jennifer jowens

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How Ketamine works

With the rising awareness related to mental health, it is of vital importance to discuss the treatment modalities available for depression, one of the most common mental health concerns. Antidepressant drugs are used conventionally, IV hydration therapy has proven to be effective too but IV ketamine therapy stays on the top as it can treat treatment resistance patients of depression as well.

This is the very vague question that how does ketamine works in the body as the scientist doesn’t exactly know that how it works. It is quite common in medicine that we don’t know about a lot of drugs that how they work. But the scientists do know that ketamine infusion leads to the production of important and useful effects in the body.

There are several things about ketamine, which we do know, based on which it has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of depression. Ketamine can rapidly alleviate the signs and symptoms of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Even it can relieve pain-related conditions too such as complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). Ketamine can have a very immediate effect on the symptoms of acute suicidal thoughts and acute anxiety. It can also aid in treating over 50% of the patients with mood disorders like depression, PTSD, anxiety even in the cases of treatment-resistant depression too. 

This has been coming into our knowledge through a large body of research and from clinical results

Mechanism of ketamine:

Ketamine mainly works by altering several receptors and multiple pathways in the brain and the body both. One of the major pathways is the glutamate pathway. As ketamine is an NMDA receptor antagonist, it attaches with the NMDA receptor protein on the cell membranes and blocks the glutamate from sticking there. There are no other NMDA receptor antagonists which have been found to have such strong anti-depressant effects or any antidepressant effects at all.

Additionally, Ketamine also affects the mTOR pathway and the AMPA receptor including the opioid receptors in the brain too however it is still not clear that to what extent each pathway interacts with the other or if one pathway is more important as compared to the other. The mTOR pathway is considered to be the way ketamine drives the growth of new neural connections but again the science does not know exactly how ketamine increases neural connectivity and neuroplasticity.

Mainly the other antidepressants target one of the neurotransmitters “monoamine” for example serotonin, norepinephrine, or dopamine all targets monoamine whereas Ketamine targets glutamate which is the brain’s most common excitatory chemical messenger. Controlling the brain’s ability to process cognitive thoughts, neuroplasticity, and emotions, glutamate can favor and strengthen synaptic connections. It also plays a major part in how an individual learns, remembers, and reacts to experiences.

There is another mechanism through which ketamine can reduce inflammation and increases stress resilience. Stress usually causes structural changes in the brain. Ketamine balances these alterations by promoting synaptic growth in affected areas of the depressed parts of the brain like the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. These are the parts that control your behavior, mood, personality development, and memory.

Based on these mechanisms, IV ketamine infusion has been widely used by the anesthesiologist as anesthesia and also by physicians to treat depression. Ketamine infusion therapy has shown promising results among treatment-resistant patients. With the rising awareness related to mental health, it is of vital importance to discuss the treatment modalities available for depression, one of the most common mental health concerns. Antidepressant drugs are used conventionally, IV hydration therapy has proven to be effective too but IV ketamine therapy stays on the top as it can treat treatment resistance patients of depression as well.

This is the very vague question that how does ketamine works in the body as the scientist doesn’t exactly know that how it works. It is quite common in medicine that we don’t know about a lot of drugs that how they work. But the scientists do know that ketamine infusion leads to the production of important and useful effects in the body.

There are several things about ketamine, which we do know, based on which it has been approved by the FDA for the treatment of depression. Ketamine can rapidly alleviate the signs and symptoms of anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Even it can relieve pain-related conditions too such as complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS). Ketamine can have a very immediate effect on the symptoms of acute suicidal thoughts and acute anxiety. It can also aid in treating over 50% of the patients with mood disorders like depression, PTSD, anxiety even in the cases of treatment-resistant depression too. 

This has been coming into our knowledge through a large body of research and from clinical results

Mechanism of ketamine:

Ketamine mainly works by altering several receptors and multiple pathways in the brain and the body both. One of the major pathways is the glutamate pathway. As ketamine is an NMDA receptor antagonist, it attaches with the NMDA receptor protein on the cell membranes and blocks the glutamate from sticking there. There are no other NMDA receptor antagonists which have been found to have such strong anti-depressant effects or any antidepressant effects at all.

Additionally, Ketamine also affects the mTOR pathway and the AMPA receptor including the opioid receptors in the brain too however it is still not clear that to what extent each pathway interacts with the other or if one pathway is more important as compared to the other. The mTOR pathway is considered to be the way ketamine drives the growth of new neural connections but again the science does not know exactly how ketamine increases neural connectivity and neuroplasticity.

Mainly the other antidepressants target one of the neurotransmitters “monoamine” for example serotonin, norepinephrine, or dopamine all targets monoamine whereas Ketamine targets glutamate which is the brain’s most common excitatory chemical messenger. Controlling the brain’s ability to process cognitive thoughts, neuroplasticity, and emotions, glutamate can favor and strengthen synaptic connections. It also plays a major part in how an individual learns, remembers, and reacts to experiences.

There is another mechanism through which ketamine can reduce inflammation and increases stress resilience. Stress usually causes structural changes in the brain. Ketamine balances these alterations by promoting synaptic growth in affected areas of the depressed parts of the brain like the prefrontal cortex and hippocampus. These are the parts that control your behavior, mood, personality development, and memory.

Based on these mechanisms, IV ketamine infusion has been widely used by the anesthesiologist as anesthesia and also by physicians to treat depression. Ketamine infusion therapy has shown promising results among treatment-resistant patients.

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