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. Suicide continues to be a leading cause of death worldwide, yet few treatments are available to lessen the risk. As a clinic that specializes in treating Major Depressive Disorder, anxiety, and PTSD, this subject is crucial to us.
What Are The Statistics?
Death by suicide has been on the rise for over a decade. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 703,000 people a year take their life worldwide. For every suicide, there are likely 20 other people making a suicide attempt, and many more have serious thoughts of suicide. 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. Also surprising, suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death for ages 10-34 and the 4th leading cause of death for ages 35-54. Suicide rates amongst men aged 15-24 experienced the most significant increase this past year at a staggering 8%.
Diagnosing Suicidal Ideation
An underlying mental health issue often lays the foundation for suicidal ideation. 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. Recently, research has highlighted how stress is often a precipitating factor overlooked in the literature. In any of the above situations, contacting a health professional is necessary to work through the cause of such thoughts.
What Are The Treatments?
For non-emergency situations, many traditional outpatient treatments are available for those with suicidal ideation. Psychological counseling can help explore the issues that led to 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
Traditional therapies sometimes 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 the 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 been shown to be 70% effective in TDD. According to a review published in ScienceDirect, “recent findings from human and animal research (are) demonstrating rapid-acting mechanisms via which ketamine effectively rescues stress-induced pathologies linked to suicide risk.” In addition, they also discovered additional impacts on clinical risk factors: ketamine improves mood, sleep, and reward processing
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 expand the duration 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 having suicidal thoughts, 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.