Ketamine for Depression

Table of Contents

The World Health Organization reports there are an estimated 280 million people around the world suffering from depression. Depression affects over 16 million adults in the U.S. each year. Symptoms range from general irritation or sadness to abject hopelessness and suicidal ideation.

Many people between 15 to 29 years of age report thinking about death or self-harm. Suicide is the fourth most common cause of death in this age group. Around 700,000 people commit suicide each year, and depression is a factor in many of these deaths.

Common Types of Depression

  • Major Depressive Disorder (MDD): This is the most common form of depression. It is also what we refer to as clinical depression.
  • Persistent Depressive Disorder, also called dysthymia is a form of depression that lasts 2 or more years.
  • Manic Depression, or bipolar disorder: This type of depression alternates between intense feelings of depression and episodes of mania. The mania produces extreme happiness or euphoria, which is often followed by an equally intense episode of depression. [1]
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that affects people during the same time each year, usually corresponding with the seasonal changes of fall and winter.
  • Postpartum Depression is a type of depression that develops after a woman has given birth. It can affect the mother’s ability to care for and bond with her child. PD can last anywhere from a couple of weeks to multiple years.
  • Treatment Resistant Depression: this refers to depression that does not respond to traditional methods of treatment.

Symptoms of Depression

Depression is more than experiencing occasional sadness or even deep grief after a loss. In a healthy person, these feelings will eventually subside and fade. However, if the feelings persist for more than a few weeks and impair the capacity to enjoy life and function in your normal role, it might be depression. Common symptoms of depression include the following:
  • Persistent or deep sadness
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty completing routine tasks
  • Dark moods, including feelings of hopelessness
  • Significant weight loss or gain
  • Insomnia or oversleeping
  • Concentration problems
  • Lethargy or low energy
  • Withdrawal from companions, family, and friends
  • Loss of interest in activities that were enjoyable

What is Ketamine for Depression?​

Ketamine is a short-acting anesthetic. Approved by the FDA in 1970, it was originally used to treat severely wounded soldiers during the Vietnam war. In recent decades and in addition to being used in hospitals, ketamine has been approved to treat a wide variety of conditions.

It is considered a “dissociative” anesthetic because it leaves sufferers feeling distant from their pain and surroundings. Ketamine can lead to a state of sedation (feeling calm and relaxed), immobility, and reprieve from pain. Many people undergoing ketamine treatment for depression report having feelings of euphoria and sometimes even psychedelic experiences.

This may sound intimidating if you have never experienced psychedelics but we can assure you, the process of a ketamine infusion or injection for depression is well worth the benefits and relief that result.

The team of experts at Daytryp will be able to answer any questions you may have prior to your ketamine infusion or injection so you will feel confident and prepared. We are here to support you every step of the way on your journey towards wellness.

Take a Healing Journey

Submit an inquiry and our team will help you find the best treatment options for you.

Get in touch

How Does Ketamine Treat Depression?​

Research conducted in 2018 suggestions that ketamine treatment for depression may work by blocking glutamate via binding to N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors in the brain.

Glutamate is type of brain chemical called a neurotransmitter. It plays an important role in healthy brain function and regulating the nervous system. If glutamate receptors become and remain overstimulated, this may result in long term, chronic, or treatment-resistant depression.

One popular theory about the efficacy of ketamine infusions for depression is their ability to repair neurons. A study published in 2018 showed that when people are exposed to long term stress, it wears away brain cells and can cause them to die off, resulting in depression. Ketamine actually encourages the formation of new neurons, relieving symptoms quickly.

While scientists are still studying the full effects, experts believe that ketamine’s interaction with brain receptors plays a pivotal role in its effects on effectively treating depression. Some are even calling ketamine for depression “the biggest breakthrough in depression research in 50 years.”

Ketamine vs. SSRIs

Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are currently the leading treatment for depression in the US and include popular brands like Zoloft, Lexapro, and Zoloft. The simple explanation for how SSRIs work is that they increase serotonin levels in the brain.

Serotonin is a neurotransmitter that affects moods and emotions. In depressed patients, serotonin levels are lower than what is considered normal for healthy brain function. SSRIs inhibit the body from reabsorbing serotonin, resulting in higher levels and an alleviation of symptoms.

While SSRIs do appear to help people, they come with a variety of side effects that may be undesirable for the user.

Common side effects of SSRIs include:

  • Vomiting, nausea, or diarrhea
  • Sexual issues such as reduced desire/libido and inability to reach orgasm or maintain an erection (erectile dysfunction)
  • Dizziness
  • Migraines or headaches
  • Insomnia
  • Drowsiness
  • Cottonmouth or dry mouth
  • Restlessness, agitation or nervousness

Ketamine for Treatment Resistant Depression​

Treatment-resistant depression is the term used to describe a type of depression that does not improve after two or more antidepressants are prescribed. Around 30 of patients suffering from major depression are treatment-resistant. Out of desperation, these patients often resort to more extreme therapies like electroconvulsive therapy. Ketamine infusion therapy for treatment resistant depression is now an option that has fewer adverse effects.

Ketamine for Bipolar Depression​

Of all the psychiatric conditions, bipolar disorder carries the highest level of suicide. Ketamine for treating bipolar disorder shows promise because it creates new synaptic pathways in the brain; this is called synaptogenesis. This improves the body’s ability to regulate moods.

Ketamine and Suicidal Ideation

An article published by Samuel Wilkinson in the American Journal of Psychiatry reviewed ten distinct clinical studies that all conformed to a strict criterion. Fifty-five percent of the iv ketamine for depression study participants lost their suicidal ideation within a day; only 20 percent of the placebo group lost this ideation. These results lasted for a minimum of one week.

Can Ketamine Cure Depression?

Ketamine can successfully treat depression, but it’s difficult to claim that depression can be cured. Daytryp Health patients should plan to take ketamine as a part of a comprehensive treatment plan for depression, as ketamine works best in combination with psychotherapy. This approach helps patients learn how to integrate any insight that may be gained during your ketamine session.

Psychotherapy, in conjunction with ketamine for depression, will help you adapt to circumstances by learning new behaviors and attitudes after the ketamine helps you break through internal barriers.

How is Ketamine for Depression Administered?

Ketamine treatments for depression are given in a controlled medical setting. Six to eight ketamine infusions or intramuscular shots will be given by a qualified member of the Daytryp staff, each lasting approximately 45 minutes. Sessions can be spread out over the course of several weeks.

Ketamine Pills for Depression

Ketamine can be taken in pill form; these lozenges, called troches, are available by prescription and can be used in the comforts of your own home for maintenance after the original ketamine injections are administered. The effects are different for everyone but typically last around 45 minutes to an hour. According to the DEA, ketamine can remain in the body for 24 hours after ingestion.

Ketamine Nasal Spray for Depression

The ketamine nasal spray, Spravato™, was approved by the FDA in 2019. It is meant to be used with an oral antidepressant for maximum efficacy. This treatment approach is indicated for treatment-resistant depression. Spravato™ nasal spray is self-administered under medical supervision at a certified clinic.

Ketamine Dose for Depression

Ketamine results vary from one person to another, and the injection and/or infusion dosage will also vary based on the condition being treated and your bodyweight. Common experiences upon receiving ketamine include a dreamlike state, deep relaxation, and sometimes lucid memories of past events will surface. It may include visual or audial hallucinations, depending on the dosage given. The dosage will be determined by a Daytryp Health staff member after a complete evaluation.

Ketamine for Depression Side Effects

When administered in a therapeutic setting, ketamine has little to no side effects, which is what makes it such a popular choice for those seeking relief from chronic conditions. The most common side effect associated with ketamine infusions is nausea, which can often be mitigated with clinical interventions. The anti-nausea medication Zofran can be given in the clinic if nausea arises, for example.

In addition to nausea, you can expect to feel a bit groggy after treatment. Most side effects do not last beyond a few hours. It is recommended to clear your schedule and to not have any plans after your ketamine treatment for depression.


Many of the patients we treat arrive mentally, emotionally, and physically drained from their conditions, yet remain hopeful. We are excited and so very grateful to be able to provide a treatment protocol that will result in not just the alleviation of symptoms for so many, but total wellness and transformation. Contact us today to get started!


Research trials have shown that patients treated with ketamine experience relief from anxiety, mood disorders, PTSD, chemical dependencies, chronic pain, major depression and treatment-resistant depression.

No drug has a rate of 100 percent success for treating depression but patients receiving treatment report immediate relief of symptoms. Ketamine for depression combined with psychotherapy is strongly recommended if you wish to free yourself from depression permanently.  

Traditional medications often required many weeks before results could be observed; ketamine often works within 24 hours.

Ketamine blocks glutamatergic N-methyl-D-aspartate receptors; other medications like SSRIs affect the levels of serotonin, adrenaline or norepinephrine.

Ketamine promotes the nerve growth process called neurogenesis. This is what makes it effective at treating depression.

The efficacy of any ketamine depression treatment depends on a variety of factors. If current treatments fail to work, trying ketamine therapy can be immensely beneficial.

The Ketamine Advocacy Network estimates that the costs for ketamine treatments within the United States can range from $600-800 per infusion. This doesn’t include consultation costs, service fees, etc.

After the ketamine infusion, a sensation of lightness or floating will often be accompanied by pleasant sensations. Many people can process intense emotions without getting overwhelmed in this state. The senses are often more heightened. Sensitivity to light, sound and tactile sensations increase.

The FDA approved one form of ketamine in 2019 for the treatment of depression.

The first course of treatment lasts around four weeks. After this initial period, additional sessions might be required on an individual basis. For example, patients may contact the clinic to book another session if depression symptoms return after a few months.

The use of ketamine encourages new neural connections to form inside the brain, and this can reduce depression

Although there is almost no risk of ketamine making depression worse, in cases where high doses are taken, respiratory depression is a risk factor. This side effect can lead to respiratory failure in the most extreme cases.

Recreational use of Ketamine is illegal. A prescription is needed for the use of ketamine, and it is important to seek safe and secure care in a clinical setting.