The leading cause of disability across the globe, depression affects over 18 million Americans. Those suffering from this disorder deal with a wide range of symptoms, including moodiness, sleeplessness, lack of energy and focus, a feeling of guilt and worthlessness, weight gain or weight loss and even thoughts of suicide.
As late as the early years of the 21st century, most medical professionals treated their patients with antidepressants that took up to eight weeks to work—if they were successful at all. To make matters worse, these drugs were the source of side effects such as nausea, dizziness, drowsiness, weight gain, insomnia and reduced sexual desire.
New Use for One-Time Anesthetic
In the past decade, ketamine has changed the way depression is treated. More than half a century ago, it was primarily an anesthetic, but has now become a useful tool in counteracting the effects of severe depression quickly without unwanted side effects. Ketamine is administered through an IV infusion or injection with a dose determined by the patient’s weight. Since patients receive small amounts, the treatment does not put them to sleep.
“Most people feel relaxed and may experience some sensory distortions, such as seeing colors, feeling a distortion of time or having sounds seem louder or further away,” according to Dr. Erin Amato, adult, child and adolescent psychiatrist with the Montana Psychiatry & Brain Health Center.
Most insurance policies don’t cover the use of ketamine as a treatment for depression, but Dr. Amato pointed out that many patients opt for the drug, anyway.
“Many people find that the ability to be more productive at work, enjoy their daily activities and relationships, and, sometimes, even prevent the need for hospitalization during life-threatening episodes, offsets the cost,” Dr. Amato says.
Depression can have a major effect on a person’s home, work and social life, and, even worse, it can lead to suicide. Therefore, a treatment that takes effect as quickly as possible is vitally important for people suffering from the symptoms of severe depression. Suicide is the most common cause of death in the United States for those between the ages of 10 and 24. Among people of all ages, the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention points out that Americans try to kill themselves an estimated 1.1 million times each year, and that number is on the rise.
If you or a loved one is suffering from the symptoms of depression, you can learn more about innovative ways to treat this debilitating condition by getting in touch with the Montana Psychiatry & Brain Health Center. You can visit https://mtpsychiatry.com/ or call 406-413-9342.
At Montana Psychiatry & Brain Health Center, we are dedicated to serving the mental health needs of children and adults in our region. We aim to provide compassionate, thoughtful, and comprehensive care by using an integrated approach that focuses on biological, psychological, and social factors that are unique to each patient. We strive for excellence in our delivery of care to restore hope and quality of life for patients and families.
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