This is How Ketamine Works

This is How Ketamine Works

Ketamine is Different

Ketamine acts in hours, not weeks like traditional antidepressants. Ketamine works on a completely different part of the brain than other antidepressants. Traditional antidepressants act on the monoamine system of the brain, targeting serotonin, norepinephrine or similar neurotransmitters.

Ketamine is different. It targets a completely separate system called the glutamate system.

By targeting the glutamate system, it stimulates a molecule called Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor (BDNF), which has been coined “Miracle-Gro for the brain”  because it is associated with the growth of new branches on nerve cells as well as more connections between the neurons. Under electron microscopy, you can see these nerve connection reach out and flourish.

 

Rat Neuron before Ketamine Treatment

Damaged neuron before ketamine

  The above photo demonstrates a rat neuron before ketamine treatment. There are few “dendritic spines” – the connectors that nerve cells use to talk with other neurons.  In depression, areas of the brain have been shown to lose these branches and connections.  These dysfunctional nerve structures lose the ability to communicate with each other and may be responsible for symptoms of depression.

Picture

Rat Brain after Ketamine Treatment

New and fuller dendritic spines appear representing new connections in the brain after ketamine treatment.
After treatment with ketamine, the neuron rapidly grows new dendritic buttons, each one connecting with other nerve cells, thus creating a web that allows a fuller, more interconnected brain.  This is how ketamine is thought to actually reverse some of the damage brought about by depression, chronic stress and PTSD.
Since ketamine works differently from other antidepressants, even if you have failed other meds or ECT, ketamine may still work for youSince ketamine works differently from other antidepressants, even if you have failed other meds or ECT, ketamine may fKetamine often works for patients who have not responded to traditional therapies such as antidepressants, ECT (Electroconvulsive Therapy) or TMS (Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation).
Click here to learn more about our Ketamine Therapy Program
Ken Starr MD FACEP, ABAM is the Founder and Medical Director of the Ken Starr MD Wellness Group in Downtown Arroyo Grande, California. The clinic is both state licensed and CARF accredited. Dr. Starr is Board Certified in Addiction Medicine and serves as Medical Director of Addiction Medicine Services for Dignity Health on the Central California Coast. The Wellness Group is the longest running established NAD+ Therapy program on the West Coast. The Wellness Group believes in ethical and transparent business practices and holds our patients in the highest regard.
Since ketamine works differently from other antidepressants, even if you have failed other meds or ECT, ketamine may still work for you.  

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