Growing numbers of people in the UK have been able to access ketamine treatment for depression and bipolar disorder in the UK. Many people have found it to be a fast and effective treatment during their depressive episodes.
How Does Ketamine Help with Bipolar Disorder?
Ketamine is a fairly new treatment for bipolar disorder so we are still learning about the ways that it can affect our brains. The main effect of ketamine is that it binds to a particular receptor in our brains, which triggers the activation of certain molecules that enables our neurones to send signals to each other. However, other possible effects are also being investigated that may explain some of the benefits that ketamine can have for bipolar disorder.
Ketamine treatment is believed to be most effective for the depressive symptoms associated with bipolar disorder. It has proven to be particularly fast and effective at relieving suicidal thoughts in people with depression or bipolar disorder. It can also help with symptoms such as anger and anxiety that some people can experience as part of their bipolar disorder. Ketamine can have a dramatic impact on your mood and thought patterns so it can play a big role in your bipolar disorder treatment.
Benefits of Ketamine for Bipolar Disorder
Research has shown that ketamine can help with depressive symptoms, including those experienced as part of bipolar disorder. Ketamine treatment offers some significant advantages as a treatment for bipolar disorder that could make it a good choice for you:
- Ketamine treatment can be effective for some people who haven’t responded to other types of medication for bipolar disorder. It may be right for you if you have tried other treatments and haven’t found them helpful.
- The effects of ketamine are much faster than those of other medications such as antidepressants. You may be able to feel the effects right after your first treatment and some people will notice an improvement in their symptoms within minutes or hours of the treatment session.
- Side effects are rare when ketamine is delivered under safe and controlled conditions in a clinic. A low dose is used during medical infusions and you will be carefully monitored during and after the treatment. Ketamine is given as an intravenous infusion at the clinic, so you will be carefully supervised and cared for while you are taking the medication.
However, it is important to remember that medications such as ketamine can affect everyone differently. As with the other treatments that we provide for bipolar disorder, ketamine can be very effective for some people but isn’t always the best fit for everyone. Since ketamine is such a new treatment and we are still learning about it, your doctor might recommend trying some other treatment options first. If these don’t work for you, then ketamine could be a good option as part of your treatment plan. Make an appointment at the North London Psychiatry Practice to learn more about ketamine treatment and whether it could help with your bipolar disorder.
Ketamine was originally developed as an anaesthetic but it has more recently shown promise for the treatment of certain mental health disorders, particularly depression. Treatments based on ketamine are now available in the UK through private clinics but many patients have questions about this new option for treating depression.
How Does Ketamine Help with Depression?
The way that ketamine affects the brain isn’t fully understood, but its effectiveness as a treatment for depression has been proven by clinical trials. It is thought that ketamine binds to a specific type of receptor in the brain, triggering a chain of effects that leads to the release of signalling molecules that help change our mood and thought patterns. Ketamine could help the neurons in our brains to communicate better with each other. Unlike antidepressants, which can take several weeks to start working, the effects of ketamine treatment can be apparent right away.
What Happens During Ketamine Treatment?
Ketamine is given as an intravenous infusion, which means you will need to come into the clinic to have the medication. You will be asked to lie down and make yourself comfortable on a bed. A small needle will then be inserted into a vein on the back of your hand. The medication will be slowly pumped into your bloodstream through this needle. The treatment usually takes about 40 minutes so it can help to bring some relaxing music and headphones with you. Wearing an eye mask can also help as you should try to relax as much as possible during the treatment. You may feel a bit unsteady afterwards, but you will be able to recover in the calm clinic environment.
You will need to be closely monitored while you are undergoing the treatment so that we can be sure you are responding well. If you do benefit from ketamine, then you may need to come in regularly for additional treatments at the clinic every few weeks. A typical course of treatment might require 6-8 infusions, which will be given every 2-4 weeks.
Who Should Have Ketamine for Depression?
Ketamine can be an effective treatment for depression. It has proven to be particularly effective for people with severe depression and people who are experiencing suicidal thoughts. Some people who have depression with anxiety have also benefitted from ketamine treatment. However, as with other medications, ketamine isn’t the right option for everyone. Ketamine is still a very new treatment for depression so we have to take extra care to ensure it safe and effective for you. Some people can find the experience overwhelming as ketamine can trigger feelings of dissociation, so you may decide that it is not right for you.
Ketamine will usually only be recommended for depression if other treatments haven’t been able to help you. You may also benefit from other approaches such as lifestyle changes and therapy alongside your medication.
If you have any questions about how ketamine is used for depression then you can make an appointment to talk to your doctor at the North London Psychiatry Practice.
Managing your stress levels and lifestyle can play an essential part in dealing with OCD but the difficult times that we are now living through have made it a lot harder. Restrictions on what we can do, news reports about COVID-19, and anxiety about our health and that of our loved ones have all taken a toll.
Stress and OCD
Stress is a common trigger for OCD symptoms. Many people find that their symptoms get worse or more difficult to manage when they are feeling worried or upset about something. The COVID-19 pandemic has raised many difficult emotions that have persisted for a long time. Many of us have been feeling anxious, uncertain about the future, or stressed about changes to our finances or personal situations. For those of us who are affected by OCD, this stress can exacerbate our symptoms.
When you are stressed, you may find that your OCD symptoms occur more often or seem more intense. You might spend more time managing irrational fears, intrusive thoughts, or compulsive behaviours. You may also notice new thought patterns, anxieties or behaviours that you haven’t experienced before. For example, during the COVID-19 pandemic, you might notice symptoms that are linked to your experiences of lockdown or to the news coverage you have seen.
Stress doesn’t cause OCD, but for those of us who are affected by this condition, it can trigger or worsen symptoms. Reducing stress in our lives and finding ways of coping with it can play an important part in managing OCD. Although the COVID-19 pandemic has given us an additional source of anxiety, we can still use the same techniques to manage our stress levels and deal with OCD.
Tips for Managing Stress When You Have OCD
- A healthy lifestyle can have a big impact on your stress levels as well as your general physical and mental wellbeing. Make sure you are eating well, exercising regularly, and getting plenty of sleep. You should notice the impact on your mood and health, which should help with your OCD symptoms too.
- Remove sources of stress if you can. Although it isn’t always possible to eliminate the causes of stress it is important to be aware of what triggers your worries. You may be able to avoid or reduce some of these triggers, for example by asking for more support at work or around the home.
- Find healthy ways of managing your stress. We all feel upset or anxious sometimes so it is important to know how to relieve these feelings. Talking to a friend, practicing yoga or mindfulness, going for a walk, listening to music, or just taking some time for yourself could all help. It’s important to find something that works for you.
- Keep using your CBT techniques, medication or other OCD treatments to manage your condition and talk to your doctor if you have any concerns or your symptoms get worse.
- Only rely on reputable sources of information on COVID-19 and limit the amount of time you spend watching or reading them. Talk to your doctor if you’re finding it overwhelming or having trouble coping.
Globally we are facing unprecedented challenges and new territory as many countries have gone into a state of lockdown, with restrictions on where and how frequently people are able to leave their home. Not only does this put pressure on the economy, jobs and businesses, schools and universities who are forced to shut, but for many their mental wellbeing is also directly under fire by the circumstances.
Continue reading Looking after your mental health during isolation
Competition can be a positive force when it spurs us on to try harder and improve ourselves. However, when young people are put under too much pressure, it can result in lower achievement, self-esteem problems, and anxiety instead.
Continue reading Is the Competitive Environment Causing Anxiety in Young Adults?
Today is Time to Talk day. But more on that later…
I was at the Royal College of Psychiatrists a couple of months ago when I noticed something – there was a new logo behind the reception desk. The Royal College of Pathologists used to occupy the top floor of the building, but they seemed to have been replaced. I had no idea what MHFA stood for, but, when I got into the lift, I saw that the top floor had now been assigned to Mental Health First Aid England.
It is significant that a social enterprise, the principal aim of which is to improve the mental health of the nation by raising awareness of mental health issues through providing training to staff in various organisations to spot the signs of mental distress, is now based in the building of the professional body concerned with mental health. It demonstrates the increasing prominence of mental health and wellbeing in the public psyche. I have seen more patients who are senior bankers and lawyers in the last two years than I did in the previous eight.
High profile people in the public eye talking about mental health issues have certainly helped. Perhaps most remarkable, all things considered, is the involvement of royalty. The Duke of Sussex was very open in a recent television documentary about his mental health issues and he, his brother and their wives jointly started the Heads Together campaign to tackle the stigma around mental health and face some of the issues head on.
Another group promoting openness about mental health issues is Time to Change. They have instituted a Time to Talk Day, which has become an annual event; organisations are encouraged to spend that one day a year encouraging people to talk about mental health issues. And, as I said at the beginning, that day for 2020 is today.
If improved mental wellbeing is to be achieved as a public health objective, these sorts of initiatives are crucial. More of them are springing up and more of them are being acted upon by organisations and companies. We are not yet at the point where we are seeing an impact on public mental health compared to, say, the introduction of the childhood measles vaccine in 1968, but we are at least heading in the right direction.
Social media plays a big role in teenagers’ lives. Many of the effects can be positive, as social media can enable teens to communicate with their friends or to connect with a supportive online community. However, there are also some potentially harmful aspects of negative media that can take a toll on teenagers’ mental health and wellbeing. It is vital for parents to be aware of these risks so that they can provide support when it is needed.
Continue reading Is Social Media to Blame for Teenagers Mental Health?
Depression is one of the most widely known mental health conditions but there are many misconceptions about the way it can affect you that mean it is often missed. Keep reading to find out how to identify the signs of depression in yourself or those you care about.
Continue reading How to Identify Depression?