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Carolina Wellness Psychiatry, PLLC

Psychiatrists serving Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill, North Carolina

More than 17 million Americans are diagnosed with major depression every year, yet one-third of them won’t get the relief they need from antidepressant medications. If you struggle with severe depression despite treatment, ketamine therapy may offer relief. At Carolina Wellness Psychiatry, PLLC, Elizabeth Bullard, MD, and Allison Foroobar, MD, have expertise in treatment-resistant depression and the role of ketamine. To learn more about this innovative therapy, call the office in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, or schedule an appointment online today.

Ketamine Q & A

What is ketamine?

Ketamine is a common surgical anesthetic. The effect of ketamine, however, depends on the dose. When given in a low, sub-anesthetic dose, ketamine can effectively relieve pain and improves the symptoms of several mental health disorders, including depression.

How does ketamine treat mental health disorders?

Ketamine directly affects a neurotransmitter called glutamate, a biochemical that’s closely associated with your overall mental health. Several psychological disorders may develop when glutamate levels are out of balance. 

As ketamine restores the proper balance, symptoms of conditions such as depression improve. In addition to restoring glutamate, ketamine may also help repair stress-induced nerve damage. 

Ketamine has a very rapid onset of action.  Each patient responds differently, but some patients with depression feel their mood lift within hours and about 60% of those treated with ketamine experience a significant improvement in their depression within 24 hours. 

What mental health conditions may benefit from ketamine?

Ketamine can be used to treat severe depression, treatment-resistant depression, and suicidality. 

One-third of all patients with depression don’t improve after trying two different types of antidepressant medications. This condition, called treatment-resistant depression, typically responds well to ketamine therapy.

The rapid results achieved with ketamine make it especially beneficial for patients who are suicidal. Studies also show that ketamine may improve the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), bipolar depression, social anxiety disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.

What should I expect during ketamine treatment?

Carolina Wellness Psychiatry, PLLC, administers intranasal ketamine during a 60 min appointment. You relax in a comfortable chair and stay under the supervision of a highly trained physician throughout your treatment.

Administration of intranasal ketamine takes about 20-30 minutes, and you stay under observation for a short time after your treatment is finished. During the administration of intranasal ketamine, you may experience side effects such as feeling like you’re in a dream. Some patients develop lightheadedness, nausea, confusion, blurry vision, or slurred speech. If side effects appear, they go away quickly after your infusion.

Your response to ketamine is evident over your first few infusions. If your symptoms improve, your physician may recommend a series of ketamine treatments to prolong your results.

If you need help with treatment-resistant depression, call Carolina Wellness Psychiatry, PLLC, or schedule an appointment online to explore ketamine.