Southern California based writer, Allegra Ringo, wrote a wonderful and thorough article (over 3,000 words) titled “The Complete Guide to Ketamine Therapy for Depression, From Someone Who’s Tried It” detailing her experience with the therapy and we’d like to share some of the highlights.
The article starts with her entering the clinic for treatment and sharing feelings of sadness because she’s been fighting depression with medication and therapy for almost 10 years but “felt worse than ever.” Many people with PTSD, unfortunately, can relate to a lengthy struggle with their symptoms.
“People who are severely depressed, suicidal, and might otherwise need hospitalization may get better as quickly as 24 hours after their first dose.”
John Krystal, MD
Yale School of Medicine
The article continues with a history of ketamine and research conducted by Harvard Medical School and Yale. There’s a great quote from Dr John Krystal that reads, “People who are severely depressed, suicidal, and might otherwise need hospitalization may get better as quickly as 24 hours after their first dose [of ketamine].”
Dr Krystal’s credentials include; Professor of Translational Research and Professor of Psychiatry and of Neuroscience; Co-Director, Yale Center for Clinical Investigation; Chair, Department of Psychiatry; Chief of Psychiatry, Yale-New Haven Hospital; Director: NIAAA Center for the Translational Neuroscience of Alcoholism; Director, Clinical Neuroscience Division, VA National Center for PTSD. He’s a leading expert in alcoholism, schizophrenia, depression, and PTSD, so his comments carry considerable weight.
Allegra writes about the potential risks of ketamine therapy and the importance of finding a clinic that prioritizes safety. If readers are interested in the learning about the physicians we partner with check out our blog post Why Is It Important For A Doctor To Be Board-Certified?
She gets into cost for ketamine therapy, and the range she found in Los Angeles was $450-750. This is consistent with what we see nationally, although prices can be a little lower and significantly higher. Allegra writes that at the time her article was published she was waiting to find out if her insurance will cover treatment. In our experience it’s very rare for insurance to cover ketamine infusion therapy and patients should be fully prepared to spend thousands of dollars out of pocket to cover treatment. For contrast, someone on testosterone replacement therapy may spend $2-5,000 a year out of pocket on medication and a pack-a-day smoking habit can cost over $3,000 a year.
Allegra talks about the relief she experienced with her multiple treatments. She wrote that her first two treatments did not feel effective, but “After my third infusion, though, I began to feel significantly better. Many of my symptoms subsided, I felt “lighter,” and I laughed a lot more.” Many patients will benefit from 4-6 infusions over a period of time, followed by maintenance doses depending on their body reacts to treatment.
The article wraps up with comments about what to look for in a clinic that offers ketamine. These include a willingness to collaborate with your other healthcare providers, being transparent about the uncertainties of ketamine treatment (not everyone will have the same result), and ensuring the clinic has appropriate safety measures in place.
These are great suggestions and we welcome those seeking care through us to ask any questions you find helpful.
Allegra closes the article like this:
“For those of us who have spent a long time suffering and who have been unable to find an effective treatment, ketamine therapy offers a ray of hope. For some of us, that hope can be life-saving.”