What is Suicidal Ideation?
Suicide is one of the most tragic yet preventable causes of death in the US. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 12th leading cause of death with an average of 130 suicides per day. If you are considering harming yourself it is crucial to seek help immediately. Please call 911 or the suicide hotline listed below:
- Call a suicide hotline.
- In the U.S., call or text 988 to reach the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Or use the Lifeline Chat at org/chat/. Services are free and confidential.
- If you’re a U.S. veteran or service member in crisis, call 988 and then press 1, or text 838255. Or chat using net/get-help-now/chat/.
- The Suicide & Crisis Lifeline in the U.S. has a Spanish language phone line at 1-888-628-9454.
- Call 911 in the U.S. or your local emergency number immediately.
At NW Ketamine Infusion we do not under any condition provide treatment if you have a plan to harm yourself or attempt suicide. We will immediately call 911 on your behalf.
However, many people feel overwhelmed and thoughts of ending one’s own life (suicidal ideation) can be a persistent burden. Ketamine has been shown to be very effective in temporarily alleviating these thoughts. And, as one component of a complete treatment plan you may find lasting relief from suicidal ideation. It's essential to understand that suicidal ideation is a symptom of significant emotional pain and distress. It is not a character flaw or weakness. People experiencing suicidal thoughts often feel overwhelmed and hopeless. These people believe that suicide may be the only way to escape their pain. Remember that there is hope and help available, and reaching out for support is a sign of strength.
How Does Ketamine Work to Treat Suicidal Ideation?
Mental health is an essential aspect of overall well-being. Yet, millions of people around the world grapple with the burden of mental health conditions every day. One of the most alarming manifestations of mental distress is suicidal ideation. This is when individuals experience persistent thoughts of ending their lives. Addressing this critical issue demands innovative and effective treatments. And, in recent years, ketamine has emerged as a promising option for those battling suicidal thoughts.
Suicidal ideation is the presence of recurrent, persistent thoughts about one's own death or self-harm. This mental health concern can arise from various factors. These include underlying mental disorders like depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The urgency to combat suicidal ideation cannot be overstated, as it poses significant risks to an individual's life and well-being.
Ketamine, a dissociative anesthetic, was first developed in the 1960s and has been widely used in medical settings for anesthesia and pain management. However, in recent years, it has garnered attention for its potential as a treatment for depression and suicidal ideation. Researchers began to notice that some patients experienced significant improvements in mood after receiving ketamine for pain management. This prompted further investigation into its antidepressant properties.
Ketamine's Action on Brain
Ketamine acts on the brain's neurotransmitter systems, particularly the glutamate system. This system plays a crucial role in mood regulation. Traditional antidepressant medications, such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), can take weeks to produce noticeable effects. Whereas, ketamine's impact on mood can be rapid, often occurring within hours after administration.
Over the past decade, multiple studies have explored ketamine's potential in treating depression and suicidal ideation. The results have been nothing short of groundbreaking. Some studies have reported that a single intravenous (IV) dose of ketamine led to a significant reduction in suicidal thoughts among individuals with treatment-resistant depression. For those in the depths of despair, this rapid response could be life-saving.
Ketamine Treatment Plan for Suicidal Ideation
For over two decades the most common protocol used to treat mood disorders in the setting of a ketamine clinic involves a primary series of six infusions. Research has shown that one infusion can provide rapid relief. However, the benefits generally wear off quickly and for some the effects are very subtle. Using a series of infusions allows the ketamine to have a greater and longer lasting effect in the brain resulting in sustained relief. It is important to bear in mind that the theory of how ketamine works in the brain described above is a process that takes time.
One infusion is unlikely to provide long term benefits. It is also important to know that ketamine provides life-changing benefits for many patients. But, it is not considered a cure and will almost certainly require ongoing maintenance infusions. The frequency can be variable from several weeks to several months in between treatments.
Recommendations for Ketamine Treatment of Suicidal Ideation
It is recommended to complete at least three infusions prior to deciding if the treatment is working for you. Most patients will be able to identify a clear benefit by then. If after three infusions, you do not feel that the treatment is providing any benefit at all then unfortunately you may be in a minority that do not respond well to ketamine therapy. This is very unfortunate, but it is essential to understand that it is possible you will try the treatment and not find the relief you are looking for. Ultimately, there is no way to know if ketamine will work for you without actually trying it.
We use the data from published research to guide treatment. This often leads to using a treatment plan based on the “average patient”. There is merit in this approach but in reality, each patient is an individual and the response to treatment can likewise be very individual. Ketamine infusions are not a one-size-fits-all treatment. Some clients report amazing relief with just one infusion. Others find little benefit after three infusions. But, elect to proceed and ultimately find good benefit after the fourth or fifth infusion. The point being that we always proceed one step at a time. NW Ketamine Infusion does not offer packages of infusions because there should be no pressure to proceed if the treatment isn’t right for you.
Caution and Considerations
While ketamine has been demonstrated to be an excellent option in treating suicidal ideation, it is essential to undergo a thorough screening prior to initiating treatment. Most patients can safely receive ketamine therapy. There are a few medical conditions that might require treatment prior to beginning therapy or stop you from receiving this treatment. These include uncontrolled hypertension, active substance abuse, pregnancy or unstable cardiac disease. Ketamine is not a first-line or stand-alone treatment for mood disorders and is intended to be one component of a multimodal treatment regimen.
Although the potential for addiction is extremely low, ketamine can be abused or misused. Close monitoring by qualified medical professionals is crucial during ketamine administration to ensure safety and appropriate dosing.
The emergence of ketamine as a potential treatment for suicidal ideation has been life-changing for many patients. By offering rapid relief from despair and hopelessness, ketamine has illuminated a path of hope for individuals struggling with suicidal thoughts. However, it is essential to remember that ketamine is not a cure. Ketamine infusion should only be used to compliment other forms of treatment. Ketamine usage should only be undertaken in a supervised, clinical setting with professional support. The ongoing research into ketamine's efficacy and safety will help pave the way for more targeted and effective treatments for those facing the darkest moments of their lives.
If you have tried other treatments and still suffer from suicidal ideation, ketamine infusion therapy may help. Please contact us to schedule a free initial consultation to see if this treatment is right for you.