Ketamine: A New Hope for Mental Illness
By Noel Daniel
In the trenches of unrelenting depression, PTSD, and other mental illnesses, hope can seem far away— if not entirely nonexistent. However, there exists a spark of light in a new, seemingly unorthodox treatment: Ketamine Infusion Therapy.
Antidepressants can tend to be a hard sell. Most work by increasing the supply of a class of neurotransmitters believed to play a role in depression. But even the National Institute of Mental Health acknowledges that relief only comes for some, and that there is a weeks-long delay before any responses are seen.
The delay prompted a hypothesis: perhaps medication-induced changes in neurotransmitters aren’t as central to the cause and treatment of depression as previously thought. A more proximal mechanism that’s been posited is glutamate, the primary neurotransmitter in the brain. Preliminary studies seem to indicate that inhibitors of glutamate could have antidepressant-like effects—which is where ketamine comes in.
Ketamine dampens glutamate signaling, and has been observed to lift depression in as little as two hours in those with treatment-resistant depression. It’s given rise to an era of scientific study that looks for treatments that will work in six hours rather than six weeks. With such a young treatment, however, at what point should sufferers seek ketamine treatments, themselves?
“Any patient with symptoms that interfere with their ability to function, work, engage with friends and family are encouraged to contact our office to learn more about the specifics of our program,” said Dr. Paula Tremayne.
The Tremayne Center for Medicine is one of the few local clinics that offer a therapeutic ketamine program. They focus on the patient’s history and prior experiences to understand, what they’ve tried in the past, what’s worked or hasn’t worked, and how their lives have been affected.
“Listening to the patient is the first step,” said Dr. Tremayne, “then providing proper education as to comprehensive options for treatment, including detailed information about our therapeutic Ketamine program.”
“This is important, as we know how difficult it can be to suffer depression, PTSD, anxiety, or severe chronic pain and wish to provide convenient and stress-free access to our program… If a patient is having a crisis, we can begin the process immediately and have them in treatment within days.”
Dr. Paula Tremayne, Tremayne Center for Medicine
Some programs use Ketamine as a last line therapy, but Tremayne’s approach is individualized and optimized. This ensures that the patient does not need to wait years or sometimes decades prior to consulting with Tremayne about their program. In fact, they encourage patients to contact them at any time and are happy to provide the information needed to make an informed decision.
Pursuing ketamine treatment isn’t always easy, as there are few local clinics, and some even require patients to have failed all other treatments first. However, Tremayne Center for Medicine offers patients a timely consultation, or a telephone consultation if they’re out of the area—and assists in obtaining records and lab work so they can proceed with treatment.
“This is important, as we know how difficult it can be to suffer depression, PTSD, anxiety, or severe chronic pain and wish to provide convenient and stress-free access to our program,” said Dr. Tremayne. “If a patient is having a crisis, we can begin the process immediately and have them in treatment within days.”
Ketamine treats a wide variety of conditions, all of which deserve immediate care. Tremayne Center for Medicine first began with a focus on PTSD and depression before quickly learning that it was also beneficial for many other conditions. They have also successfully treated severe post-concussion syndrome, migraines, and chronic intractable abdominal pain.
“It has been a remarkable experience to see our patients who had previously struggled to survive on a daily basis—many of them for years, or much of their lives—regain joy in their lives,” said Dr. Tremayne. “It has been one of the most gratifying services I have been blessed to provide to our patients.”
Dr. Tremayne has a wide breadth of experience in varying treatments throughout her 20 years in the field. She began as a counselor, before pursuing a career in medicine. Some of the most exceptional transformations Dr. Tremayne witnessed were: a Vietnam veteran—who suffered severe PTSD—finally able to live a healthy and engaged life and a precariously suicidal patient, finally recovering and thriving.
“It’s critical for patients to know Ketamine treatment is available and to find out if it may be an option for them,” said Dr. Tremayne.
For more information about Ketamine Treatment, visit www.ketamineadvocacynetwork.org. To find out more about Dr. Tremayne or schedule an appointment, call 209-549-1600 or visit www.tremaynemedicine.com.