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Considering the Pros and Cons of Ketamine Therapy for Depression

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Treating and managing depression can involve quite a bit of trial and error. Treatments that work well for some patients may not work for you, or they might cause side effects that are worse than the depression itself. If you've been struggling to find a depression treatment that works for you, then you might want to look into ketamine infusions, which are a rather new remedy. Here are the pros and cons of ketamine therapy. 

The Pros of Ketamine Infusions

1. It works quickly. With many depression treatments, you need to wait at least a few weeks before assessing whether or not the remedy is doing what it should. This is not the case with ketamine. For patients who find it beneficial, it yields nearly instant effects. You will either leave your treatment session feeling like a million bucks or you won't notice a change. You'll know whether it's worthwhile to keep trying ketamine right away, rather waiting months.

2. It works differently than other antidepressants. Many antidepressant medications work very similarly. They increase serotonin or dopamine levels in one way or another. If this approach does not work with one medication, there's a chance none of the medications will work for you. Ketamine takes a whole different approach. It releases glutamate, an amino acid that plays a role in brain function. If your depression has to do with a shortage of glutamate, then ketamine can be a nearly magical solution.

3. You don't have to take it daily. You visit your doctor for an injection or infusion of ketamine, often every week or two weeks. If you're someone who has trouble remembering to take pills, this is an asset.

The Cons of Ketamine

1. It can have some side effects. Many patients do not experience any unwanted side effects. However, for those who do experience side effects, they tend to be unpleasant. Confusion, dizziness, and stomach pain can sometimes occur, and these symptoms are often serious enough to prevent patients from continuing with the drug.

2. It can be expensive. Since ketamine is such a new treatment, not all insurance companies cover it. This means you may be responsible for the entire cost of treatment, which can be up to $1,000 per infusion. Check with your insurance company before getting an infusion so there are no surprises when the bill comes.

Ketamine infusions are not without side effects, and they are not cheap, but they can be an excellent depression remedy for those who have not gained relief by other means.