I wanted to take a moment to answer a common question: Will ketamine cure me?
Ketamine is a very powerful antidepressant, relieving symptoms in about 70% of patients with even severe and treatment symptoms within the first 3 infusions. However, it isn’t a magic wand that will sweep away life’s problem. It won’t make a new life for you – at least not by itself. It is a tool that helps, a lot, and that also allows you to work towards a better life.
As you work to recover from depression it is important to critically evaluate relationships, career path, leisure activities, and other aspects of your personal environment. Often, I see a patient recovering from depression with the help of ketamine infusions who then realizes that they have to fix some of the issues in their life before their mood can continue to improve. I have many patients who are dealing with very significant life events such as going through a divorce, tackling the loss of a loved one, or battling addiction. Ketamine is a very potent and powerful medicine and the ketamine infusions can provide resiliency and flexibility which allow patients to deal with these issues, even very big issues, in a healthy and constructive way.
To supplement ketamine infusions treatments, we strongly suggest additional tools such as therapy, life coaching, or other counseling. These services, and the professionals that provide them, can leverage the benefits that ketamine treatment brings to help patients craft a life that is protective against mood disorders rather than a life that may lead them down the slippery slope of depression and anxiety.
Sometimes patients will also ask if ketamine will give them motivation. Similarly, sometimes patients will tell me that they’re feeling better but that they still have no reason to get out of bed. Ketamine can’t provide you with a reason to get out of bed and won’t give you motivation. It is so important for patients to actively reclaim their lives and the healthy habits that will protect them against depression and anxiety. Getting out of bed even when you don’t want to, finding things to do even when nothing is apparent, making plans and trying to stay productive and useful, and pushing yourself to try to notice and change the thoughts and habits and behaviors that reinforce depression is so important. It’s such hard work, much harder than what I do to administer ketamine. And it is especially hard when life throws speed bumps at you, like a car accident, or a problem with your child, or an illness.
Recovery from depression and anxiety is a bit like physical therapy. If you had broken your leg, and are just taking the cast off, you would never expect to get up and go run a marathon. Similarly, as patients are recovering from deep depression or anxiety you cannot just administer ketamine and then expect to be completely better. There is a phase of recovery from anxiety and depression just like there is a phase of physical therapy after you’ve broken a leg. During this recovery a patient will typically need to use those professionals and loved ones who can provide support, and will need to get out of bed and fight to get better even when it’s hard, and will need to use the host of other measures that we know help with mental health.
Setbacks will happen. Ups and downs are normal. Recovery isn’t straightforward and linear. Some studies show that slightly more than 50% of all thoughts/days/moods in everyday people are negative (not neutral, but negative!). And these studies had screened out people who had depression and anxiety!
The important thing is to persevere using all the tools at your disposal to get better. Thankfully ketamine infusions DO help with this. They are an exceptional treatment option that help in their own right and that make this other work feasible.
Will ketamine cure me? It is an exceptional treatment option that can provide immediate reduction of negative symptoms. And with some extra work many patients have seen extraordinary improvements in their lives.
About Me, Dr Allison Wells: I started Lone Star Infusion, here in Houston, to provide ketamine infusions for depression, anxiety, PTSD, CRPS and other mood disorders and pain conditions. I am a licensed, board-certified anesthesiologist. I am super passionate about being a partner in helping people feel their best with evidence-based medicine.
An Important Disclaimer: The information in this and other blog posts represents my informed opinion or the opinion of others, and does not constitute medical advice and should not be relied upon to make decisions regarding medical care. To address the specific details of your medical conditions and treatments please speak with your doctors.