How does Ketamine Work

How does Ketamine Work 2020-01-09T16:31:02-07:00

Ketamine infusion treatments have been proven effective in treating pain, depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders. Numerous studies have shown that Ketamine can help from 70% to 85% of people with mood disorders like depression, PTSD, suicidal thoughts, and anxiety, even when they have not responded to other treatments or medications. Exactly how it works is still being studied, though there are some effects that have been noted.

Ketamine is believed to be effective because it is an NMDA receptor antagonist. The N-methyl-D-aspartate receptor, or NMDA receptor is a glutamate receptor found in nerve cells. Glutamate is one of the brains key neurotransmitters, influencing the formation and number of brain synapses – the connections between neurons. When glutamate and glycine bind to the NMDA receptor it activates and allows positively charged ions to flow through the cell membrane. This controls synaptic plasticity and memory function. Glutamate works closely with GABA, or gamma-aminobutyric acid, the body’s principal inhibitory neurotransmitter. An imbalance between glutamate and GABA is associated with depression, anxiety, and many mood disorders. Ketamine helps balance the glutamate system by binding to the NMDA receptor and blocking glutamate from binding on the cell membranes, creating an increase of glutamate. Researchers believe this is how Ketamine causes a cascade of neurobiological events that result in rapid antidepressant effects.

Ketamine also impacts the mTOR pathway, which regulates cell growth among other things, and the AMPA receptor which mediates synaptic transmission in the central nervous system. Ketamine impacts these pathways and drives the growth of new neural connections and increases neuroplasticity, which is the ability of the brain to adapt and change. This is how Ketamine helps with depression, anxiety, PTSD, and other mood disorders.

Ketamine’s use as a pain reliever works by blocking the NMDA receptor of peripheral nerves. The pain signals transmitted from peripheral nerve pain are blocked before they reach the spinal cord and brain. This causes a desensitization of the central pain center to peripheral pain signals. This is how Ketamine effectively treats chronic pain and Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.

While researchers may still be studying exactly how Ketamine works, there is a lot of research that shows the impacts stated above. With such great results in treating mood disorders and pain, why not get started with Ketamine Infusion Centers, call us today.

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