Ketamine and Anxiousness
Ketamine and Anxiousness
Anxiousness (in all its forms, including panic attacks, social phobias, and more) and depression are two mental health problems that plague millions of Americans each year. This year, more than 40 million people will be affected by an anxiousness disorder, and over 16 million will suffer from a major depressive disorder.
Ketamine has traditionally been used as an anesthetic and has been FDA-approved as such for several decades. However, it has recently been discovered as a fast-acting, long-lasting, and very effective treatment for anxiousness and depression.
While there are several other treatment options for both disorders, some people are resistant to the typical treatment paths. Ketamine should be considered as an option for people who have tried different approaches with minimal results. Keep reading to learn more about ketamine for anxiety and its use in treating anxiousness and depression.
An Alternative Treatment Method
Before ketamine was discovered as an effective alternative treatment method for anxiousness disorders, treatment-resistant patients could only keep trying different medications combined with therapies such as CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) or MBT (mentalization-based therapy).
Since no good current strategies are available for non-responders, novel agents like ketamine are being studied very seriously, and it is becoming more evident that ketamine is a rapidly effective option for treating an array of anxiousness disorders.
How Does it Work?
Over time, neural connections in the brain are weakened by chronic stress and depression. Additionally, depression also lowers the number of synapses in the brain.
Ketamine is a chemical that binds to the NMDA receptor and releases a glutamate surge to restore these connections directly. This releases growth factors like BDNF (brain-derived neurotrophic factor), which help the brain make new synaptic connections, paving the way for healthier thought patterns.
But ketamine affects more than one type of chemical or receptor in the brain. It’s a very complex chemical that works in multiple areas of the brain, which is why it can have various effects. One of the most significant ways ketamine affects the brain is by working with a chemical called glutamate. Glutamate is one of the essential chemicals in your brain because it facilitates communication between nerve cells, which is how your brain functions.
In high enough doses, ketamine can block glutamate throughout the brain, slowing down nervous system communications. This is what makes ketamine useful as a sedative. However, ketamine’s glutamate effects seem to depend on the dose administered. In low doses, ketamine can actually increase glutamate levels, facilitating enhanced communication between neurons in the brain. These increased communications, when combined with counseling during treatment sessions, have proven to alleviate the symptoms of anxiousness in treatment-resistant patients.