The Positive (and Negative) Effects of Ketamine for Depression

Recent studies have shown positive results for Ketamine for depression. Depression is a mental health condition which can quickly become serious. How do you know that you are experiencing depression?

Symptoms of depression include feelings of hopelessness and sadness. Other feelings you may experience are guilt and loss of interest in activities. Depression is a condition that makes you feel worse than feeling blue or down.

When you experience depression, you often find your condition has detrimental effects on the way you function during the day and in relationships. Long-term depression can also interfere with work and your physical health. 

Up until now, the most common way to treat and manage depression is by taking prescription antidepressants and attending physiotherapy sessions. But, although effective for some, these treatments do not work for everybody. Some may even experience what is now as treatment resistant depression or TRD for short. This means they may not respond to conventional treatments.

A drug that is showing promise is Ketamine. You may have heard of the drug if you have undergone sedation or a medical procedure. Recreationally, ketamine is known for its psychedelic side effects.

What Is Ketamine?

Ketamine is a drug associated with a variety of uses and side effects. Mainly, Ketamine is used as an anaesthetic drug. When used medically in strong doses, it leads to loss of consciousness and reduces pain. In some individuals, it can also appear to distort reality.

Ketamine can be administered by injection and as a nasal spray. It has been discovered that Ketamine may improve the quality of life of individuals experiencing treatment-resistant depression.

Research shows it positively affects the brain’s glutamate system which is important when it comes to improving the mood and restoring chemical balance in the brain.

Many are reluctant to engage with ketamine treatment as the drug has a bad reputation. As an illegal recreational drug, it is often sold to create an atmosphere of euphoria. Taken in higher doses, it is well-recognized ketamine has harmful side effects. However, used correctly, it benefits many with treatment-resistant depression.

Ketamine As A Treatment For Depression

Compared to traditional antidepressants Ketamine works differently. As mentioned, it has been shown to improve glutamate levels in the brain. When this happens, another chemical called serotonin is affected.

Serotonin is directly linked to our mood. When the balance of this vital brain chemical is right, we are less likely to experience depression.

Furthermore, Ketamine stimulates an essential protein in the brain known as BDNF. This protein supplies what is known as neuroplasticity. When this function is enhanced, the brain appears to cope better with challenges and change.

What Are the Benefits of Ketamine For Clinical Depression?

There are several benefits of treating depression with Ketamine. Most importantly, this is a drug that can quickly help to reduce symptoms of depression. Suicidal thoughts are common in serious cases of depression. A fast-acting treatment can help to reduce these thoughts and improve the quality of life.

Another benefit of Ketamine is that it can provide relief for those individuals who can’t be successfully treated with standard medications. According to studies, Ketamine has been shown to be effective in 70% of individuals with TRD depression. Moreover, the positive side effects appear to be long-lasting.

From a clinical perspective. Ketamine is easy to administer. It can be managed through intravenous infusion or nasal sprays. It is important to point out that both forms of administration are not meant for home use. They should only ever be administered under clinical conditions.

What Are The Negative Side Effects Associated with Ketamine?

Yes, there are negative side effects associated with Ketamine. The main reason Ketamine is only administered under clinical conditions is because the side effects can be rapid onset. This means they often become apparent soon after the drug has been administered

Common negative side effects include dizziness, nausea, headache and blurred vision. As increased blood pressure and an elevated heart rate are common side effects, it is important to make sure Ketamine is matched with the right individuals.

Other side effects that are less common but may present themselves with extended use are liver damage, psychosis and dissociation. Can you form an addiction to ketamine? Yes, you can. 

Risks are minimised when the drug is administered by healthcare professionals and the individual’s condition is closely monitored.

Can I Try Ketamine for Depression?

This is not a drug that you should try to administer yourself. The best way to explore the possibility of ketamine is right for you, is to talk to your doctor or clinician treating your condition.

If you have been experiencing depression for some time, and nothing seems to work, there is every chance that Ketamine may help. But, your overall health must be evaluated before Ketamine treatment is considered.

Is Ketamine widely available? Different license agreements and treatment protocols come into play when drugs like Ketamine are used. They vary globally and in Australia, they may even vary from state to state.


Is Ketamine set to end depression? It is a useful tool to have. At this moment in time. Ketamine remains slightly controversial. However, it has to be said that many doctors are beginning to look at ketamine as an innovative solution to a serious problem.

If you feel that this is something that may benefit you, it is important to discuss Ketamine’s pros and cons with your doctor.

Related posts