*The FDA has not approved intravenous ketamine or NAD+ for the treatment of any psychiatric or pain condition. These articles reference off-label use. Like all medical treatments, the discussed therapies carry risks and benefits. Speak with a doctor at Clarus Health to learn if these therapies may be right for you.

Ketamine Therapy
Jan 3, 2024

Ketamine for Depression: The Ultimate Patient Guide (What to Expect)

Ketamine can be a powerful treatment for depression: learn what to expect from Dr. Kaveh

Ketamine for Depression: The Ultimate Patient Guide (What to Expect)

IV Ketamine is a powerful treatment for lasting relief from depression, anxiety, PTSD, chronic pain, and even addiction. However, ketamine works differently than nearly any other medication used in modern medicine. Learn what to expect from Clarus Health's IV Ketamine therapy.

Step 1: Patient Preparation for IV Ketamine to Treat the Root Causes of Depression

The Ketamine journey begins with understanding the root causes of depression. Depression can arise from many reasons, including:

However, one of the central themes of depression is an inwardly focused rumination and perseveration of past events.

Cognitive rigidity is often the root cause of depression - and anti-depressants alone don't address this root cause

The rumination and perseveration must be addressed to treat depression. Otherwise, simply modifying neurochemicals like serotonin and norepinephrine run the risk of simply being "bandaid" fixes that may lead to medication side effects and withdrawals.

The first step of our treatment process involves an hour long, holistic consultation to explore how constrictive thought patterns sabotage our thoughts and mood. Our preparation involves:

  • Thorough medical and psychological evaluation
  • Medication review and weaning strategies, when appropriate
  • Exploring natural supplements, especially for sleep health and chronic pain
  • Applying the neuroplasticity effects of Ketamine to the patient's specific history to enhance his/her cognitive flexibility
  • Intention setting
  • Developing a personalized protocol for IV Ketamine, including NAD and other supplements, when appropriate

Rumination and Perseveration: a Consequence of Cognitive Rigidity

A critical part of our consultation involves unpacking our cognitive rigidities. Cognitive rigidity refers to rigid thought patterns that we get stuck in. We often can't break loose of these constrictive thoughts and behaviors. Rigidity is often a consequence of years of habitual thought patters influenced by people surrounding us and/or traumatic experiences.

Cognitive flexibility is the opposite end of this spectrum, representing resilience and an ability to break free of rigid thought patterns. Cognitive flexibility is associated with tolerance of ambiguity and tolerance of uncertainty. When used holistically, IV Ketamine can induce neuroplasticity to greatly enhance cognitive flexibility.

IV Ketamine can induce neuroplasticity, greatly enhancing cognitive flexibility to help us become "unstuck" from negative ruminations

Step 2: IV Ketamine infusions for Depression

Our IV Ketamine infusions last 45-60 minutes, and the entire appointment is scheduled for 90-120 minutes. Most patients have 6 IV Ketamine treatments. Your appointment includes:

  • Checking-in with Dr. Kaveh or Dr. Shrestha to answer questions and review progress
  • Placing the IV (with lots of numbing medication!) and starting your infusion
  • Experiencing the IV Ketamine journey in our healing space, closely monitored by your doctor
  • Completing the infusion and having time to debrief with your doctor
  • Leaving the clinic with a responsible adult when you feel ready

It is very important to communicate any feelings of concern or apprehension before starting your IV Ketamine infusion. You can directly call your doctor before your infusion to discuss your feelings. Your comfort and confidence are important to the success of every infusion experience.

Step 3: Check-in with your Doctor

Dr. Kaveh and Dr. Shrestha want to hear about your experience in the days after every infusion. You can expect a phone call after every infusion to check-in and ensure the process went smoothly and comfortably at every step along your healing journey.

Step 4: Integration Therapy for your IV Ketamine Treatment

The IV Ketamine experience can rapidly produce positive changes to your mindset and mood. We want every patient to continue this progress with sustained improvements after completing their IV Ketamine infusion series.

Ketamine opens a "critical window" to learning new thought patterns to stay "unstuck" for years to come

To achieve lasting improvement, patients must take advantage of the "critical window" that is opened after every infusion. Ketamine's neuroplastic effects open the brain to new, more flexible thought patterns to replace rigid thought patterns.

Working with your therapist in the days after your Ketamine infusion can unlock new perspectives that your therapist will help you embrace for sustained relief from depression. Clarus Health will work to coordinate your infusions with your therapist to take full advantage of this critical window.

Many patients tell us they did years of therapy in just 1-2 sessions after their infusion

If you don't have a therapist, your doctors can recommend some therapists who have experience with Ketamine integration. The final decision always lies with you and who you feel comfortable with.

Step 5: IV Ketamine Boosters for Lasting Depression Relief

Many patients achieve months of relief from their depression after their initial series of IV Ketamine infusions. Many patients are also able to reduce the doses of their anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medications in this time.

Some patients who reduce their anti-depressants will receive "booster" infusions a few times a year. This is often a more natural healing approach with a lower risk of side effects compared to taking oral medications daily.

Want to Learn More About IV Ketamine for Depression?

Contact Clarus Health for a free consultation to learn if IV Ketamine therapy can help treat the root causes of your depression.

Anthony Kaveh MD

Anthony Kaveh MD

Dr. Kaveh is a Stanford and Harvard-trained anesthesiologist and integrative medicine specialist. He has over 800,000 followers on social media and has guided hundreds of patients throughout transformative healing experiences. He is an authority on Ketamine, NAD, and SGB therapies. He is a registered continuing education lecturer in the Bay Area.