Psychedelic drugs have a reputation that extends back to the emergence of the counterculture in the 1960s. However, recent clinical trials demonstrate the benefits of psychedelic medicine for mental health, and esketamine is FDA-approved as an option for treatment-resistant depression. At Wyckoff Wellness Center in Wyckoff, New Jersey, Michael Gentile, MD, a leading psychiatrist, stays up to date with emerging studies and uses of psychedelic medicine to treat psychiatric illnesses. Call Wyckoff Wellness Center or schedule a consultation online today to learn more about psychedelic medicine.
Psychedelic substances, sometimes called hallucinogens, are chemicals that cause sensory disturbances when ingested. In the 1960s, psychedelic substances like psilocybin and lysergic acid studied clinically and used in some therapies until the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) classified them as Schedule I illicit drugs in 1970.
While certain substances remain illicit, today, medical researchers are studying psychedelic substances like ketamine (technically an anesthetic with psychedelic properties) and psilocybin and identifying multiple therapeutic purposes.
Ketamine has been approved for use as an anesthetic since the Vietnam War. Today, low-dose ketamine infusions are prescribed for treatment-resistant depression (TRD). Additionally, in the spring of 2019, the FDA approved esketamine — a derivative of ketamine using only the S molecule — to be prescribed as an in-office nasal spray for TRD.
The full spectrum of psychedelic medicine benefits hasn’t been identified. However, in the clinical research on esketamine and ketamine infusions, results indicate that it’s an effective treatment option for TRD and other mood disorders.
Ketamine works in your brain differently from conventional antidepressants, and oftentimes, provides more rapid results. A traditional antidepressant, like a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), needs to build up in your system, slowly increasing the neurotransmitter activity. Eventually, when your serotonin activity has increased, your brain starts to produce and use more glutamate, another type of neurotransmitter that regulates your mood.
Ketamine, on the other hand, immediately stimulates your NDMA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptors as well as glutamate production and use. Your NDMA receptors are docks for the glutamate neurotransmitters, which are proving to have a rapid effect on psychiatric disorders like depression.
Dr. Gentile offers ketamine infusions at Wyckoff Wellness Center. In most cases, you have an initial series of infusions spread out over two or three weeks. You need a friend or family member to drive you to and from your appointments as you will most likely be tired and slightly disoriented after your treatment.
During your infusion, you rest in a comfortable chair while Dr. Gentile or another member of the clinical team prepares and inserts your IV. While you receive the infusion, you might feel a floating or out-of-body sensation and tingling in your lips or extremities. Some patients may have mild hallucinations. Dr. Gentile or another member of the clinical team stays with you throughout your infusion and after, while the initial effects of the medication wear off.
You should notice a change in your mood within an hour of your first infusion. However, it’s critical to complete your treatment for optimal effects.
If you’re interested in ketamine infusions for treatment-resistant depression, call Wyckoff Wellness Center or make an appointment online today.