How Is Ketamine Different From Traditional Antidepressants?
Updated: Jul 19
Treatment of depression has made progress from earlier traditional antidepressant medications to advanced Ketamine assisted therapies. The reason behind this advancement is, clinicians noticed resistance to conventional antidepressant medications and their intolerable effects in patients with depression. To cope with this problem, they advocated ketamine therapy to treat TRD. If you are struggling with depression, PTSD, TRD (treatment-resistant depression), and emotional suffering, Ketamine is a ray of hope!
Our team of licensed clinicians at Isha health is focused on treating your mental health problems with Ketamine assisted therapy. A new tool, in which Ketamine is administered along with psychotherapy. It is considered a promising treatment for antidepressants resistant depression and anxiety. This blog will detail the key differences, side effects, and potency of both traditional Antidepressants and Ketamines.
How do Ketamines And Antidepressants Work Differently?
Ketamine and antidepressants like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and Serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) treat depression, but they have several key differences.
Conventional Antidepressants may work well in some cases but one-third of the patients are treatment-resistant. Some patients avoid transitional antidepressants due to their association with intolerable side effects.
Ketamine is effective for the treatment of treatment-resistant depression (TRD). It may be more effective, fast-acting, potent, and associated with fewer side effects.
The difference in Mechanism of Action
Ketamine targets NMDA glutamate receptors in the brain and alters its levels. Antidepressant medications change levels of serotonin and norepinephrine in the brain. These chemicals are responsible for the elevation of mood and a feeling of well-being. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors or SSRIs block chemicals responsible for the breakdown of serotonin in your brain. Fewer breakdown results in increased levels of serotonin.
Serotonin elevates mood by altering levels of chemicals and glutamate plays a vital role in cell signaling. As Ketamine alters the levels of glutamate, it directly targets the core problem. It is an effective, fast-acting, and novel therapeutic agent that treats mental health problems. In comparison, traditional Antidepressants need to go through an extra step to do the same.
Ketamine also has a unique and interesting mechanism of neuroplasticity. In frontocorticolimbic pyramidal neurons, Ketamine triggers and activates a long-lasting state of glutamate-driven neuroplasticity. This neurobiological mechanism consists of complex interactions between different neurotransmitters like serotonin and glutamate and synaptic hemostasis. This interaction resets the system and counteracts loss of connectivity, neuronal atrophy, and synaptic deficit, thus alleviating the symptoms of depression. Ketamines induce structural adaptations for longer periods that reduce the need for chronic dosing. Traditional antidepressants do not have these features.
Ketamine has Rapidly Acting Antidepressant Effect
Conventional antidepressants show their effects after 4-6 six weeks of continuous administration of medications. Their effect peaks at 12 weeks and archives maximum benefit. Changes in dosage regimens are required to reach steady levels of the drug in your bloodstream. These dosage adjustments disrupt the life of the patient significantly.
In contrast, Ketamine has a rapid effect. It is much faster than conventional Antidepressants. Instead of achieving maximum benefit after weeks and months, the effect of Ketamine starts after 15-20 minutes and reaches a maximum within 40 minutes. You don't have to wait so long. Many people feel improvement in symptoms of depression within 24 hours.
Efficacy; Ketamines Vs. Antidepressants
According to research studies, conventional antidepressants prescribed for depression and anxiety disorders have 20 percent or more efficacy as compared to placebo. They also possess adverse effects.
In comparison, Ketamine has an efficacy of 85% in people with PTSD.
In a study of single and repeat doses of Ketamine and their association with anti-suicidal and anti-depressant effects, the response rate was 60% within 4.5 hours after administration of a single dose, and this effect was sustained for over 24 hours. After 7 days, it was over 40%.
Ketamines Have Fewer Side Effects:
Conventional Antidepressants are associated with the following adverse effects:
Loss of libido
Advanced Ketamines have fewer side effects when administered in the appropriate form and dosage by a licensed clinician. Following are the common side effects:
Nausea and vomiting
Transient increase in blood pressure
Loss of appetite
Transient loss of consciousness
These transient effects return to normal within 2 hours usually. Most people tolerate Ketamine therapy well and enjoy its promising rapid effects in relieving symptoms of mental health issues. To read more, please refer to this blog post.
Treat Your Mental Health Problems With Ketamine Assisted Therapy!
Major depressive disorder, treatment-resistant depression, and PTSD may be extremely challenging for one who suffers from them. Seeking professional help is important to have a more fulfilling life. Reach out to us for consultation with expert clinicians.
Isha Health provides online ketamine-assisted therapy with a team of licensed clinicians.