

Ketamine is the first truly new pharmacological approach to treating depression in the past 50 years and could herald a new generation of rapid acting antidepressants, researchers have predicted.

“We haven’t had anything really new for about 50 or 60 years,” said Allan Young, professor of mood disorders at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College, London, at a briefing on 12 July at London’s Science Media Centre.

Most of the new launches have been “tinkering with drugs which were really discovered in the ’50s and ’60s,” he explained. “Even the famous Prozac, which came in in the late ’80s, is really just a refinement of the tricyclic antidepressants that came in the ’50s. People say we are still in the age of steam, and we need to go to the next technological advance.”

Slow onset

In the past few years the focus has fallen on ketamine, which is used for pain relief and anaesthesia but is better known for being a horse sedative and a “club drug” that can induce hallucinations and calmness. It has been found to have rapid antidepressant effects and to be effective in many patients with treatment resistant depression.

US clinics increasingly offer IV infusions of ketamine off label, and in March esketamine, a nasal ketamine based drug, was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for treatment resistant depression,1 at a cost of £32 400 (€36 060; $40 615) per patient per year.

Carlos Zarate, chief of the Experimental Therapeutics and Pathophysiology Branch at the US National Institute of Mental Health, who has been a key figure in the discovery and evaluation of ketamine as an antidepressant, said that one of the main problems with current antidepressants was their speed of onset in terms of antidepressant and anti-suicidal effects.

He explained that it took 10-14 weeks to see significant improvement with monoaminergic based antidepressants. “In my mind that is too slow,” he said. “We are focusing on treatments that can produce results within hours. That is where we are heading with the next generation of antidepressant, and ketamine is now the prototype for future generation antidepressants which will have rapid, robust antidepressant effects—rapid within a few hours.”

Efficacy and tolerability

Zarate said that, besides correcting chemical imbalances of serotonin and norepinephrine, the new generation of ketamine based antidepressants had other effects such as enhancing plasticity and restoring the synapses and dendrite circuits that shrivel in depression.

When ketamine is given to patients it binds to the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor, causing a series of transient side effects including decreased awareness of the environment, vivid dreams, and problems in communicating. But the half life of ketamine is only two to three hours, so these side effects quickly subside, whereas the therapeutic effects of the drug last seven days or longer.

Zarate’s team is now focusing on the 24 metabolites of ketamine to hone the drug’s efficacy and tolerability. One of these, hydroxynorketamine, has already been shown to have similar antidepressive effects to ketamine in animals, without the side effects, and it is due to be tested in patients this autumn.

“Ketamine may actually be a prodrug for hydroxynorketamine,” said Zarate.

High cost

A few dozen patients with treatment resistant depression have been treated with ketamine in UK trials, and the European Medicines Agency and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency are due to reach a decision on authorising esketamine for marketing in October. If the drug is approved private clinics will be able to provide it. But it would be unlikely to be available through the NHS until at least 2020, if at all, as the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence would need to deem it cost effective.

Rupert McShane, consultant psychiatrist and associate professor at the University of Oxford, said that, as well as the likely high cost of esketamine, patients treated with it must be observed in a clinic for two hours after each administration. This would require substantial clinical time, as esketamine is given twice a week for the first month, once a week for the second month, and once a week or once a fortnight from then on.

McShane also recommended that, if approved, a multidrug registry should be set up to monitor the long term safety and effectiveness of ketamine based drugs. Patients would be asked to input their use of any prescribed ketamine, esketamine, or any other future ketamine based product, as well as any self medication with illicit ketamine.

References


    1. Silberner J
    . Ketamine should be available for treatment resistant depression, says FDA panel. BMJ2019;364:l858.doi:10.1136/bmj.l858 pmid:30796014FREE Full TextGoogle Scholar



Ketamine depression treatment center | 703-844-0184 | Alexandria, Va 22306|NOVA Health Recovery Ketamine Center| Call for a consultation| Depression and inflammation | Ketamine treatment to reverse depression.



NOVA Health Recovery | Alexandria, Va 22306 | Call for esketamine and nasal ketamine as well as IV Ketamine for depression, PTSD, anxiety  703-844-0184 < Link

The Brain on Fire: Depression and Inflammation

According to the World Health Organization, depression is the leading cause of disability. Unfortunately, 30 to 60 percent of patients are not responsive to available antidepressant treatments (Krishnan & Nestler, 2008). In other words, 40 to 70 percent of patients are not helped by existing treatments. One area of research might shed some light on why a sizable portion of patients are not helped by current antidepressants.

There is growing evidence that inflammation can exacerbate or even give rise to depressive symptoms. The inflammatory response is a key component of our immune system. When our bodies are invaded by bacteria, viruses, toxins, or parasites, the immune system recruits cells, proteins, and tissues, including the brain, to attack these invaders. The main strategy is to mark the injured body parts, so we can pay more attention to them. Local inflammation makes the injured parts red, swollen, and hot. When the injury is not localized, then the system becomes inflamed. These pro-inflammatory factors give rise to “sickness behaviors.” These include physical, cognitive and behavioral changes. Typically, the sick person experiences sleepiness, fatigue, slow reaction time, cognitive impairments, and loss of appetite. This constellation of changes that take place when we are sick is adaptive. It compels us to get more sleep to heal and remain isolated so as not to spread infections.

However, a prolonged inflammatory response can wreak havoc in our bodies and can put us at risk of depression and other illnesses. There is plenty of evidence solidifying the link between inflammation and depression. For example, markers of inflammation are elevated in people who suffer from depression compared to non-depressed ones (Happakoski et al., 2015). Also, indicators of inflammation can predict the severity of depressive symptoms. A study that examined twins who share 100 percent of the same genes found that the twin who had a higher CRP concentration (a measure of inflammation) was more likely to develop depression five years later.  

Doctors noticed that their cancer and Hepatitis C patients treated with IFN-alpha therapy (increases inflammatory response) also suffered from depression. This treatment increased the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, which gave rise to a loss of appetite, sleep disturbance, anhedonia (loss of pleasure), cognitive impairment, and suicidal ideation (Lotrich et al., 2007). The prevalence of depression in these patients was high. These results add credence to the inflammation story of depression.

Subsequent careful studies showed that the increase in the prevalence of depression in patients treated with IFN-alpha was not only because they were sick. Using a simple method of injecting healthy subjects with immune system invaders, researchers found higher rates of depressive symptoms in the ones who were exposed compared to the placebo group. The subjects who were induced to have an inflammatory response complained of symptoms such as negative mood, anhedonia, sleep disturbances, social withdrawal, and cognitive impairments.

The link between inflammation and depression is even more solid for patients who don’t respond to current antidepressants. Studies have shown that treatment-resistant patients tend to have elevated inflammatory factors circulating at baseline than the responsive ones. This is clinically important; a clinician can utilize a measure like CRP levels, which are part of a routine physical, to predict the therapeutic response to antidepressants. In one study, they found that increased levels of an inflammation molecule prior to treatment predicted poor response to antidepressants (O’Brien et al., 2007).

There are environmental factors that cause inflammation and therefore elevate risk for depression: stress, low socioeconomic status, or a troubled childhood. Also, an elevated inflammatory response leads to increased sensitivity to stress. The effect has been reported in multiple studies in mice. For example, mice that have gone under chronic unpredictable stress have higher levels of inflammation markers (Tianzhu et al., 2014). Interestingly, there are individual differences that make some mice more resistant to stress, therefore initiating a calmer immune response (Hodes et al., 2014).

Depression is a heterogeneous disorder. Each patient’s struggle is unique given their childhood, genetics, the sensitivity of their immune system, other existing bodily illnesses, and their current status in society. Being on the disadvantageous end of these dimensions irritates our immune system and causes chronic inflammation. The brain is very responsive to these circulating inflammatory markers and initiates “sickness behavior.” When the inflammation is prolonged by stressors or other vulnerabilities, the sickness behavior becomes depression.

If you are a professional working with patients suffering from depression, I urge you to consider the health of your patients’ immune systems. If you are a patient suffering from an exaggerated immune disorder (e.g., arthritis), do not ignore the depressive symptoms that you might be experiencing. If you are suffering from depression, avoid anything that might exacerbate your immune response. This is another example of the beautiful dance between mind and body!

References

Haapakoski,R.,Mathieu,J.,Ebmeier,K.P.,Alenius,H.,Kivimäki,M., 2015. Cumulative meta-analysisofinterleukins6 and 1β,tumournecrosisfactorα and C-reactive protein in patients with major depressive disorder. Brain Behav.Immun. 49,206.

Hodes GE, Pfau ML, Leboeuf M, Golden SA, Christoffel DJ, Bregman D et al (2014). Individual differences in the peripheral immune system promote resilience versus susceptibility to social stress. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 111: 16136–16141.

Krishnan V, Nestler EJ (2008). The molecular neurobiology of depression. Nature 455: 894–902.

Lotrich,F.E.,Rabinovitz,M.,Gironda,P.,Pollock,B.G., 2007. Depression following pe-gylated interferon-alpha:characteristics and vulnerability.J.Psychosom.Res.63, 131–135.https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpsychores.2007.05.013.

O’Brien, S.M., Scully, P., Fitzgerald, P., Scott, L.V., Dinan, T.G., 2007a. Plasma cytokine profiles in depressed patients who fail to respond to selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor therapy. J. Psychiatr. Res. 41, 326e331.

Tianzhu, Z., Shihai, Y., Juan, D., 2014. Antidepressant-like effects of cordycepin in a mice model of chronic unpredictable mild stress. Evid. Based Complement. Altern. Med. 2014, 438506.

The Serotonin Transporter Gene and Depression

A new large-scale study casts doubt on a widely reported association.

Why some people develop major depressive disorder and others do not is a complex and not well-understood process. Several factors have been discussed to contribute to depression, among them:

Genetic variation: Individuals carrying one or two copies of a specific risk allele on one or more “depression gene/s” have a higher risk of developing depression.

Environmental influences: Negative life events such as trauma, negligence, or abuse increase the risk of developing depression.

Gene-by-environment interactions: Negative life events only lead to depression in individuals with a specific genetic set-up that makes them risk-prone to develop depression.

The gene most commonly associated with depression is the serotonin transporter gene SLC6A4 (Bleys et al., 2018). Serotonin is a neurotransmitter affecting multiple physiological processes and cognitivebrain functions, among them mood and emotions, which is why it has been linked to mood disorders such as depression. Indeed, low serotonin levels have been associated with depressed mood (Jenkins et al., 2016), and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most commonly prescribed antidepressants. SSRIs block the reuptake of serotonin during cellular communication in the brain, making more serotonin available, and thus in theory helping to reduce depression.

Along these lines, the idea that the serotonin transporter gene could affect depression risk or severity intuitively made sense. Specifically, many scientists focused on the so-called 5-HTTLPR polymorphism in the promoter region of the serotonin transporter gene to research the effects of this gene on depression. Genetic polymorphism means that at a specific location in the genome, different people might have slight variations in their DNA which could affect how well the protein that the gene produces could do its job. In the case of the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism, there is a short allele (s) and a long allele (l). Already back in the 1990s, researchers showed that people with two or one short alleles have a higher chance of developing depression than those with two long alleles, as the short allele leads to reduced expression of the serotonin transporter (Collier et al., 1996).

This initial study sparked interest in the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism, but not all empirical works could find a clear association. In 2003, a surprising finding seemingly resolved this controversy. In a widely cited study, Caspi and colleagues were able to show that the effects of 5-HTTLPR polymorphism genotype on depression were moderated by a so-called gene-by-environment interaction (Caspi et al., 2003). This means that the genotype would only have an effect if individuals were also subjected to specific environmental conditions. Specifically, the scientists found that individuals reacted differently to highly stressful life events, depending on the 5-HTTLPR genotype. People with at least one short allele on the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism developed more depressive symptoms if they experienced a highly stressful life event than people with two long alleles. However, without a stressful life event, the genotype did not have an effect on the probability to develop depression.

This study further increased the interest in the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism and its relation to depression, leading to more studies on this topic. However, a problem of many of these studies was that their sample sizes were comparably small for genetic studies, potentially leading to erroneous results and overblown effects.

Almost a decade ago, Risch and co-workers (Risch et al., 2009) conducted a so-called meta-analysis, a statistical integration of empirical studies. They analyzed 14 studies on the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism and its relation to depression and on whether this relation was influenced by stressful life events as had been suggested by Caspi et al. (2003). Their result was clear: While more stressful life events led to a higher risk of depression, there was no effect of the 5-HTTLPR genotype on depression and no gene-by-environment interaction effect between genotype and stressful life events.

Despite this finding, hundreds of studies on the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism and depression have been published since 2009 (the scientific search engine PubMed lists more than 800 hits for the search term “5-HTTLPR depression” as of early May 2019). A new study recently published by Richard Border and colleagues in The American Journal of Psychiatry(Border et al., 2019) aimed to resolve the controversy about whether or not the 5-HTTLPR genotype affects depression and whether there is a gene-by-environment interaction between this genotype and stressful life events once and for all. To avoid the statistical problems of previous studies, they obtained data from several large genetic datasets available to researchers, leading to a sample size of several hundred thousand individuals. The results of the analysis were clear as well: There was no statistical evidence for a relation between the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism and depression, and there was also no evidence that traumatic life events or adverse socioeconomic conditions might show a gene-by-environment interaction with this genotype.

This, of course, does not mean that there is no relationship between serotonin and depression (there clearly is, as shown by the treatment success of SSRIs), but it lends further support to an emerging insight in psychiatry genetics: Mental illness is a highly complex process that is likely influenced by a large number of genetic and non-genetic effects. As such, it is unlikely that single genetic variations such as the 5-HTTLPR polymorphism have a huge impact on whether or not an individual develops depression or any other form of mental illness. Future psychiatry genetic studies will need to take this complexity into account by analyzing genetic variation across the whole genome and epigenome and relating it to mental illness (Meier & Deckert, 2019).



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‘Special K’ Drug vs Ketamine Therapy: The Differences in Intentions, Use and Application

‘Special K’ Drug vs Ketamine Therapy: The Differences in Intentions, Use and Application

The Differences Between ‘Special K’ and Ketamine Therapy

Some know it as a veterinary tranquilizer, others know it as a party drug. For others still, it might be a life-line, the only hope to get their life back from the throes of crippling depression. We are talking about a drug called ketamine or ‘Special K’.

Ketamine’s many names and uses make it a difficult drug to understand. The scientific research on ketamine is evolving so rapidly that not even medical professionals can’t agree on how it should be used.

This article takes all of the information about ketamine, or ‘Special K’, and breaks it down so that it’s simple, accurate, and concise. If you’re wondering about the many differences between using ketamine as a street drug and using it therapeutically, then you’ve come to the right place.

Special K: Ketamine as a Street Drug

Most people first learn about ketamine when they hear about the street drug called ‘Special K’. Other names for the drug when used recreationally are: Ketalar, Ketaject, Vitamin K, and Super K. While this drug is not as widely used as Marijuana or some other illicit substances, it has a strong hold on certain niche markets, like the clubbing and raving scenes.

Although doctors and veterinarians began using ketamine in the 1960s, it wasn’t introduced into the party scene until much later. The trend actually began in India, in the Goa trance music scene of the 1980s, and made its way to the western world from there. By the 1990s, ketamine was a major force in the psychedelic drug scene throughout Europe and the United States.

Despite small ups and downs since its introduction in the ‘90s, Special K has remained a steadily popular drug among high school and college students. The US’s National Institute on Drug Abuse has found that 1.2 percent of high school seniors report that they’ve used ketamine in the last year. While that’s much lower than some other drugs, it’s still significant given the seriousness of ketamine’s effects and the dangers of its potential side effects.

An overdose of ketamine can lead to death. Even non-lethal doses can cause side effects like chest pain, memory loss, and trouble breathing. Those who use Special K recreationally often become addicted, and eventually lose their jobs, relationships, and lives to the drug.

Ketamine Therapy: How Doctors Are Using Ketamine to Change Lives

“At this point, any new depression treatment that makes it to the finish line is a huge win.” That’s Dr. George Papakostas speaking to Time Magazine about the desperate need that medical providers have for depression medications. He says that whatever drug does make across that finish line is “going to have a major impact.”

That drug may very well be ketamine.

Despite its reputation as a street drug or a horse tranquilizer, multiple scientific studies have found the drug is a very effective remedy for a number of ailments (such as PTSD), but especially depression.

Ketamine, along with drugs like phencyclidine (popularly known as PCP) and dextromethorphan (often called DXM or ‘Robo’), belongs to a class of drugs called dissociative anesthetics. These kinds of drugs tend to give the users a ‘floating’ sensation, as if they’re detached from their bodies and their surroundings.

Special K is a particularly fast acting form of dissociative anesthetic, which is why it works so well as both a party drug and a numbing agent in surgeries. In medical settings, Ketamine is often used as an initial anesthetic before other, more powerful painkillers like morphine can kick in. But it’s not these anesthetic effects that make the ketamine drug so effective as an antidepressant.

In fact, doctors aren’t entirely sure what it is about ketamine that helps people overcome their depression. Many think that it has something to do with starting up the ‘synaptic plasticity’ of the brain. This is the part of the brain that has the ability to grow and change over time, and increased plasticity is a common effect of other antidepressant medication.

However it works, the scientific results are pretty clear: regular, therapeutic doses of ketamine helps eliminate the symptoms of depression.

One study from February of 2018 observed “significant improvement of depressive symptoms” in a double-blind clinical trial of 67 adults with treatment-resistant depression (a type of depression that doesn’t respond to other medications like Prozac). Further, the study found that the improvements in the patients were sustained throughout the entire 9-week period of the study. That’s not just a good finding, it’s a breakthrough for treating a condition that has long eluded medical professionals.

Although ketamine has not yet been approved in a prescription pill or nasal spray form for treating depression, there are treatment centers that can offer completely legal ketamine therapy for depression. One of these centers, based in Los Angles, is called Ketamine Clinics.

At these centers doctors are able to administer ketamine drugs in a controlled and calm setting through intravenous or infusion methods.

Why People Use Ketamine Drugs: Therapy Vs. Thrill Seeking

Although the ketamine drug used in therapy is technically the same as the Special K drug used in wild raves, the motivations and outcomes of the experiences are very different.

Using Special K to Get High:

When people use Special K as a street drug, they are looking for a high. Some might be seeking a thrilling experience at a rave, while others might be trying to escape from a life that they find overwhelming. Many end up dangerously addicted to the drug after repeated use.

Almost immediately after the drug is ingested, the user begins to feel the effects of the ketamine. At lower doses, ketamine may merely make the user feel ‘dreamy’. But, at higher doses, ketamine can have extreme euphoric and hallucinogenic effects. When these effects are at their most extreme, the user can become immobilized and go into a ‘K-Hole’.

Ketamine’s effects on mobility and memory are so drastic that it is often used as a date rape drug. In this way, the high of Special K can quickly turn into a horrible low.

This dark side of ketamine is made more dangerous by the fact that recreational users are often getting their supply from unregulated sources, like the Chinese black market or the ‘dark web’. Unregulated drugs like this can be cut with toxic chemicals or other drugs, and they can have very inconsistent potencies, making it nearly impossible to determine a safe dose.

In short, ketamine is like many other street drugs when it’s used illicitly: it offers a quick, dangerous high that can easily lead to addiction.

Using Ketamine as Therapy:

John Abenstein, MD, the president of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, has said that “Outside of the clinic, ketamine can cause tragedies, but in the right hands, it is a miracle.”

It’s this miracle, and not a fun ‘high’, that people are seeking when they use ketamine for therapy.

Many people’s lives have been plagued by depression, bipolar disorder, and PTSD. People lose their jobs because they can’t find the will to leave their beds in the morning. Their friendships fall apart and their marriages often end in divorce. Some severely depressed people end up taking their own lives. These tragedies are all too common.

Ketamine therapy offers real hope for millions of people who struggle with these psychological problems daily. It’s especially important for those ‘treatment resistant’ patients who have found no relief from other treatments like SSRIs.

Even though there is not yet a prescription ketamine medication for depression, many people’s lives have already been changed by ketamine therapy in clinics. In fact, there is a whole Ketamine Advocacy Network whose mission is to “spread awareness of ketamine therapy for treatment-resistant depression, bipolar, and PTSD, and to make this treatment available and affordable for all who need it.”

Ketamine therapy is about so much more than a fun party or a weekend escape. It’s about healing lives that have been fractured by crippling disorders.

Intravenous Infusions for Therapy Vs. Snorting or Injecting to Get High

In its recreational drug form, ketamine tends to be a white powder or a crystallized chunk that can be broken apart. In order to get high, people snort the drug as lines of powder, take it orally in pill forms, or inject it intravenously using hypodermic needles.

All of these forms of recreational use present their own dangers, such as infection, the spread of disease through used needles, or incorrect dosing.

Using ketamine in a medical facility is a very different sort of experience.

The ‘route of administration’ (ROA), or how the drug gets into the body, is very important for ketamine’s therapeutic qualities to work. Most therapeutic doses of the ketamine drug are given intravenously.

The intravenous infusions are given over an elongated period, usually about a half an hour in length. This method allows the practitioners to control the dosage and to spread out the rate of delivery so that the drug can enter the bloodstream in a consistent and steady manner, rather than all at once.

Intravenous infusions also allow the drug to enter directly into the bloodstream. Other ROAs, like pills, can lead to a large percentage of the drug being metabolized by the body before reaching the brain. You can read more about why intravenous infusions are most effective on the Ketamine Advocacy Network website.

How It Feels to Take Ketamine Therapeutically

Therapeutic doses of ketamine definitely won’t send you into a K-Hole, but they can make you a bit woozy. In some cases, people have reported feeling dissociated, but these feeling are usually minor and can even be pleasurable. Still, patients must make sure to arrange a ride home with a friend or family member because they won’t be able to drive.

Many people find that they can go right back to work or school after their ketamine therapy appointment. Others prefer to head home and take a short nap. Either way, the anesthetic effects of the ketamine should be gone shortly after the session.

Although it varies from patient to patient, many people only require ketamine therapy once a week or less in order to see a significant or total reduction in their symptoms!

K-Hole: The Risks of a Special K Drug Overdose

As we’ve mentioned above, a ketamine overdose is not pleasant, and can even be deadly. Although you don’t have to worry about this if you’re just taking therapeutic doses, those who use the drug recreationally must be very careful.

When someone takes high amounts of the Special K drug they can end up in a sort of catatonic state where they can’t move or talk. This is called a K-hole. Some describe it as a near death experience, and that’s not a good thing. It can be a terrifying and even traumatizing experience.

But a K-Hole is not the worst thing that can happen if you take too much ketamine. A ketamine overdose can also lead to vomiting, chest pain, seizures, and even death.

The Future of Ketamine

Depression has plagued humans for millennia. It was first described by Hippocrates as “Melancholia”, and although we know much more about the disease these days, the treatments that are widely available are far from perfect. This is why the advances in ketamine therapy are so exciting.

Doctor Thomas Insel has said that ““Recent data suggest that ketamine, given intravenously, might be the most important breakthrough in antidepressant treatment in decades.” That’s a big deal coming from the director of the Institute of Mental Health.

Ketamine may continue to be a dangerous street drug for some, but for others it’s a beacon of shining hope.

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What are the uses of ketamine?

Ketamine is a medication that is used to induce loss of consciousness, or anesthesia. It can produce relaxation and relieve pain in humans and animals.

It is a class III scheduled drug and is approved for use in hospitals and other medical settings as an anesthetic.

However, it is also a commonly abused “recreational” drug, due to its hallucinogenic, tranquilizing and dissociative effects.

Controversy has arisen about using ketamine “off-label” to treat depression. Off-label uses of drugs are uses that are not approved by the the United States, (U.S.) Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Ketamine is safe to use in controled, medical practice, but it has abuse potential. Used outside the approved limits, its adverse mental and physical health effects can be hazardous. Prolonged use can lead to tolerance and psychological addiction.

Fast facts on ketamine:Here are some key points about ketamine. More detail is in the main article.

  • Ketamine is similar in structure to phencyclidine (PCP), and it causes a trance-like state and a sense of disconnection from the environment.
  • It is the most widely used anesthetic in veterinary medicine and is used for some surgical procedures in humans.
  • It is considered a “club drug,” like ecstasy, and it has been abused as a date-rape drug.
  • Ketamine should only be used as prescribed by a doctor.

 

What is ketamine?

ketamine and dissociation
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Ketamine can produce feelings of dissociation when used as a drug of abuse.

Ketamine belongs to a class of drugs known as dissociative anesthetics. It is also known as Ketalar, Ketanest, and Ketaset.

Other drugs in this category include the hallucinogen, phencyclidine (PCP), dextromethorphan (DXM), and nitrous oxide, or laughing gas.

These types of drugs can make a person feel detached from sensations and surroundings, as if they are floating outside their body.

 

Therapeutic uses

Ketamine is most often used in veterinary medicine. In humans, it can induce and maintain general anesthesia before, during, and after surgery.

For medical purposes, ketamine is either injected into a muscle or given through an intravenous (IV) line.

It is considered safe as an anesthetic, because it does not reduce blood pressure or lower the breathing rate.

The fact that it does not need an electricity supply, oxygen, or highly trained staff makes it a suitable option in less wealthy countries and in disaster zones.

In human medical practice, it is used in procedures such as:

  • cardiac catheterization
  • skin grafts
  • orthopedic procedures
  • diagnostic procedures on the eye, ear, nose, and throat
  • minor surgical interventions, such as dental extractions

It has been used in a hospital setting to control seizures in patients with status epilepticus (SE), a type of epilepsy that can lead to brain damage and death. However, researchers point out that ketamine is normally used for this purpose after 5 to 6 other options have proven ineffective. Ketamine for the treatment of refractory status epilepticus

It is also an analgesic, and, in lower doses, it can relieve pain.

In 2014, researchers found that a ketamine infusion significantly reduced symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in 41 patients who had undergone a range of traumas.

Efficacy of intravenous ketamine for treatment of chronic posttraumatic stress disorder

Researchers are looking into other possible medical uses of ketamine, particularly in the areas of treatment-resistant depression, suicide prevention, and substance use disorders. However, this use is controversial.

 

Treating depression

Researchers for the American Psychological Association (APA) noted in April 2017 that a number of doctors prescribe ketamine “off-label,” for people with treatment-resistant depression.

However, they caution:

While ketamine may be beneficial to some patients with mood disorders, it is important to consider the limitations of the available data and the potential risk associated with the drug when considering the treatment option.”

The FDA has not yet approved it for treating depression.

In a study published in BMC Medical Ethics, researchers urge doctors to “minimize the risk to patients” by considering carefully the evidence before prescribing ketamine off-label for patients to treat depression and prevent suicide.

Citing “questionable practice” regarding the prescription of ketamine, they point out that there is not enough evidence to prove that ketamine is safe, and that some studies supporting its use have not been sufficiently rigorous in terms of research ethics.

They call for open debate, more research, and for doctors to try all other options first, before prescribing ketamine.

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) are currently supporting research into whether ketamine may help people with treatment-resistant depression.

 

Effects

Ketamine use can have a wide variety of adverse effects, including:

  • drowsiness
  • changes in perceptions of color or sound
  • hallucinations, confusion, and delirium
  • dissociation from body or identity
  • agitation
  • difficulty thinking or learning
  • nausea
  • dilated pupils and changes in eyesight
  • inability to control eye movements
  • involuntary muscle movements and muscle stiffness
  • slurred speech
  • numbness
  • amnesia
  • slow heart beat
  • behavioral changes
  • increased pressure in the eyes and brain

It can also lead to a loss of appetite, upset stomach, and vomiting.

When used as an anesthetic in humans, doctors combine it with another drug to prevent hallucinations.

Risks

Ketamine is considered relatively safe in medical settings, because it does not affect the protective airway reflexes, and it does not depress the circulatory system, as other anesthetic medications do.

However, some patients have reported disturbing sensations when awakening from ketamine anesthesia.

Ketamine can cause an increase in blood pressure and intracranial pressure, or pressure in the brain.

People with the following conditions cannot receive ketamine for medical purposes:

  • brain swelling
  • glaucoma
  • brain lesion or tumor

It is used with caution in those with:

  • coronary artery disease
  • increased blood pressure
  • thyroid disease
  • chronic alcohol addiction
  • acute alcohol intoxication
  • aneurysm
  • chest pain
  • mental illness

These effects may be stronger in people aged over 65 years.

Some people may have an allergy to the ingredients. Patients with any type of allergy should tell their doctor before using any medication.

Anyone who is using this drug for therapeutic purposes on a regular basis should have regular blood pressure checks.

As a drug of abuse

Ketamine is most often used in the dance club setting as a party drug. It produces an abrupt high that lasts for about an hour. Users report euphoria, along with feelings of floating and other “out of body” sensations. Hallucinations, similar to those experienced with LSD, are common.

In 2014, 1.4 percent of 12th graders reported using ketamine for recreational purposes. This was down from 2002, when 2.6 percent reported using it.

Street names include:

  • Cat Valium
  • KitKat
  • Special K
  • Vitamin K
  • The horse tranquilizer
  • Ket
  • Purple
  • Super K
  • Jet

It is taken orally as a pill, snorted, smoked with tobacco or marijuana, or mixed into drinks. Most often, it is cooked into a white powder for snorting. Taken orally, it can cause severe nausea and vomiting.

Regardless of how it is ingested, its effects begin within a few minutes and last for less than an hour.

Higher doses can produce more intense effects known as being in the “K-hole,” where users become unable to move or communicate and feel very far away from their body.

Some users seek out this type of transcendental experience, while others find it terrifying and consider it an adverse effect.

Adverse effects

Unwanted effects include:

  • addiction
  • psychosis
  • amnesia
  • impaired motor function
  • high blood pressure
  • respiratory problems
  • seizures

As the user can become oblivious to their environment, ketamine abuse puts the person at risk of accidental injury to themselves and vulnerable to assault by others.

Problems with co-ordination, judgment, and the physical senses can continue for up to 24 hours. If an individual is using ketamine in a recreational setting, a sober friend should remain with them to ensure their safety.

Long-term effects include bladder and kidney problems, stomach pain, and memory loss.

If addiction and dependence develop, there is also a risk of depression.

Frequent, illegal use of ketamine can lead to serious mental disorders and major physical harm to the bladder, known as ketamine-induced ulcerative cystitis.

Ketamine and alcohol

Ketamine toxicity alone is unlikely to lead to death, according to the WHO. However, combining it with other substances, such as alcohol, can increase the sedative effects, possibly leading to a fatal overdose.

In the U.S., 1,550 emergency department (ED) visits were due to illegal ketamine use, and 71.5 percent of these also involved alcohol.

Overdose

The risk of overdose is high, because, for a recreational user, there is only a slight difference in dosage between obtaining the drug’s desired effects and an overdose.

Addiction

Ketamine is a Class III controlled substance. Prolonged use can cause dependence, tolerance, and withdrawal symptoms. Quitting can lead to depression, anxiety, insomnia, and flashbacks.

Chronic users have been known to “binge” their ketamine use in an attempt to experience again the dissociative, euphoric effects of their early first use.

The complications of long-term use can be fatal.

A final word

Ketamine is an anesthetic drug, used in human and veterinary medicine. It is important to distinguish the valid medical uses from the non-medical, recreational use of the drug.

When properly administered by a trained medical professional, ketamine is a safe and valuable medication.

Used in recreational settings, however, ketamine abuse can produce unpredictable physical and mental health results. In the long term, it can lead to psychological damage and, in some cases, death.

Any drug use should be prescribed by a doctor who knows the patient’s full medical history.

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Is ketamine safe? What are some reasons I would not be eligible (contraindications)?

Ketamine is a unique among anesthetic medications in that it is extremely safe, having been used in various settings for more than fifty years, even in poorly monitored settings such as battlefield anesthesia and developing countries, “ketamine has a good safety profile and is easy to use, especially in under-resourced health systems and emergency settings where clinical conditions and medical equipment are generally not available” (World Health Organization).  Ketamine has an even higher margin of safety when used to treat depression because such doses are much lower than those used in surgery. Patients typically remain conscious the entire time, though may feel somewhat altered and experience perceptual changes.  When used in higher surgical and anesthetic doses, ketamine requires the presence of an anesthesiologist for full airway and cardiac monitoring, while the lower doses used in depression do not.  There are specific reasons you would not be eligible for ketamine, including recent myocardial infarction (heart attack), recent psychosis (hallucinations, delusions), or recent bladder inflammation (cystitis). Administration of ketamine and medical monitoring throughout the session is performed by Dr. Sendi, and not by nurses or personnel with less medical training.

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WHO Recommends against International Control of Ketamine

20160309_FactFile_Ketamine

What is the best route of administration for treatment of depression?

As noted above, ketamine can be administered in several different ways: by an intravenous infusion, an intramuscular injection, intranasally, sublingually, and orally. Intravenous ketamine infusions have been most studied because of their historical use and original FDA approval decades ago, though more and more studies are finding comparable efficacy with the other routes of administration.  It is not clear that intravenous ketamine infusions are more effective than other routes of administration, and further results in great patient discomfort, greater resource utilization, and ultimately result in a higher cost.  For this reason I typically offer ketamine via the intramuscular route, which appears to be non-inferior in terms of efficacy for depression.Here is a link to an article on Ketamine and depression:   the International Journal of Transpersonal Studies: Ketamine and depression: a review.

Am I a good candidate?  How are ketamine treatments structured?

Prior to initiating ketamine treatments, some  potential patients are scheduled for an initial psychiatric evaluation.  On this first meeting, we will determine a diagnosis, develop a treatment plan, and assess for any medical or psychiatric issues that may interfere with ketamine treatment. If we mutually agree that ketamine could be beneficial, then we can schedule a subsequent visit for the actual administration; with some planning, it is possible for both the intake and administration to be done on the same day.  The greatest benefit of ketamine is attained with multiple administrations over the first few weeks of treatment, which is then followed by periodic booster treatments to maintain freedom from depression.  I ask patients to commit to a series of 6 administrations over 3 weeks, and then return for periodic bimonthly to monthly booster treatments thereafter to prevent depression from returning. Please note, it is always your option to stop treatment at any time. Patients must have a friend or family member pick them up after the appointment, as ketamine temporarily impairs one’s ability to drive. Ketamine sessions are scheduled for 90 minutes in duration, and involve a brief medication management visit, the actual ketamine administration, followed by psychotherapy, all of which is integrated into one visit.

For individuals interested in ketamine treatments, please print out the informed consent  and bring it with you to our appointment.  I will have you sign it after an in depth discussion about the risks, benefits, and alternatives available to you.

Are there any precautions?

Individuals receiving ketamine should abstain from any food or drink for the 6 hours prior to receiving the medication, and furthermore, should not drive for the remainder of the day. This is a necessary precaution because the subtle after effects of ketamine can linger for hours after the treatment and impair the ability to drive.  Effects typically resolve by the following day, at which time driving is allowed. Typically patients arrange a ride home with a friend or family member, and once tolerability is established can later use a taxi or ride sharing service to return home.

What is the cost of ketamine treatments? Do insurance companies cover it?

I do not directly contract with insurance companies, but instead collect the full fee at time of the visit and provide patients with a superbill that can be submitted to their insurance provider for reimbursement.  Current fees can be found on the new patient intake form, available here.

Visits may be partially covered depending on your insurance plan.  The ketamine administration itself is generally not covered by insurance, however the typical 90 minute long ketamine treatment session involves several other components which may be reimbursed for: the brief medication management (99213, 99214, or 99215) and psychotherapy visit (90833 or 90834) are typically covered by insurance, though this cannot be guaranteed.  In addition, the initial psychiatric evaluation visit (99205) is also typically covered.  I suggest potential patients check with their insurance provider to see what their out-of-network coverage benefits are for the above procedures/CPT codes.  PPO type insurances usually allow for out-of-network benefits, while HMO plans do not.

What can you tell me about the use of ketamine for treatment of addiction or substance use disorders?

Ketamine has been studied for treatment of addiction, specifically to the opiate and street drug, heroin.  Findings suggest that ketamine, as part of a structured therapy program, is effective for the treatment of addiction, perhaps due to biochemical properties as an NMDA receptor antagonist. While studies examining this particular application of ketamine are more limited than those examining treatment of depression, work with compounds that create similar states of consciousness–such as the “classical hallucinogens”: LSD, psilocybin, mescaline, DMT, and ayahuasca–suggest a role for altered states independent of the biochemical effects of ketamine.  Such compounds seem to work to treat addiction via their ability to produce spiritual or mystical experiences. While such “classical hallucinogens” are not currently available for clinical use, there exists a growing literature detailing successful and robust treatment of tobacco and alcohol addiction. Use of the aforementioned compounds outside of a research setting is however illegal, except for ketamine which has been FDA approved for other indications and is consequently available for off-label use to treat such diagnoses as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and addiction / substance use disorders.

What other psychiatric conditions has ketamine been used for?

Treatment resistant depression is, by far, the most extensively studied psychiatric application of ketamine, and has a wealth of data to support its use.  Other indications (or reasons to use ketamine) include drug or alcohol use disorders (specifically for opioid or cocaine use disorders),  Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and eating disorders such as anorexia or bulimia.  On the other hand, data suggests ketamine is less effective for treatment of Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD), but may be worth pursuing on a case by case basis.

Efficacy of intravenous ketamine for treatment of chronic posttraumatic stress disorder a randomized clinical trial.

Where can I learn more?

You are invited to read a review article on ketamine for depression.  The full text is available free of charge from the California Institute of Integral Studies [ full text ].  Ketamine and Depression_ A Review An updated version of this review is available as a book chapter in a larger publication on ketamine.  The book, entitled The Ketamine Papers–Science, Therapy and Transformation, is published by the non-profit Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) and available for purchase through their website and amazon [ order the book via MAPS, or via amazon ].  Also available is a video recording of a presentation on ketamine that I gave for the Aware Project [ YouTube video ].

 

 

 

The Ketamine Papers

 

 2007 Mar;39(1):13-9.

Single versus repeated sessions of ketamine-assisted psychotherapy for people with heroin dependence.

Abstract

A prior study found that one ketamine-assisted psychotherapy session was significantly more effective than active placebo in promoting abstinence (Krupitsky et al. 2002). In this study of the efficacy of single versus repeated sessions of ketamine-assisted psychotherapy in promoting abstinence in people with heroin dependence, 59 detoxified inpatients with heroin dependence received a ketamine-assisted psychotherapy (KPT) session prior to their discharge from an addiction treatment hospital, and were then randomized into two treatment groups. Participants in the first group received two addiction counseling sessions followed by two KPT sessions, with sessions scheduled on a monthly interval (multiple KPT group). Participants in the second group received two addiction counseling sessions on a monthly interval, but no additional ketamine therapy sessions (single KPT group). At one-year follow-up, survival analysis demonstrated a significantly higher rate of abstinence in the multiple KPT group. Thirteen out of 26 subjects (50%) in the multiple KPT group remained abstinent, compared to 6 out of 27 subjects (22.2%) in the single KPT group (p < 0.05). No differences between groups were found in depression, anxiety, craving for heroin, or their understanding of the meaning of their lives. It was concluded that three sessions of ketamine-assisted psychotherapy are more effective than a single session for the treatment of heroin addiction.

How to use psychedelics

How to Take Ketamine to Treat Depression, Anxiety and PTSD

Ketamine is a legal prescription medication used for a variety of purposes– as a pain killer, sedative, anesthetic, and anti-depressant. It’s one of the safest anesthetics in the world and is available in every hospital. Ketamine’s use as an anti-depressant and PTSD treament is growing very quickly and research studies are expanding. Here’s a directory of US doctors offering ketamine treatment for depression, bipolar, PTSD, and other mood disorders.

As the BBC wrote in a 2014 article about ketamine, “Some patients who have faced incurable depression for decades have had symptoms disappear within hours of taking low doses of the drug.”

What makes Ketamine so remarkable for treating depression is that its positive effects begin almost immediately, within 1 – 12 hours, compared to SSRIs that may take weeks to start working, if they work at all. Ketamine also seems to have much fewer side effects than SSRIs (though it hasn’t been studied much for long term use) and is incredibly effective as a treatment for people who don’t respond well to SSRIs and other anti-depressants. If you’ve had limited success with other treatment methods you may respond very well to ketamine.

Before you begin, be sure to read our safety section and ensure that you aren’t taking any medication or supplements that interact with Ketamine.

Dosage

Dosage for ketamine varies depending on whether it’s taken intranasally, intravenously (IV), orally, or sublingually. We recommend taking ketamine orally or sublingually because it’s safe and easy. Many doctors and treatment centers will give ketamine in an IV. Treatment with a doctor / center can be quite expensive but you may be able to find a doctor or center in your area if you google around.

The anti-depressant effect of ketamine typically wears off after a while (a few days to a month), though the relief that is felt while it is active can often lead to lasting improvements. There are various protocols for using ketamine to treat depression– some people take small amounts daily, others weekly, and others monthly. We recommend starting with a moderate dose once a week and adjusting based on how it feels.

How to Take Ketamine Sublingually (Under the Tongue)

Sublingual ketamine seems much more potent than oral ketamine. We suggest starting with a very small “microdose” and trying a little more each session until you find the minimum amount that works for you. You should almost certainly see results using .3mg of ketamine per pound of body weight (or .75mg per kg of body weight). This works out to about 50mg for someone who weighs 160lbs (72kg). But start far below that.

  • STEP ONE
    Prepare your ketamine solution. You’ll want to use one of those little bottles that has an eyedropper in the lid. Maybe you have one around the house with some sort of herbal tincture. Boil some water, then let it cool. Using the eyedropper, wash out the dropper and the bottle with the water, just to get rid of any residue. Put a known amount of ketamine into the bottle. Then add water to the bottle using the eyedropper, carefully counting the drops. You want to use as few drops as possible to dissolve all the ketamine. In a lab you should be able to dissolve 5mg ketamine per drop. If you add this much water and you still see some undissolved ketamine in there, add just enough water to dissolve it all. Carefully swirl it around to speed things up. Now you can give yourself microdoses of ketamine. Just divide the amount of ketamine by the number of drops. If you had 1000mg of ketamine, and added 200 drops of water, you’d know there was 5mg ketamine per drop.
  • TWO
    Find a place where you can sit or lie down comfortably for an hour. Unlike traditional psychedelics like mushrooms, LSD, and even MDMA, the benefits of ketamine do not seem to derive from an exploratory experience while taking the medicine. In addition, the experience at an effective dose is much more gentle. You can read a book, watch TV, etc.
  • THREE
    Looking at yourself in a mirror, put one or two drops under your tongue. This is probably at most 5-10mg. Don’t swallow it, just leave it under your tongue. After 5 minutes or so, you can swallow.
  • FOUR
    The effects will be very subtle but you might feel a slight mellow or sleepy feeling in about 5-15 minutes.
  • FIVE
    The anti-depressant effects of the ketamine generally start to appear about two hours after taking the first dose. In some people the anti-depressant effect is strong right away and in some people it gradually grows over 1-4 days– so you might feel the most relief 4 days after taking the dose.
  • SIX
    See how you feel the next day. If you are less depressed, great! If not, the next time try the previous dose plus one more drop. Don’t take ketamine two days in a row. Once you find a dose that seems to work, see how many days you can wait between doses. Ideally, you would take a dose once a week or once a month. Worst-case, you’d take it every other day. If you get up to 50mg sublingually and it still doesn’t work, it might just not work for you in general.

How to Take Ketamine Orally

We suggest using .6mg of ketamine per pound of body weight (or 1.5mg per kg of body weight). This works out to about 100mg for someone who weighs 160lbs (72kg).

Remember these are oral doses– usually mixed with warm water and swallowed. If you are taking ketamine in an IV the doses should be much, much lower.

  • STEP ONE
    Find a place where you can sit or lie down comfortably for an hour. Unlike traditional psychedelics like mushrooms, LSD, and even MDMA, the benefits of ketamine do not seem to derive from an exploratory experience while taking the medicine. In addition, the experience at an effective dose is much more gentle. You can read a book, watch TV, etc.
  • TWO
    Make sure you have the right dose measured and ready. If you don’t have a mg scale, you can order them cheaply anywhere, including Amazon. They are about $20-$30.
  • THREE
    If it’s your first time, mix about 1/5th of the dose with about an inch of warm water in a mug. If you are taking about 100mg, that would be roughly 20mg. Once you mix it, drink it.
  • FOUR
    A 1/5th dose will be very subtle but you should be able to feel a nice mellow or sleepy feeling in about 5-15 minutes. After 15 minutes, if you feel comfortable with that test dose (and it’s fine if you don’t feel anything at all), then you can mix the rest of the dose with warm water and drink it.
  • FIVE
    As you feel the effects of the dose, again after 5-15 minutes, you will likely feel sleepy or mellow. You can rest, read, watch tv, etc. After about 45 minutes to an hour, the effects will be mostly gone, though you may still feel very relaxed or sleepy for a couple more hours.
  • SIX
    The anti-depressant effects of the ketamine generally start to appear about two hours after taking the first dose. In some people the anti-depressant effect is strong right away and in some people it gradually grows over 1-4 days– so you might feel the most relief 4 days after taking the dose.

Afterwards

The anti-depressant effects of ketamine last for days and sometimes weeks or even a month. We suggest starting with weekly re-dosing, using the same dose, and seeing how it goes. If you find that you don’t need to redose after a week, then wait longer and see how things go. It’s always good to err on the side of taking too little rather than too much. Some people need to redose more often, every few days. You’ll probably get a sense pretty quickly of what works for you.

Special Safety Considerations

Always research any supplements or other medicines that you may be taking to avoid interactions. Here’s a Medscape list of potential interactions. (Note that the dosing levels listed on that site are for inducing anesthesia, which is way way more than what is use for anti-depressant effects.)

Articles and Research on Ketamine for Anxiety and Depression

Research on ketamine is growing quickly and some drug companies are trying to create new versions of ketamine that they can patent.

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One more reason to treat your depression rapidly with Ketamine:

 

Depression Linked to Increased Risk of Developing Atrial Fibrillation

NEW YORK—Depression appears to be a risk factor for atrial fibrillation, the most common arrhythmia in the U.S., according to new observational data from the national Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis (MESA) study.

Considering that 20% of U.S. adults report depressive symptoms, “our findings identify a large portion of the U.S. population that is potentially at an increased risk of developing atrial fibrillation and who may benefit from more targeted efforts to prevent atrial fibrillation,” Dr. Parveen Garg, from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, told Reuters Health by email.

He presented the study March 22 at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology and Prevention/Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions in New Orleans.

The analysis included 6,644 adults (mean age, 62; 53% women, 38% white, 28% black, 22% Hispanic, 12% Chinese-American) with no known heart disease at baseline who were followed for a median of 13 years as part of the MESA study.

In the fully adjusted model, individuals with a Centers for Epidemiologic Studies Depression Scale (CES-D) score of 16 or higher (indicating clinically relevant depressive symptoms) had a 34% (P=0.039) higher risk of developing atrial fibrillation during follow-up compared with those with a CES-D score of less than 2. Similarly, individuals reporting antidepressant use had a significant 36% increase in their risk of developing atrial fibrillation compared with those not on the drugs.

“An important next step is to confirm these results in other studies, especially those with more comprehensive and clinically validated assessments of depression. If confirmed, then it will be important to determine if treating individuals with depression actually reduces their risk of atrial fibrillation,” Dr. Garg said.

Several mechanisms have been proposed to explain a possible link between depression and atrial fibrillation, Dr. Garg explained. Depression can increase systemic inflammation and activate the autonomic nervous system, which increases catecholamine levels, and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, which increases cortisol levels. Depression may also activate the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system.

“Taken together, these changes may induce atrial fibrillation susceptibility either directly by disrupting the electrophysiologic properties of the atria or indirectly by promoting atrial fibrosis, increasing the atrial pressure,” Dr. Garg said, adding that further research is needed to fully understand the mechanisms involved.

Dr. Gordon Tomaselli, a spokesman for the American Heart Association, said this study “affirms the association between depression and atrial fibrillation in a population that I think is important because it’s a mixed population and not just the standard Caucasian population.”

“There are some associated risk factors in people with depression that might increase their risk of atrial fibrillation, including an increased incidence of hypertension in some patients who have depression as well as other disorders that might be driven by activation of the sympathetic nervous system like anxiety disorder. So there are several reasons why people might have depression and atrial fibrillation,” Dr. Tomaselli, who was not involved in the research, told Reuters Health by phone.

“One question is what should we do about it, and I’m not sure we have an answer from this study except to make sure that we are looking for symptoms of depression,” he said. “We don’t know whether treatment of depression will reduce the incidence of atrial fibrillation. There is some reason to think that it might, but there are other reasons to think that antidepressant drugs actually have some effects on the heart, the ion channels that determine the rhythm of the heart.”

The study had no commercial funding and the authors have no relevant disclosures.

SOURCE: https://bit.ly/2pCdkOA

AHA Epidemiology and Prevention – Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health Scientific Sessions 2018.

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Ketamine’s role in treatment of depression: Study

The anaesthetic drug Ketamine has been shown to be beneficial in some cases of depression and suicidal ideation which have typically failed to respond to other standard antidepressant medications. A new study has explored the actual workings of ketamine in depression and found that the drug can act on the same receptors as opioid pain relievers.

The latest study was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry.

For this the researchers from the Stanford’s Neurosciences Institute included 12 volunteers at first. These cases were all of treatment-resistant depression.

The participants were all given infusion of Ketamine. In addition some were administered naltrexone and others normal saline infusion. Naltrexone is a drug that can block the effects of opioids.

Results showed that those on ketamine and saline combination found relief from their depressive symptoms quickly compared to those on ketamine and naltrexone combination. In fact those on ketamine and saline placebo reported at least a 90 percent reduction in their symptoms within the first three days of the infusion.

No such improvement was seen among those on ketamine and naltrexone. This proved that when the opioid actions are blocked, the ketamine cannot function as an antidepressant. Both groups faced certain side effects of ketamine such as an “out-of-the-body” experience, dysphoric feelings, tripping etc. This also showed that the antidepressant action of Ketamine was separate from its usual actions, which were seen in all participants in either group.

The initial trial plan was to include 30 patients. Due to the dramatic improvement seen in one group and no changes in the other, the team decided to stop the trial prematurely. This was to spare patients useless treatment.

Ketamine has been in news recently due to its unexplored potential as an antidepressant. If proven, researchers believe, this could impact depression research significantly. Ketamine has gathered interest mainly because it does not change the brain chemistry unlike other antidepressants. Co-author Boris Heifets, a clinical assistant professor of anesthesiology, perioperative and pain medicine at Stanford explained that ketamine blocks the brain’s receptors for glutamate. Glutamate is an important neurotransmitter in the brain. Many researchers have thought that glutamate could be the key zone where ketamine acts as an antidepressant. Heifets added that ketamine is not a simple drug and has varied targets which could be responsible for its antidepressant activities. A lot of money has been spent on developing agents that could work on the glutamate receptors and try to mimic ketamine’s antidepressant actions.

This study shows that the approach is incorrect and glutamates are not the target lead author Nolan Williams explained. Co-senior study author Dr. Alan Schatzberg, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford explained that the ketamine was not working as “everyone thought it was working.”

Heifets noted that ketamine is a drug of abuse (called “Special K” in party circuits) that has been in use for a long time and there is an abuse potential of this drug acting on the opioid receptors to provide such effects. He warned that this abuse potential should be kept in mind before ketamine comes into the market as an antidepressant.

However the whole team agrees that this new study shows how ketamine can help patients who have intractable depression. New drugs could be developed in the same lines they explain. These drugs could possibly activate the opioid receptors without having abuse potential they add. Williams added that ketamine has been seen to provide relief of symptoms in other mental ailments such as obsessive compulsive disorders and now is the time to explore if opioids play a role in these diseases as well.

Mark George, a professor of psychiatry, radiology and neuroscience at the Medical University of South Carolina in an editorial accompanying the article wrote that this study is a small one and so should be confirmed in larger trials before conclusions could be drawn.

Ketamine | Fairfax | Alexandria | 703-844-0184| Ketamine therapy | Ketamine as an anti-depressant – Is it right for you? | Dr. Sendi | Ketamine physician | Mt. Vernon | Harrisonburg | Virginia

I am posting a Ketamine article I published in “Your Health Magazine” below. There is excellent studies demonstrating the efficacy of Ketmine in multiple disorders, especially depression, PTSD, post-partum depression, suicidality, Obsessive-compulsive disorder, and severl other mental health problems. Likewise, Ketamine is effective in numerous painful conditions, including CRPS, neuropathy, fibromyalgia, post-herpetic neuralgia, phantom-limb pain, and others. I will discuss articles on each in the ensuing months.

I have used Ketamine over the past 20 years with excellent results in multiple settings. I have always been impressed by it’s safety, especially when it comes to respiratory and cardiac situations.

More and more information is coming about Ketamine’s versatility. Even Time magazine had a recent posting regarding it’s use in depression:

New hope in Depression

Ketamine treatment | Dr. Sendi | Fairfax | Alexandria | Virginia | 703-844-0184

Also, a mention in November JAMA 2017 with Dr. Zarate:

Abbasi J. Ketamine Minus the Trip: New Hope for Treatment-Resistant DepressionJAMA.2017;318(20):1964–1966. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.12975

Ketamine minus the trip

Ketamine minus the trip – a new hope in treating depression  < Article

Here is the audio file link regarding Ketamine in JAMA : https://jamanetwork.com/learning/audio-player/14890187

 

 

 

Ketamine has been safely used for over 45 years, serving as an effective anesthetic agent that has also been shown to have benefits in the treatment of a wide variety of painful conditions as well as mood-related disorders. Treatment-resistant depression is an example of a life-threatening disorder that can be improved through the use of specific protocols that involve the infusion of Ketamine. Depression causes tremendous suffering in both quality of life as well as medical problems that result from the stress it produces. Many individuals have tried numerous therapies that have had little to no impact on their depression, leaving them feeling hopeless over their condition. It turns out that for properly selected individuals, Ketamine can provide acute relief within hours to days. Unlike typical antidepressants, Ketamine interacts with certain brain-derived factors that encourage nerve cells to make meaningful connections that can diminish depression within a much shorter time than a standard depression medication. It is a ‘brain reset’ of sorts, allowing underlying medications to be adjusted while your mood is rapidly elevated through genuine changes of brain circuitry.

Ketamine also provides potentially effective treatment in cases of painful conditions, such as RSD/CRPS, trigeminal neuralgia, post-herpetic neuralgia, and several other nerve conditions. Ketamine can be used in an office-based intravenous protocol and then continued in a topical treatment for those who respond well.

Although Ketamine is FDA approved for anesthetic use, it has not been sent to the FDA for approval of any other medical states. However, the evidence for Ketamine’s ability to provide relief in conditions such as PTSD, anxiety disorders, depression, suicidality, post-herpetic neuralgia, CRPS, trigeminal neuralgia, and multiple other conditions has accumulated over 45 years of use in multiple studies. Ketamine is also being evaluated for drug addictions as well as alcohol use disorder. More recently, Ketamine was featured in Time magazine (August 2017) and in JAMA (November 2017) due to the  positive effects it has had in difficult-to-treat depression.

More and more clinics are offering this treatment, which creates new possibilities for improving conditions that formerly had so few options. With proper patient selection and appropriate monitoring, Ketamine can be safely and comfortably used in an office setting. With a standard slow infusion, most people do not even notice any significant side effects. If you have suffered from any of these conditions then ask your specialist if Ketamine may be a solution for you.

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I copied an pasted an article from people’s pharmacy below that has several excellent links:

Time magazine has a cover story (August 7, 2017) titled:

“THE ANTI
ANTIDEPRESSANT

Depression afflicts 16 million Americans.
One third don’t respond to treatment
A surprising new drug may change that”

The drug in question is ketamine. Will ketamine stop suicidal thoughts better than traditional antidepressants?

When someone is suicidal seconds count!

Q. Is ketamine infusion safe for the elderly? My son’s mother-in-law (age 69) has been diagnosed with major depression. She has made two suicide attempts.

I am not sure what she is taking now, but she seems apathetic, worries about everything and interacts inappropriately with family. She is almost completely unresponsive to her grandchildren. This is a total change from her personality five years ago, when she was devoted to her family and engaged with the world.

A. Major depression takes a terrible toll on the individual, family and friends. Suicide attempts are a clear signal that your son’s mother-in-law is desperate and requires expert medical intervention.

Ketamine (Ketalar) is a fascinating drug that has been used since 1962 as a general anesthetic. Over the last several years researchers have discovered that this medication has profound antidepressant activity that kicks in within hours instead of the usual weeks of standard drugs. When someone is suicidal it is dangerous to wait weeks for an antidepressant drug to work.

Will Ketamine Stop Suicidal Thoughts?

A recent meta-analysis found that ketamine is effective in reducing suicidal ideation within four hours (Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, June 2017).  Unfortunately, research has not yet shown how long this effect may last.

This isn’t the first assessment of ketamine in the treatment of suicidal thoughts.

Here are some other reports in the medical literature:

“Sublingual (under the tongue) Ketamine for Rapid Relief of Suicidal Ideation”:

“These cases demonstrate that low doses of sublingual ketamine repeated over a span of hours can induce rapid remission of suicidality in unipolar or bipolar depression.

“Chronic use of oral or sublingual ketamine has been helpful in the past 4 years for many of my patients with mild depressive symptoms.

“Sublingual ketamine may be a practical option for managing suicidality in outpatients as an adjunct to traditional antidepressants and mood stabilizers and could shorten the hospital stay of psychiatric inpatients. Sublingual ketamine is worthy of systematic study as a treatment to provide rapid relief of suicidal ideation.”

Reduction in Suicidal Ideation Following Repeated Doses of Intravenous Ketamine?

…”the evidence to date supporting the clinical use of ketamine as antisuicidal treatment is extremely preliminary, and on the basis of the article by Ionescu et al, conclusions concerning the effects of ketamine on suicidal ideation should be drawn with caution.”

Ketamine Rapidly Relieves Acute Suicidal Ideation in Cancer Patients: A Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial

“Cancer patients experience increased risk and incidence of suicide and other psychiatric disorders.

“In the past 10 years, evidence has emerged showing that sub-anesthetic doses of ketamine (0.5 mg/kg) induce fast-acting antidepressant effects on depressed patients. Antidepressant effects of ketamine were observed as soon as 40 min after infusion and typically lasted at most for 7 days, with some patients experiencing more prolonged mood improvement.

” Collectively, this study provides novel information about the rapid antidepressant effect of ketamine on acute depression and suicidal ideation in newly-diagnosed cancer patients.”

“Ketamine for Treatment of Suicidal Ideation and Reduction of Risk for Suicidal Behavior”

(in Current Psychiatry Reports, June, 2016).

“Our review concludes that ketamine treatment can be seen as a double-edged sword, clinically to help provide treatment for acutely suicidal patients and experimentally to explore the neurobiological nature of suicidal ideation and suicidal behavior.”

Ketamine and Your Mother-In-Law:

There is inadequate research on ketamine infusion in older patients (Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy, April 2017).  Since this medication may alter blood pressure and heart rate, the latest recommendations from the American Psychiatric Association call for monitoring so that immediate care may be provided if necessary (JAMA Psychiatry, April 1, 2017).

More articles from The People’s Pharmacy about whether Ketamine can stop suicidal thoughts are available at these links:

Can Ketamine Jump Start Antidepressant Action?

Radio Show # 983 (FREE): Intriguing Approaches to Overcoming Depression

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Dr. Sendi graduated from Georgetown University Medical School and trained at Pitt County Memorial Hospital, East Carolina University, Greenville, N.C. for his Board Certification in Internal Medicine. He is also ABPSUS Board Certified in Emergency Medicine and Board Certified in Obesity Medicine with the American Board of Obesity Medicine.

Practice Philosophy

NOVA Health Recovery was founded to provide the optimal care to patients suffering from life-altering, preventable illnesses such as Obesity, Addiction, and Pain. We provide progressive therapies for challenging cases of depression, PTSD, neuropathy, CRPS/RSD, and other painful conditions using Ketamine infusions in a comfortable and safely monitored setting. We also use state-of-the-art interventions for addictions of multiple types, providing the tools and support to allow one to move forward in a healthy, successful manner. There is no need to suffer from treatable conditions in which progressive medication assisted therapies, behavioral support, wellness plans, and general health screening can allow you to improve your quality of life. We also use telemedicine to make it easy for you to see your physician from the comfort of your own home.

Professional Memberships:

American College of Physicians, American Society of Addiction Medicine, American Society for Nutrition, The Obesity Society.

Special Interests:

Dr. Sendi has 21 years experience in the medical field. Included experiences are Addiction and Pain Management, Obesity and weight management, lipidology, and wellness. Dr. Sendi is Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Emergency Medicine, and Obesity Medicine. His additional interests include wellness, aging, and health-risk mitigation.

Have you Tried all options for depression and pain?

At NOVA Health Recovery, we understand how painful conditions, such as CRPS, post-herpetic neuralgia, and neuropathies rob your life of comfort and quality. We also recognize the suffering that mental health problems, such as anxiety, depression, and PTSD inflict on people and destroy the ability to enjoy even their best years. Many have exhausted multiple therapies and feel hopeless about any treatment at all. NOVA Health Recovery offers Ketamine treatments to appropriate patients who suffer such conditions. In conjunction with other regimens, Ketamine infusion, offered in a monitored, comfortable setting, may provide improvement. This option may just be what you need to pick up your mood and decrease you pain while your regular medications take effect.

Want to learn more? Schedule a consultation today by calling 703-844-0184.