Ketamine was first synthesized in 1963 - it was found to be a much safer anesthetic medication than other options at that time.
Most antidepressants act by increasing certain levels of neurotransmitters (Serotonin, Norepinephrine, and Dopamine). Ketamine Works differently; when Ketamine is given, it binds to a receptor in the brain called the N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor. When Ketamine binds to this receptor it temporarily blocks the action of a neurotransmitter called Glutamate. A large number of clinical studies suggest dysfunction of the glutamatergic system is one of the primary issues in mood disorders.
Because Ketamine works on an entirely different neurotransmitter than other antidepressants, it is often effective when other antidepressants have not provided any, or minimal reductions in symptoms.
BDNF is a protein that encourages the growth of new neurons and synapses. Ketamine increases the expression of this protein in the brain significantly. Chronic stress, chronic pain, depression, anxiety, inflammation, and PTSD can damage the brain over time. Increasing BDNF is crucial to repair what has been damaged. This is how Ketamine helps to “re-wire” the brain, which is the primary aim of Ketamine Assisted Therapy.
Inflammation is a causal factor in mood disorders. Reduction of inflammation is also a primary modality in treating pain conditions. Ketamine decreases the levels of inflammatory compounds in the brain. Specifically, it decreases IL-1, IL-6, TNF-a, CRP, and MCP-1. Ketamine’s anti-inflammatory actions are an important aspect of how it works in both the treatment of mood disorders and pain conditions.
When someone is in pain for a long time, their brain gets used to receiving pain signals.
Eventually, the brain becomes hyper-reactive to painful stimulus. Chronic pain patients find themselves always in at least some pain.
Ketamine interrupts these signals and gives the brain a chance to “reset” the way that it’s registering the amount of pain it receives.
This process can decrease the level of baseline pain a chronic pain patient experiences on a day to day basis.
Pain conditions that are often effectively treated by Ketamine include: Fibromyalgia, Neuropathic pain, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), and Trigeminal Neuralgia.
The default mode network in your brain produces most of the normal conscious thoughts that you have on a day to day basis. In depression, the default mode network is hijacked by other parts of the brain, with the result being that resting thought becomes entirely consumed with negative ruminations. By temporarily disconnecting these areas chemically, Ketamine can disrupt the cycle that is causing unwanted negative thought patterns. When this effect is combined with therapy and Ketamine’s neuroplastic influence, new pathways can be forged that train the brain to think positively again.
Everyone is different. Here at Transcend, we practice individualized treatment, and therefore, the number of sessions per person will look different. Though KAP is a series for a reason, and we do encourage once a week for at least 4 weeks in order to build momentum. We can’t predict a series length until we are further along with the process.
Your health is worth the time.