Mental health update: I am doing a lot better. I have adjusted my medications and went through an experimental bi-polar/depression treatment in July called intravenous ketamine treatment. Ketamine is an anesthetic drug that has been used for since the 1960s as a pain reliever and sedative. Only recently has it been explored as a treatment for drug resistant depression, bipolar, chronic pain, and other things. My experience with the drug was very positive. After my first infusion I noticed an immediate difference. My depression was significantly lower. One interesting side effect was that my anxiety increased as my depression decreased. It is almost like the depressive part of my mental health was masking the severe anxiety side of it. This effect mostly went away as I continued treatment. I had six ketamine infusions over the course of about 3 weeks, steadily increasing my dosage with each infusion. Professional anesthesiologists administered the drug and monitored me so I felt safe.
Now for the downsides. It is EXPENSIVE. Most ketamine clinics recommended that you go through 6 infusions depending on how you respond to the treatment and each infusion costs $500 (so $3000 total for the entire treatment). Intravenous ketamine treatment isn’t approved by the FDA because research is still being done so it is not covered by insurance except in very rare cases, so I paid entirely out of pocket. Ketamine is also a street drug so getting research on the effects of ketamine treatment in a controlled setting has been difficult. Good news: There is a recently approved treatment that is very similar to ketamine that is sprayed up your nose called Spravato. I haven’t tried Spravato, but I may. It is covered by insurance normally and administered in a medical office under supervision. The recommendation is that you get a “booster” ketamine infusion 1-6 months after your initial treatment ends whenever you feel like the effects are wearing off. It has been roughly 3 months for me and I am considering going in for my booster in the next week as I’ve noticed I am getting into a depressive episode that is not subsiding. Another downside is that everyone’s chemistry is different so it has varying degrees of effectiveness depending on who you are. For many people, therapy, medication, and self-care are enough to help manage mental health issues like depression.
After trying different medications for over 7 years with varying degrees of success, I decided to go with ketamine infusions and I am happy I did. It changed my life. Here is a link with some more information on how ketamine affects the brain. If you have any questions about the specifics of my treatment or want advice in this area please message me (see the Contact page).
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