Ketamine Infusion Therapy: A Promising Treatment for Veterans with PTSD and Depression

Charles Maddix, ARNP, MSN, PMHNP-BC

Apr 4, 2023

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression are two of the most common mental health conditions that affect veterans. According to Mental Health America (2021), up to 20% of veterans who served in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom have PTSD. Additionally, a study published in JAMA Psychiatry found that the rate of depression among veterans is twice as high as that of the general population (Spoont et al., 2015). These conditions can have a devastating impact on veterans' lives, making it difficult for them to work, maintain relationships, and enjoy life.

Traditional treatments for PTSD and depression include talk therapy, antidepressants, and other medications. While these treatments can be effective for some patients, they do not work for everyone, and many veterans continue to suffer from symptoms even after trying multiple treatments.

Fortunately, there is a promising new treatment for PTSD and depression: ketamine infusion therapy. Ketamine is a medication that has been used for decades as an anesthetic in surgery. However, in recent years, researchers have discovered that ketamine can also be an effective treatment for mood disorders like PTSD and depression.

"ketamine can rapidly reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, often within hours"

Ketamine infusion therapy involves administering a low dose of ketamine intravenously over a period of about 45 minutes. The treatment is typically done in a clinic or hospital setting, under the supervision of a trained medical professional. Patients may receive multiple ketamine infusions over the course of several weeks.

The results of ketamine infusion therapy for PTSD and depression have been very promising. Studies have shown that ketamine can rapidly reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, often within hours of the first infusion. Many patients report feeling more relaxed, more positive, and more able to enjoy life.

One of the reasons ketamine is so effective for PTSD and depression is that it works differently from traditional antidepressants. Most antidepressants work by increasing the levels of certain neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin or norepinephrine. Ketamine, on the other hand, works by blocking a receptor in the brain called NMDA. This leads to an increase in the levels of another neurotransmitter called glutamate, which can help to repair damaged neural circuits in the brain that are thought to be involved in mood disorders.

For veterans with PTSD and depression, ketamine infusion therapy offers a new hope for relief from their symptoms. The treatment is relatively safe and well-tolerated, with few side effects. While it may not work for everyone, many patients have reported significant improvements in their mood and quality of life.

If you are a veteran struggling with PTSD or depression, it is important to know that help is available. Talk to your provider about whether ketamine infusion therapy might be right for you or give us a call at (904) 877-1100, with the right treatment, you can start to feel better and regain control of your life.