Therapeutic Sessions Required for Relief
To answer this, let’s break it up into a couple of components.
- There is an unknown number of factors driving the symptoms we call depression and anxiety. Ketamine may affect none, some, or all of these in ways we do not understand. Depending on what’s causing your symptoms of depression and anxiety, Ketamine may or may not relieve them.
Factors Associated with Anxiety and Depression
- biochemical dysfunction
- traumatic brain injury
- prior physical or emotional trauma
- genetic errors
- nutritional deficiencies
- poor lifestyle (diet, exercise, stress management)
- metaphysical or energetic conditions
- lack of sunlight
- lack of social support
Can Ketamine treat or correct any of these underlying factors? Probably. Could such improvements lead to relief from anxiety and depression? Probably.
But, if Ketamine has no direct influence on the above factors, is it still possible to receive symptomatic relief from anxiety and depression? Yes
We don’t understand how all of these factors fit together (though there are theories such as that involving glutamate receptors), but it’s clear that Ketamine often provides at least temporary relief from anxiety and/or depression in 2/3 of patients.
- Now, when we define “alleviate” or “relief” it’s all a matter of degrees. In clinical settings, standardized tests or “inventories” are used to quantify a patient’s severity of anxiety or depression. For instance, let’s say a patient begins with an “8” on some scale of depression. Alleviation may be as minor as a reduction to “7” or as dramatic as a reduction to “0(zero)”.
Expectations of Therapy Success
In layman’s terms, if the question is “will I feel better?”, all of the above plays into it. But, the bottom line is that clinical data, as well as feedback I’ve personally received from doctors experienced with Ketamine treatment, is that approximately 2/3 of patients experience significant improvement.
This “feeling better” is usually based on an unofficial standard of treatment which includes 6 treatments within 2–3 weeks. Some patients begin feeling better during their first treatment. Some not until later treatments. Some don’t seem to respond at all.
Even when one does feel better, that “alleviation” may or may not continue. Many people require occasional booster doses.
Do Ketamine patients require booster follow-up treatments?
Anecdotally speaking, I’d say these boosters are given, on average, at 1–3 month intervals. Of course, now that there are other forms of Ketamine administration such as sublingual and intranasal forms, the need for booster infusions may change.
Personally, I began noticing a lessening of depression within my first and second infusion treatments.
I faced the same question that you asked. But because Ketamine infusions often help, while being unlikely to hurt, I decided it was worth a shot. I’m really glad I went through with it.
We can look at all of the available data to statistically answer your question. But, the only way to know with certainty is to undergo a treatment regimen yourself.