PTSD a.k.a. post-traumatic stress disorder is a severe psychological condition. It leads to depression and memory impairment, especially in patients with combat-related PTSD symptoms. Ketamine depression treatment has great potential in helping these patients fight their mental conditions.
As a drug, ketamine was approved for anesthetic uses but progressed as an off-label drug for treating depressive conditions, including PTSD.
What Develops PTSD?
In most of the instances, PTSD is a trauma that results from incidents like car accidents, natural disasters, or combat-related experiences. Nearly 80% of the people undergo at least one such traumatic event in their life, but not all of them develop PTSD.
The prevalence rate for developing this disease is nearly 10%, and women are more likely to become a patient.
What Are the Symptoms of PTSD?
Those who have PTSD may suffer from one or more of these symptoms:
- Nightmares or troubled sleeping
- Distress due to traumatic stimuli
- Flashback of the event leading to panic attacks
- Depression and negative thinking
- Hypervigilance that makes the patient jumpy or anxious
What Are the Current Treatments for PTSD?
Patients with PTSD have two treatment options that include medication and psychotherapy. Depending on individual symptoms, the doctors can combine these modalities for optimal results.
Medication management includes generic anti-depressants like SNRI, SSRI, or benzodiazepine. However, a large number of patients getting these medications do not get into remission. Also, anti-depressants need several weeks to show potential effects.
Psychotherapy approaches PTSD with two main therapies. They are cognitive behavioral therapy or CBT and ENDR or eye movement desensitization and reprocessing. CBT focuses on understanding the impact of trauma on thoughts and feelings of the patients, along with prolonged exposure to the trauma until the memories become less troublesome.
How Can Ketamine Help in Curing PTSD?
Ketamine has become a potential alternative to those patients who do not respond well to any current PTSD treatment. It is an intravenous therapy that is safe to use under clinical supervision.
The side effects are usually transient and diminish within a few hours. Also, ketamine depression treatment takes not more than a few hours or days to show the real impact.
Research Related to Ketamine Treatment for PTSD
You may find mounting evidence favoring the use of ketamine for PTSD treatment. Since neurotransmitter glutamate helps in stress responsiveness, pathophysiology, and the formation of traumatic stimuli or memories, glutamatergic interventions can help to cure this disease. Ample research is going on in this regard. Some studies say that ketamine infusion reduces symptoms more severely than midazolam.
Also, research suggests that immediate ketamine administration can help prevent passive avoidance. It helps target the compounds that consolidate traumatic memories. Even a single infusion can rapidly decrease the symptoms within 1-2 sessions. Hence, patients can immediately determine if it is a viable option for them.
Since PTSD is growing in epic proportions in modern societies, potential treatments like ketamine combined with psychotherapy can help to fight against it in the long-term.