Ketamine and Depression
June 30, 2018 6:46 PM   Subscribe

After fifteen years fighting depression with progressively fewer battles won by the day, I'm getting ready to undergo ketamine infusion therapy here in NYC as a semi-last resort. Have you had it done? Do you know someone who has? I want to know everything.

What it says on the tin. Looking especially for anecdata ( recreational okay if you think it helped with depression), but also warnings, realistic expectations, best practices for before and after treatment, books, articles, other things to explore besides ketamine but in the same vein - i.e. new frontiers in the treatment of MDD. Anything and everything is welcome. Thanks Hivemind!
posted by marsbar77 to Health & Fitness (6 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I have treatment-resistant depression and recently tried ketamine after having no luck with electroconvulsive therapy, 25 medications, or many years of psychotherapy. I had four (very expensive) ketamine sessions and really did not enjoy the "visions" and experience of dissociation the drug gave me; I felt a complete lack of control during those times. The sessions had no effect on my depression at all. Please feel free to metamail me if you have any questions.
posted by Four-Eyed Girl at 9:19 PM on June 30, 2018 [4 favorites]

An addendum: I only had four sessions because I was told that there should be some effect on the depression after three sessions. After I had no effect after the fourth, I was told to discontinue.
posted by Four-Eyed Girl at 9:38 PM on June 30, 2018

In the category of new frontiers / non-Ketamine options:

Psilocybin (the compound in ‘shrooms) has been showing promising effects in patients with MDD. I know it’s no easy task to find a provider (and I’m definitely not suggesting you self-medicate — too risky) but I might be work looking into.

Sources: 1, 2, and 3.
posted by schroedingersgirl at 4:03 AM on July 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

I found an article on this.
posted by jenfullmoon at 6:59 AM on July 1, 2018

posted by juliplease at 7:28 AM on July 1, 2018 [1 favorite]

It's me, from the previously! I'd be dead without ketamine. Since I posted that update, the new dose I was talking about really started to work, and more importantly I started to get good at telling when it wasn't working and I needed a maintenance booster. This is probably the most important thing you'll need to learn - it's annoying to stay on top of, especially if you're someone who drops off into depression really fast. Having a new therapist who knows about ketamine and is willing to keep learning more is helpful in this area.

Ketamine Things:
- my clinic's minimum is six infusions over the first week. That seems to be pretty standard. I didn't see response until my ninth or tenth. We had to fiddle with the dosage a lot, there is no set dosage across clinics except "take as little as you can" and I had to push fairly hard to keep trying infusions with the upped dosage. I'm not a pushy person but I've never been so glad of being pushy. You have to self-advocate, and that's annoying too, but having gotten to this point I have no doubt of your ability to do that.

- I wish I had known more about the variation in how well infusions work, that you might need a booster more frequently during a stressful time, and that people's responses run a huge variation.

- I take a small dose of benzos and that is probably? why I have a higher dose, but benzos didn't stop the ketamine from working at all. I expressed this concern to my doctor and my back-up doctor I go to when he's out of town and both were very "whatever" about it, I think like all things involving benzos the internet got very worked up. Obviously it works better if you don't take them at all, but it doesn't turn off or something.

- As I've gone on, my hangover the next few days has been less. That said, don't try to work the day after. I was pushing a big deadline one week and I decided to try to finish it right after ketamine and that was NOT A GREAT PLAN. I've gotten a disability accommodation from my school to take off when I have ketamine on class days and extend my deadlines for papers etc if they cross.

- Related: always have someone accompany you home. DON'T EVEN TRY TO DRIVE. I have a k-buddy to take the subway with me so I don't end up in a pleasant dizzy haze in the wrong borough.

- Sometimes you feel worse before you feel better. It's best not to judge an infusion until it's had time to like, settle in, if that makes sense? I give it at least 48 hours.

- Doing things can feel easier than feeling things at first. You'll find yourself more active, more able to accomplish tasks, before you recognize that little voice in your head telling you you're a piece of shit is also gone. I'm able to do things now I never could have imagined a year ago.

- I found this article to be the one that explained my experience best of everything I've read (and I read a lot, I try to keep up with what's going on), but YMMV. I Am Not Your K-Hole? All bodies are different.

This is really long, but also finding reliable information is so hard especially as clinics each have their own way of doing things. I hope it helps in some way, as the comments on that other thread helped me, and feel free to contact me if you need anything else!
posted by colorblock sock at 10:32 AM on July 1, 2018 [9 favorites]

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