The Differences Between Ketamine and Antidepressants

The Differences Between Ketamine and Antidepressants

Ketamine and antidepressants both affect the brain chemicals that are responsible for regulating your mood, but ketamine can have fewer side effects and be even more effective than traditional antidepressants. 

At Ketaesthetic in Midtown Manhattan, New York City, our team of ketamine infusion specialists provides groundbreaking treatment in a comfortable and discreet outpatient setting. Our goal is to help patients overcome major depression with safe, effective IV ketamine therapy. 

Ketamine vs. antidepressants

Ketamine is technically classed as a dissociative anesthetic and is commonly used in surgical procedures. It can be used in high doses as an anesthetic when treating adults, children, and even animals. 

However, in small doses, ketamine is becoming a preferred mode of therapy for treatment-resistant depression, in which patients don’t respond well to traditional antidepressants. It can also be used to treat anxiety disorders like PTSD and for chronic pain such as migraines or back pain. 

In contrast, antidepressants aren’t classed as anesthetics. Instead, these drugs fall into four different classes, including:

Many antidepressants work by inhibiting your brain’s reuptake of neurotransmitters, such as the “feel good” chemical serotonin, to increase your overall neurotransmitter levels. Others work by preventing these chemicals from binding to certain receptors to allow the chemicals to build up in your brain. 

Ketamine may help even if antidepressants don’t 

Around 10-30% of patients simply don’t respond to antidepressant medication. They may try drug after drug for months on end, waiting for something to work, only to be disappointed. Alternatively, the side effects of antidepressant medication may be too severe to continue taking the medication.

If you have severe treatment-resistant depression, there is still hope. Studies show that just one treatment of low-dose ketamine helps between 50-70% of patients with major depression experience a marked improvement in symptoms and mood. 

Ketamine works faster than many antidepressants

Like antidepressants, ketamine also affects neurotransmitters that regulate your moods. However, antidepressants target serotonin and dopamine and can take weeks to have any effect on your depression.

Low-dose ketamine directly affects levels of another brain chemical known as glutamate, helping to balance it swiftly and causing your mood to lift. Most patients feel a difference in just a few hours. After a few sessions, the effects may be semi-permanent. You can return to our office as needed at spaced-out intervals to keep your depression at bay. 

If you’re dealing with treatment-resistant depression, learn more about using low-dose ketamine for depression by calling 973-604-3848 or requesting an appointment online

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