suicide prevention

Ketamine Infusion Therapy: Helping Those with Suicidal Ideation

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Bringing awareness to this often-stigmatized topic is key to ensuring those who suffer from suicidal ideation can find the right resources to help them. As a clinic that specializes in treating Major Depressive Disorder, this subject is crucial to us.

 

The Statistics

Death by suicide has been on the rise for over a decade. In 2020, on average, 132 Americans died by suicide each day, and over 1.4 million Americans attempted suicide, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. Men are more likely to die by suicide 3.6 times more often than women; however, women were 1.4 times more likely to attempt it. Another surprising figure is suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for ages 10-34 and the 4th leading cause of death ages 35-54.

 

The diagnosis

Most often, suicidal ideation is linked to an underlying mental health issue. For others, alcohol or substance abuse can play a role in suicidal thoughts. In some cases, suicidal thinking can be related to an underlying physical health problem, and blood tests or other medical tests may be necessary to diagnose. In yet another, albeit rare scenario, prescription or over-the-counter drugs can cause suicidal ideation. In any of the above situations, contacting a health professional is necessary to work through the cause of such thoughts.

 

Treatments

For non-emergency situations, a myriad of traditional outpatient treatments is available for those with suicidal ideation. Psychological counseling can help explore the issues that led to the suicidal thoughts and help learn skills to manage emotions. Medications are often prescribed, such as antidepressants, anti-psychotic drugs, anti-anxiety medications, etc., to help reduce symptoms. Addiction treatment can also aid those whose suicidal ideation stems from substance abuse.

 

Ketamine Infusion Therapy

In some instances, traditional therapies don’t provide the relief needed to recover from suicidal thoughts. Prescription medications can take weeks or months to take effect, and the efficacy is variable and often incomplete. As a result, 66% of patients suffer treatment-resistant depression and endure months of trial treatments and adjunctive therapies in hopes of relief.

 

Ketamine infusion therapy has proven to be rapidly effective in remission of depressive symptoms of MDD, TDD, and BD, in some cases providing temporary relief within hours of the first infusion. It is remarkably effective in aborting suicidal ideations with a single IV infusion. Ketamine has shown to be 70% effective in TDD. Although the response to a single infusion is short-lived (a matter of days), repeat administration over a short time (typically two weeks) can extend the length of remission, with some patients enjoying improvement for as long as six months. Additional “booster” treatments can be given that continually extend the length of remission of symptoms. Ketamine infusions are safe, rapid, and effective. Consequently, ketamine infusion therapy is revolutionizing the treatment of depressive disorders.

 

If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911 immediately. If you are interested in exploring Ketamine Infusion Therapy to treat suicidal ideation or depression, call our clinic at 505-639-4973 or click here.

 

woman looking at hot air balloons

Ketamine Infusion Therapy for Anxiety Disorders; A New Approach

According to the ADAA, Anxiety Disorders are the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting 40 million adults aged 18 or older or 18.1% of the population every year. Anxiety disorders often develop from a complex set of risk factors such as genetics, brain chemistry, personality, and life events. In addition, those with a chronic anxiety disorder are more likely to suffer from depression or vice versa.

What is Chronic Anxiety?

Chronic anxiety, among other mental health disorders such as depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder, are all thought to be due to the destructive effect of continual stress on the brain, leading to neuronal damage and the creation of maladaptive neural activity and abnormal thought patterns indicative of these disorders.

According to statistics, only 36.9% of those suffering from anxiety disorders receive treatment. Those who seek treatment are often given either a generic antidepressant, such as an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor), an SNRI (selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor), or a benzodiazepine. If they don’t respond to one of these, they get a trial of another or several, unfortunately, it. Unfortunately, it has shown that as many as 40% of these patients will not achieve remission when 3 or 4 traditional agents are used, including cognitive-behavioral therapy or mentalization-based therapy.

Ketamine and Anxiety Disorders

Research suggests that one of ketamine’s significant actions is as an N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist; that is, it blocks activation of the NMDA receptor. This action leads to increased release of glutamate, which is known to be involved in neuronal plasticity and synaptic growth and repair. Through complex pathways, these effects lead to the release of Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a substance responsible for the maintenance of healthy neurons and their connections, known as synapses.

Increased BDNF reportedly brings about repair and regrowth of damaged synapses and neuronal connections caused by chronic stress in animal models. Likewise, in humans, ketamine is thought to assist in creating new neuronal circuits and/or repair of the healthy neuronal connections that existed in the brain before the patient suffered from depression, PTSD, OCD, and/or chronic anxiety disorder.

Ketamine Treatment Timeline

Most patients report feeling immediate relief from their anxiety-induced symptoms. In a small study of patients with generalized anxiety disorder and/or social anxiety disorder, the impact of just one infusion lasted for up to 14 weeks. Most treatments, however, begin with a series of several infusions over two weeks, and single-dose “booster” treatments are administered at a period of two weeks to months after the initial transfusion. This method has been shown to prolong the effect of the medication in many patients.

According to Prakash Masand, MD, co-founder, chairman, and CEO of Centers of Psychiatric Excellence (COPE) (https://www.copepsychiatry.com) and adjunct professor at the Academic Medicine Education Institute, Duke-National University of Singapore Medical School (Duke-NUS), “Ketamine has been studied and shown [to be] effective with an array of anxiety disorders, including SAD, general anxiety disorder (GAD), and PTSD.”

Ketamine Infusions Available Right Here in Albuquerque

The use of ketamine continues to be studied and used as an effective treatment for various mood disorders. As part of the medical and psychotherapy community, we are committed to developing ways to collaborate when offering patients faster, safer, and more effective solutions to improve their quality of life.

To learn more about Ketamine Infusion Therapy, click here or call 505-639-4973 to schedule a private consultation.

Tranquility Ketamine Clinic is a leading provider of ketamine infusion therapy in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Founded by two experienced emergency room physicians with over 50 years combined practice administering ketamine in the emergency department, the clinic provides effective treatments for depression, PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder), chronic pain, OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), anxiety, stress, and burnout in comfortable private rooms at its Northeast Albuquerque location.

free from chronic pain

Treating Chronic Pain Without Opioids

Chronic pain is defined as the experience of daily pain for over 12 weeks. What is shocking is that according to the statistics, chronic pain affects between 50-100 million adults in the U. S. yearly and over 1.5 billion people worldwide. In addition, chronic pain is the leading cause of long-term disability in the U. S. today. Traditionally, patients with chronic pain are treated with opioid analgesics.

Opioids Aren’t the Answer

Initially, opioids provide pain relief for most patients. Unfortunately, these effects are short-lived. Over a relatively short period of time, the neurons involved respond by the overexpression of the opiate receptors, leading to decreased responsiveness and effectiveness to these medications. As a result of the reduced efficacy, larger doses administered more frequently are needed. Too often, patients develop medication tolerance, dependence, and addiction.

 

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, approximately 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them. In 2019, nearly 50,000 people in the United States died from opioid-involved overdoses. Statistics like these are glaring evidence of a severe national crisis affecting public health and socio-economic welfare.

Ketamine Infusion Therapy: An Alternative Treatment

Ketamine has been popular for surgical use for its anesthetic properties since the 1960s. Over the last several years, Ketamine Infusions have been used to treat depression, chronic pain, and a number of other mood disorders. The administration of intravenous low-dose Ketamine is surprisingly effective in rapidly improving the symptoms of depression, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and other mental health conditions, as well as chronic pain syndromes. This effect is supported by numerous studies conducted at reputable research centers from 2000 to the present.

How Does Ketamine Work?

When Ketamine binds to N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors in your brain, it helps increase the amount of a neurotransmitter called glutamate. Glutamate activates connections in another brain receptor, which triggers the release of molecules that allow neurons to find new pathways to communicate with each other in your brain. This process is called synaptogenesis, and it’s thought to affect your mood and thought patterns.

Ketamine Infusion Therapy for Chronic Pain

Ketamine infusions have been shown to rapidly provide up to a 50% decrease in patient-reported pain levels in patients that respond to these treatments. Ketamine is particularly effective for many chronic pain syndromes, particularly neuropathic pain syndromes, such as chronic regional pain syndrome (CRPS). Ketamine is thought to improve chronic pain in a novel way by blocking the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor. This NMDA blockade is believed to allow the pain pathways in the brain and spine to “reset,” allowing a more normalized response to pain signals from the body’s nerves. This resetting of the pain pathways may last for weeks to months and can be maintained with occasional booster treatments, as needed.

Ketamine allows a decrease in painful symptoms as well as a decrease in the need for opioid medications. In addition, there is a clear overlay of depressive symptoms and chronic anxiety for many patients suffering from chronic pain disorders. Therefore, Ketamine’s ability to decrease the symptoms of depression and anxiety can lessen the compounding effect these conditions have on the patient’s pain level.

To learn more about Ketamine Infusion Therapy, click here or call 505-639-4973 to schedule a private consultation.

Tranquility Ketamine Clinic is a leading provider of Ketamine infusion therapy in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Founded by two experienced emergency room physicians with over 50 years combined practice administering Ketamine in the emergency department, the clinic provides effective treatments for depression, PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder), chronic pain, OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), anxiety, stress, and burnout in comfortable private rooms at its Northeast Albuquerque location.

Latina Woman with PTSD

PTSD and Ketamine Infusion Therapy; Understanding How it Works

Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder that can occur in those who have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event. A natural disaster, a serious accident, a terrorist act, war/combat, or assault or the threat of death, sexual violence, or serious injury are all types of events that can lead to PTSD. While PTSD can occur in all people, according to the American Psychiatric Association, PTSD affects approximately 3.5 percent of U.S. adults every year, and an estimated one in 11 people will be diagnosed with PTSD in their lifetime. Women are twice as likely as men to have PTSD. Three ethnic groups – U.S. Latinos, African Americans, and American Indians – are disproportionately affected and have higher rates of PTSD than non-Latino whites.

Traditionally, PTSD patients receive treatment such as psychotherapy and medication such as anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication. While psychotherapy plays an integral role in recovery, most medicines prescribed have variable success rates, have a high incidence of unfavorable side-effects, and slow onset of benefit.

PTSD and Ketamine; An Accidental Discovery

Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic medication first synthesized by a chemist in 1962, looking for an efficient yet safer option. Thanks to ketamine’s favorable safety profile, it rapidly replaced morphine as the “buddy drug” given by soldiers to their wounded comrades in pain on the battlefield during the Vietnam War and is still being used on battlefields today. 

During Operation Iraqi Freedom in the 1990s, doctors made a discovery. Those injured soldiers who received ketamine during their operations had a lower prevalence of PTSD than soldiers receiving no ketamine during their surgeries, despite having more severe injuries, undergoing more surgeries, and spending more time in the ICU. (National Library of Medicine).

How Ketamine Works

Research suggests that one of ketamine’s significant actions is as an N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist; that is, it blocks activation of the NMDA receptor. This action leads to increased glutamate release, which is known to be involved in neuronal plasticity and synaptic growth and repair. Through complex pathways, these effects lead to the release of Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a substance responsible for the maintenance of healthy neurons and their connections, known as synapses. It is thought that ketamine leads to creating new neuronal circuits and repairing the healthy neuronal connections that existed in the brain before the patient suffered PTSD.

It is surmised that ketamine blocks the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors increasing glutamate in the regions of the brain involved in emotion and long-term memory formation. This causes the suppression of maladaptive emotions and memories, allowing more adaptive neural circuitry and more positive emotions, and fewer negative memories.

Fast Relief

Ketamine Infusions are particularly valuable for those patients who have not responded favorably to other treatments and medications. Patients often report an improvement in PTSD symptoms within a few hours or days, in comparison to weeks or months, it takes for other therapies to begin working.

However, ketamine infusions are not a cure for PTSD and should be thought of as an adjunctive therapy that may provide rapid and lasting symptomatic relief from this condition. Patients suffering from PTSD are advised to continue with other treatments with the guidance of mental health professionals.

Ketamine Infusions Available Locally in Albuquerque, New Mexico

The use of ketamine continues to be studied and used as an effective treatment for various mood disorders. As part of the medical and psychotherapy community, we are committed to developing ways to collaborate when offering patients faster, safer, and more effective solutions to improve their quality of life.

To learn more about Ketamine Infusion Therapy, click here or call 505-639-4973 to schedule a private consultation.

Tranquility Ketamine Clinic is a leading provider of ketamine infusion therapy in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Founded by two experienced emergency room physicians with over 50 years combined practice administering ketamine in the emergency department, the clinic provides effective treatments for depression, PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder), chronic pain, OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder), anxiety, stress, and burnout in comfortable private rooms at its Northeast Albuquerque location.