Can ketamine cure depression?


Ketamine has shown promise as a treatment for depression, but it is not considered a cure. According to Dr. John Krystal, ketamine can increase the functionality of synapses rapidly, which can lead to antidepressant effects. However, these effects are not permanent and often require ongoing treatment to maintain benefits 1 2.

For those with treatment-resistant depression, ketamine is generally administered twice a week for the first four weeks, with the frequency gradually decreasing over time if the patient responds well. Some patients might maintain their improvement with sessions as infrequently as once a month 3.

Ketamine's Effectiveness

Dr. John Krystal explains how ketamine affects the brain by increasing the functionality of synapses and restoring structural connectivity. Ketamine has the ability to increase the effectiveness of synaptic connections and for some people, it is the bulk of their antidepressant response.

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However, regular or improper use of ketamine can lead to significant issues, including the risk of dependency and cognitive impairments. High doses or frequent use can also increase vulnerability to depression and result in loss of white matter and persistent psychotic symptoms that are not easily treated 2 4.

In summary, while ketamine can provide rapid relief from depressive symptoms, it requires careful administration and ongoing management to avoid adverse effects and sustain its antidepressant benefits 1 2 3.