Citation: N.J. Gregory. "A Medical Depression Cure: An Experience with Ketamine (exp108770)". Erowid.org. Jul 30, 2016. erowid.org/exp/108770
Ketamine Infusion - A Medical Depression Cure
This report of Ketamine use is probably fairly different from the others in that it is about legal in-clinic use instead of clandestine illicit use. My experience with ketamine IV infusion lead to a complete cure for severe clinical depression. Truthfully it was ½ of a complete cure, the other half being having my misdiagnosed neurological pain disease diagnosed and treated correctly. Having been misdiagnosed for about a decade left me in a constant extreme depression. At times when it seemed there would be no resolution there were also thoughts of suicide, really euthanasia, in that the pain was so extreme and overwhelming and constant; I was being tortured alive.
Seeking to save my life my father sought out therapeutic solutions including eventually coming across a ketamine infusion clinic in Denver Colorado. Five of the six infusions I would come to do took place in 2014, mostly in the beginning half of the year. The first three were done two weeks apart. During the first three, I did not see much obvious improvement and began doubting the process. I was still deep in an extreme depression and couldn’t see my way out. By the fourth infusion I started to feel better, my moods seemed to improve and it seemed harder and harder to remain in dark unbearably painful moods for days at a time, I started to feel somewhat normal. At the same time the doctor running my ketamine infusions was fixing my diagnosis and corrected it and started me on the correct medications to treat my neurological pain disease known as “Complex Regional Pain Syndrome” (CRPS). Although depression is a side effect of CRPS, the extreme depression seemed like a separate and extreme disease. I did not believe it would be possible for anything to completely cure the depression, and thought that it would be something I would have to live with for the rest of my life. Much to my surprise, by the time we got to the 4th and then 5th infusion, I was finding that I still would have some minor depressive episodes, but that in general I was no longer depressed
I was finding that I still would have some minor depressive episodes, but that in general I was no longer depressed
, and felt mostly like a normal person does who is not living with depression.
Before this another psychiatrist had tried me on every SSRI and SNRI and Tricyclic antidepressant drug for depression that are commonly used; and numerous ones that are obscure as well. Of all the pharmaceutical treatments I’ve tried for depression, ketamine infusion is the only one that worked for me at all.
Barriers To Wider Acceptance:
It is very important to realize not all ketamine infusion treatments are equal, some doctors know what they're doing more than others. Some doctors are sloppy, have a very poor protocol, and just dump a syringe full of ketamine in a saline bag and call it good. My doctor says he has an 80% success rate (not success in terms of a complete 'cure', but in terms of measurably better overall mood) and the effect is lasting. I did the first infusions I've done in the beginning of 2014, and two years later I am still having no depression at all, to this day. It's like a miracle, so now the struggle is getting the word out to all the people who need to know they need to try this. In my experience there are almost no negatives side effects to speak of, and the process is mostly pleasant. The worst side effect I've experienced was vomiting after 1 of the 6 infusions I've done; otherwise there were no other negative side effects for me, and I'm told that is usually the case for almost everyone else too. For many the most difficult part of receiving this treatment is paying for it out of pocket, because insurance doesn't pay for ketamine infusions yet.
It's amazing that it worked, but it's also just as amazing that people don't believe me and often won't listen when I tell them the truth about it. They usually protest that it costs $770 each infusion, despite that even if you do 6 of them like I did for a total of about $4200 out of pocket (insurance won't pay for this), it is still a fraction of the other currently utilized treatment for 'treatment resistant depression', which is electroshock therapy at a cost of $50,000+ and a hospital stay. Also they fail to realize that if you can come up with the money for 3 treatments at $2100, you'll get most of the benefits and could stop there if the financial aspect is too much at present. As this is the case, if you can come up with the $2100 then you are much more likely to earn more money in your job anyways, as a result of being depression free.
Illicit vs. Licit Use:
Also there is more to the therapeutic process than just NMDA antagonization alone.
I’ve talked to the doctor about why an infusion offers therapeutic results, but why intranasal, IM, or IV use is not-therapeutic (enough). He said that the goal it to antagonize the NMDA and glutamate receptor system for as long as possible, and the other ROAs metabolize off the drug way too fast to offer lasting depression relief. He said doing it by the other ROAs do not offer any substantial depression relief, probably because the receptors aren't activated for a long and consistent period, because the body metabolizes ketamine so quickly. He said that when people believe they're getting depression relief from illicit ketamine use they're experiencing a sort of partially-true-delusion, and don't realize how ineffective it is, and it creates a cycle of use, relief, then greater depression. There is also the risk of damaging the bladder with clandestine use that is not an issue with in-clinic infusions.
Citing the Doctor:
Fortunately the doctor who administered my ketamine infusions has undertaken the effort to publish his results in academic journals. I’ll include the abstract to one of his articles, as I feel it summarizes the process and explains the psychopharmacology far better that I am be able to; as well as explaining the potential cause of lasting benefits. Here is the Abstract about his journal submission.
[Reported Dose: '0.5-2 mgkg slow IV-infusion']
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