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.
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.
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.
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.