Ketamine Therapy in Denver, CO

As many as 70% of patients respond positively to ketamine treatment and feel relief from their symptoms after their first few infusions.

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Depression and suicide rates have reached an all-time high. In 2020, an estimated 21 million people experienced at least one episode of major depression.1 In 2019, an estimated 12 million adults seriously thought about suicide, 3.5 million planned a suicide, 1.4 million attempted suicide, and 47,511 died by suicide. There are twice as many deaths by suicide than by homicide. The suicide rate increased by about 33% between 1999 and 2019.2,3 The urgent question is what can be done to heal depression and prevent suicide…and NOW?! Without immediate action, needless suffering and death will continue.

An exciting breakthrough with ketamine treatment may provide the emergency relief that millions are desperately looking for. Traditional antidepressant medications could take weeks or months before symptoms improve; even one out of three patients experience no relief at all.4 Now, ketamine treatment can relieve symptoms in a matter of hours.5 Because of its rapid action, ketamine can significantly relieve depression and prevent suicide. Studies show a high success rate where more than half of patients experience significant relief after even one treatment and more after several infusions. The relief lasts much longer than traditional antidepressants because ketamine stimulates the brain to correct abnormalities associated with depression.6,7,8,9

What is Ketamine?

Ketamine is not new. We’ve just discovered a different way to use it. It was developed in the 1960s by University of Michigan physicians to be used by doctors and veterinarians as a safe, injectable anesthetic for humans and animals.5 Still used today, ketamine induces a state of medical sedation, relief from pain, and amnesia while under the influence. It can also be used illegally in large doses as a hallucinogenic, distorting sight and sound, and making the user feel disconnected and out of control. An overdose can cause unconsciousness, inability to move/rigid muscles, convulsions, dangerously slow breathing, and death. Street names include Super K, Vitamin K, Kit Kat, Special K, Jet K, Super Acid, and Cat Valium.10,11

In the last two decades, ketamine has been shown to be a safe and effective treatment for depression and suicidality. Studies have shown that low doses of ketamine (much lower than the amount used for anesthesia) can rapidly relieve depressive symptoms and reduce suicidal thoughts.6,7,8,9 In several studies, more than half of the participants who have not improved with standard antidepressants have shown a significant decrease in depressive symptoms after just 24 hours.

Unlike other antidepressants that help only when present in the body, ketamine enables brain connections to regrow and correct functions related to depression, producing a more long-term result.9 Dr. Ronald Duman, professor of psychiatry at Yale University, says ketamine is the “biggest breakthrough in depression research in a half-century.”4

How Does Ketamine Work?

In low doses, ketamine triggers the release of the neurotransmitter glutamate, which stimulates the growth of the brain’s synaptic connections. The increase in glutamate strengthens and repairs the neural connections in the regions of the brain that are affected by depression, rapidly reversing the neural damage caused by chronic stress.

The areas of the brain which have shut down due to depression are suddenly stimulated, making the brain more adaptable and able to create new pathways for healthier functioning.4,9 The antidepressant properties last an average of 7 days following a single infusion and 18-19 days following repeated infusions13 Learn more in this video by Dr. Duman about the effects of ketamine on the brain.14

Typical Brain activity versus depressed brain activity

After basic lab results have indicated that ketamine is safe for each patient, one of two main types of ketamine can be used to treat patients with major depression who have not responded to two or more antidepressant medications:17

  • Racemic ketamine is infused into the bloodstream through an IV or into the muscle.
  • Esketamine (Spravato) is delivered through a nasal spray.

Racemic ketamine and Eskatamine are administered in a medical professional’s office or clinic.  While a single dose will not cure depression, it provides rapid benefits that can be sustained with a full treatment plan and creates new neural pathways that can protect against the return of depression. Ketamine treatment is most effective in combination with a full treatment plan, including cognitive behavioral therapy and follow-up visits as needed.9

What Happens During Treatment?

During Ketamine Treatment, patients receive the first three doses over a weekly or bi-weekly schedule to determine if ketamine is an effective treatment option.5 If a person has no response at all, further infusions are unlikely to help.17 Typical ketamine treatments are scheduled for three hours twice per week for two to four weeks. Subsequent weekly or bi-weekly treatments are made as symptoms improve, along with follow-up treatments as needed.8 A typical treatment lasts 6-8 weeks.

Blood pressure, breathing, heart function, and other vital signs are closely monitored during and after the treatment for up to two hours.9 Once vital signs are normal, the patient is discharged into the care of a responsible adult. Because thinking or reactions may be impaired, driving, using heavy machinery, drinking alcohol, or making any legal decisions for 24 hours after treatment is not advised.5,18,19

Neurons before and after ketamine treatment

Is Ketamine Treatment Right for Me?

While ketamine treatments are safe for most adults, patients with the following existing conditions should not be treated with ketamine:18,19

  • Conditions in which increased blood pressure would pose a risk of complications such as aortic dissection, uncontrolled hypertension, myocardial infarction, or aneurysms.
  • Prior hypersensitivity or an allergic reaction to the drug
  • Pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Schizophrenic
  • Intoxicated with alcohol

Talk to your mental health professional before ketamine treatment if you are taking any drugs that cause drowsiness or slow breathing, such as opioid medication, a sleeping pill, a muscle relaxer, or medicine for anxiety or seizures. Other drugs may affect ketamine, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Tell your medical professional about all your current medicines and any medicine you start or stop using.

Consult with your mental health professional about the possible risks and side effects associated with ketamine treatments. The main side effects below occurred in at least half of the participants:9,20

  • Feeling strange, weird, or bizarre
  • Feeling spacey
  • Feeling woozy/loopy
  • Dissociation, detachment
  • Floating
  • Visual distortions
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Numbness
  • A rise in blood pressure

Most side effects peaked within an hour of ketamine administration and were gone within two hours. None of the side effects persisted for more than four hours, and no drug-related serious adverse events, cravings, propensity for recreational use, or significant cognitive or memory deficits were seen during a three-month follow-up.20

Get Started Today

Contact Mind Spa today to discuss how ketamine treatment can help you. Our licensed therapists and medical professionals are dedicated to providing patients with safe and effective mental health treatment that teaches them how to heal and thrive. 


1 National Institute of Mental Health. Major depression. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/major-depression

2 America’s Health Rankings, United Health Foundation. Suicide. https://www.americashealthrankings.org/explore/annual/measure/Suicide/state/ALL 

3 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Suicide Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/suicide/ 

4 Yale News. (2012, October 4). Yale scientists explain how ketamine vanquishes depression within hours. https://news.yale.edu/2012/10/04/yale-scientists-explain-how-ketamine-vanquishes-depression-within-hours 

5 Michigan Medicine, University of Michigan. Ketamine Clinic.  https://medicine.umich.edu/dept/psychiatry/programs/ketamine-clinic 

6 Bartoli, F., Riboldi, I., Crocamo, C., Di Brita, C., Clerici, M., & Carrà, G. (2017). Ketamine as a rapid-acting agent for suicidal ideation: A meta-analysis. Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews77, 232–236. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neubiorev.2017.03.010 

7 Hochschild, A., Grunebaum, M. F., Mann, J. J. (2021). The rapid anti-suicidal ideation effect of ketamine: A systematic review. Prev Med. 2021 Nov;152(Pt 1):106524. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34538369/ 

8 Gordon, J. A. (2019, August 13). New hope for treatment-resistant depression: Guessing right on ketamine. National Institute of Mental Health. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/about/director/messages/2019/new-hope-for-treatment-resistant-depression-guessing-right-on-ketamine 

9 Chen, J. (2019, March 21). How new ketamine drug helps with depression. Yale Medicine. https://www.yalemedicine.org/news/ketamine-depression 

10 Department of Justice/Drug Enforcement Administration. (2020, April). Drug fact sheet – ketamine. https://www.dea.gov/sites/default/files/2020-06/Ketamine-2020_1.pdf

11 Alcohol and Drug Foundation. (2021, November 5). Ketamine. https://adf.org.au/drug-facts/ketamine/ 

12 National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). (2019, October 19). Discover NIMH: Drug discovery and development. YouTube [Video]. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o70R4iEGKbk 

13 Matveychuk, D., Thomas, R. K., Swainson, J., Khullar, A., MacKay, M. A., Baker, G. B., & Dursun, S. M. (2020). Ketamine as an antidepressant: overview of its mechanisms of action and potential predictive biomarkers. Therapeutic advances in psychopharmacology,10, 2045125320916657. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7225830/ 

14 Yale Psychiatry. (2012, October 3). New mechanisms elicited with ketamine in treatment-resistant depression. YouTube [Video]. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hNsIiq-5354 

15 Kentuckiana Integrative Medicine. Depression, OCD, pain, and CRPS reversed with ketamine. https://regenmedky.com/depression-ocd-pain-crps-reversed-with-ketamine/ 

16 Cleveland Medical Institute. Ketamine is different.  https://clevelandmedicalinstitute.com/about-ketamine/ 

17 Meisner, R. C. (2019, May 22). Ketamine for major depression: New tool, new questions. Harvard Health Publishing, Harvard Medical School. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/ketamine-for-major-depression-new-tool-new-questions-2019052216673 

18 University of Michigan Health, Michigan Medicine (2019, November 22). Ketamine. https://www.uofmhealth.org/health-library/d00272a1

19 Rosenbaum, S. B., Gupta, V., Palacios, J. L. (Updated 2021 Nov 20). Ketamine. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK470357/ 

20 National Institute of Mental Health. (2019, November 18). Side effects mild, brief with single antidepressant dose of intravenous ketamine. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/news/science-news/2019/side-effects-mild-brief-with-single-antidepressant-dose-of-intravenous-ketamine  

Mind Spa: Trusted Ketamine Clinic & Treatment Center | Denver
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