Ketamine IV Offers Rapid Relief from Suicidal Thoughts
If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911 immediately.
Suicide is a growing public health crisis with limited treatment options.1 A 2020 survey by the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention revealed more than one in ten respondents said they had “seriously considered” suicide in the past 30 days. For those ages 18 to 24, the number was a shocking 1 in 4.2
Treatment guidelines recommend Prozac (fluoxetine), Celexa (citalopram), and Zoloft (sertraline) as first-line treatments for moderate to severe depression, but they take weeks to work and sometimes yield only modest improvement. Fewer than half of all patients feel any relief at all from typical first-line medications and, while there is an alarming increase in suicidality among young people, some studies show little benefit from first-line medications in adolescents. All first-line antidepressants carry a boxed warning of an actual increased risk of suicide.
Ketamine and suicidality – Research-backed
Scores of studies published in the medical literature have demonstrated the remarkable effects of ketamine in the treatment of suicidal patients. One study in The American Journal of Psychiatry shows a single dose of ketamine rapidly reduced suicidal thoughts, within 24 hours and for up to 1 week in depressed patients.1 The anti-suicidal effect of ketamine in depressed patients occurs rapidly and significantly in many patients and how long the effect lasts can vary. Most studies report the effects from a single dose lasting typically about one week but data suggest that a single dose of IV ketamine will not be sufficient for long-lasting relief in most patients because the suicidality can be persistent and recurrent. A study of patients receiving a course of several IV ketamine infusions over several days found: “rapidly and robustly decreased suicidal ideation in patients with treatment-resistant depression. In some patients, this decrease was maintained for at least 3 months following the final ketamine infusion.” 3 Sustained results are more likely with a comprehensive follow-up support plan in place.
Ketamine’s anti-suicidal effect appears to come from its unique ability to work in several different ways at the same time. Research continues to uncover the exact mechanism of ketamine. In the process, this research is helping us make significant new strides towards understanding more about depression and suicidality itself.
Why choose ketamine infusion therapy?
An analysis of 24 articles including clinical trials indicated IV ketamine to be an effective treatment for suicidality. There are several other ways of administrating ketamine (intramuscular, intranasal, and oral) however the data on these alternatives is less conclusive than the results seen from IV ketamine.4
A 2021 review of 323 published medical studies confirmed “[ketamine’s] clear effectiveness in reducing symptoms of depression and suicidal ideation, either after a single administration, or especially when administered repeatedly.”5
Ketamine Wellness Centers base our protocol from the evidence of multiple studies that have demonstrated that 0.5 mg/kg of ketamine infused over 40 minutes definitively reduced suicidal ideation and depressive symptoms. Clinically controlled infusions with continual monitoring from healthcare professionals are key to the best possible patient care and to the success of the treatment.
Ketamine and suicidality in young people
“Suicide is the second leading cause of death in adolescents. 40% of depressed adolescents don’t respond to lengthy first-line treatments. Another half of those don’t respond to additional medications paired with regular psychotherapy,” says Dr. Ellen Diamond Ph.D., Chief Psychologist with Ketamine Wellness Centers.
“Adolescents and young adults are not psychologically, or physically mature adults and brain development is incomplete. Although the human brain matures in size during adolescence, important developments still take place well into one’s 20s. Typical first-line antidepressants work on the brain’s serotonin and norepinephrine systems which are not fully mature in children and young adults.
Four published studies show ketamine to generally improve depressive symptoms, decrease acute suicidality, and reduce dangerous mood swings in young people6. In an earlier 2018 study published in the Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychopharmacology researchers from the Mayo Clinic and the University of Minnesota found participants aged 14 to 18 showed an average 42.5% decrease in depression measured on the Children’s Depression Rating Scale (CDRS). Moreover, five of the teens in the study met the criteria for remission.
Dr. Diamond recommends ketamine be used for patients who have not responded to other medications. When infusions are provided in a clinical setting, patients can be carefully monitored, and medications can be adjusted in real-time, which is imperative in young patients. Higher doses of Ketamine have been widely and safely used in children over the past 30 years as an anesthetic thanks to its excellent safety profile.
Ketamine Wellness Centers working with veterans and first responders
In 2018 (the last year for which data are currently available) the total number of Veteran suicide deaths was tragically 6,435. While the total number of veterans had decreased, the average number of Veteran suicides each day had risen to 17.6.
At Ketamine Wellness Centers we feel a special debt of gratitude to our veterans and first responders. Many on our care teams are themselves veterans and first responders which puts them in a unique position to truly understand many of the challenges involved. To honor this special group of people we have created a unique Heroes’ Program.
There is hope, there is help.
Talk with us to learn more about ketamine and suicidality.
Ketamine Wellness Center Chicago location has been such a pleasure to work with. I did a lot of reading on Ketamine before contacting the clinic. I was hopeful and optimistic and gave it a shot. I am not exaggerating when I say Ketamine Wellness Center saved my life…. Or at least helped me find a …
My therapist recommended Ketamine treatments to help me navigate through cPTSD, depression and anxiety. I went from having panic/anxiety attacks 1-2x/month which kept me home from work and being on medication (one taken in the morning, a supplemental and one taken at night) to now only needing the night time medication to help me sleep. …
Living with a rare nerve disease called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, is a challenge on its own. But finding compassionate and caring medical professionals to help sometimes seems absolutely impossible. That’s how I was beginning to feel. Until I walked into the Ketamine Wellness Center, located in Seattle, on March 1st, 2022. I lost hope. …
I have suffered from nearly total body CRPS for over 20 years. I’ve had numerous surgeries and procedures to manage the neurological, blow torch pain. Much to my disappointment, they were only temporary and the CRPS continued to spread leaving me in a wheelchair or bedridden. My quality of life had become sadly inadequate. My …
This is the place to go to! I promise you will have an amazing experience like me. Winston & Tara are very friendly and down-to-earth. They are caring and genuine. They make sure you are comfortable during your session. I was somewhat nervous coming in for my treatment but that quickly went away after I met both …
I came to Ketamine Wellness Center in Federal way as a last resort. I have been experiencing debilitating depression and anxiety for years and conventional therapies were not successful for me. I must say that from intake to the first treatment, I was expertly cared for. I would like to highlight the clinical administrator, Winston …
I’m writing prior to my daughter’s treatment to say how wonderful the patient liaison, Chera, has been in setting up the treatments for my daughter. Right from our first call, Chera has been so empathetic and so very thorough in helping us to get authorized for the treatment to address my daughters’ chronic pain. She …
Chera in the AZ office was amazing. She was easy to work with and got all my online paperwork together with the tests, plus the two online web video assessments with medical staff for the prior treatment authorization, all on the same day. All the staff at Naperville KWC are great. They are very kind …
This is a very professional and caring center. Chera, the Patient Liaison, picked up the phone right away and was so helpful and empathetic when I first contacted her. She was patient and showed sincere concern by following up with an email when I was unsure whether to proceed. With her help, I was able …
From the first phone call, I had to my last treatment session I experienced nothing but compassion, respect, and kindness. My life so far has changed drastically. The treatment for Chronic Pain has worked far better than I could have hoped for! I feel like a different person who has a brand new life. A …
1Wilkinson ST, Ballard ED, et al The Effect of a Single Dose of Intravenous Ketamine on Suicidal Ideation: A Systematic Review and Individual Participant Data Meta-Analysis. Am J Psychiatry. 2018 Feb
2Czeisler MÉ , Lane RI, Petrosky E, et al. Mental Health, Substance Use, and Suicidal Ideation During the COVID-19 Pandemic — United States, June 24–30, 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020;69:1049–1057.
3 Ionescu DF, Swee MB, et al. Rapid and Sustained Reductions in Current Suicidal Ideation Following Repeated Doses of Intravenous Ketamine: Secondary Analysis of an Open-Label Study. J Clin Psychiatry. 2016 Jun
4 Dadiomov, David, and Kelly Lee. “The effects of ketamine on suicidality across various formulations and study settings.” The mental health clinician vol. 9,1 48-60. 4 Jan. 2019
5 Carboni, Ezio et al. “Repurposing Ketamine in Depression and Related Disorders: Can This Enigmatic Drug Achieve Success?.” Frontiers in neuroscience vol. 15 657714. 30 Apr. 2021
6 Kim S, Rush BS, Rice TR. A systematic review of therapeutic ketamine use in children and adolescents with treatment-resistant mood disorders. Eur Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2020 May 8.