Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is a mental illness characterized by intrusive thoughts known as obsessions and repetitive behaviors known as compulsions. People with this disorder can find themselves deeply upset by their uncontrollable, intrusive obsessions, and can spend hours each day performing ritualistic compulsions intended to relieve the anxiety these obsessions cause. But no matter how many times the person with OCD washes his or her hands or checks his or her locks, the intrusive thoughts persist and the anxiety remains.
OCD is treated with selective-serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), but these drugs can take weeks to have an effect and as many as half of patients will experience little to no relief from symptoms. A faster-acting, more effective pharmacological solution is needed. Emerging research suggests that ketamine infusion therapy could be that solution. Ketamine infusion treatment brings about rapid and total relief of OCD symptoms that lasts about a week.
Ketamine Infusion Therapy and OCD
Multiple studies have shown ketamine infusion treatment therapy to be effective for relieving the symptoms of OCD. In one study performed at New York City’s Columbia University, 15 unmedicated adult men suffering from OCD without co-morbid depression symptoms received one IV ketamine infusion and one IV saline infusion administered as a placebo. Some of the participants received the ketamine infusion first, followed by the placebo infusion a week later; others received the two infusions in the reverse order.
The effects of the ketamine infusion were so rapid that many patients reported a decrease in intrusive thoughts even before the 40-minute infusion session was over. Seven days after receiving the ketamine infusion, 50 percent of the study participants reported that they experienced significant relief from intrusive thoughts. The other half were found to have experienced, if not a complete reduction in symptoms, enough of one to satisfy psychiatric criteria for treatment response. The effects of the ketamine infusion treatment lasted at least a week. After two weeks, 40 percent of the study participants reported that their OCD symptoms had returned.
How Ketamine Treats OCD
Researchers do not yet fully understand the mechanism by which ketamine relieves the symptoms of obsessive-compulsive disorder. However, it is believed that OCD is neurobiologically similar in origin to depression, which has also been found to respond to ketamine infusion therapy. Some researchers believe that OCD symptoms are linked to an imbalance in levels of glutamate, a neurotransmitter necessary for normal brain function. Medications that modulate levels of glutamate in the brain could relieve OCD symptoms, and ketamine is one such medication. Ketamine modulates glutamate levels by working on the brain’s NMDA receptors, which are normally stimulated by glutamate.
Get Fast Relief From OCD
If you’re one of the many people whose OCD symptoms haven’t responded well to treatment, ketamine infusion therapy could be for you. Progress toward an effective pharmacological treatment for OCD has been slow, with no new treatments emerging since the 1980s. The rapid relief many OCD patients feel during and after ketamine infusion therapy makes many feel as if a weight has been lifted from their shoulders.
Researchers are optimistic that research into the use of ketamine to treat psychiatric illnesses like OCD and depression could lead to the development of new, faster-acting, and more effective drugs that could relieve symptoms for a wider range of people. But there’s no need to wait years for researchers to develop a new drug for the treatment of OCD. Ketamine infusion therapy is available now, and many people who suffer from OCD symptoms have already taken advantage of this emerging treatment to find rapid relief from moderate to severe intrusive thoughts and anxiety. Because the effects of a single infusion last for about a week or two, most patients need multiple infusions to experience lasting relief.
If you suffer from OCD, you know how debilitating the intrusive thoughts and anxiety can be. Conventional medical treatments aren’t always effective for OCD symptoms, and many people find themselves still grappling with symptoms even after having tried multiple medications. But now there’s another option.
Emerging research suggest that ketamine infusion therapy, which has already been successfully used to bring about rapid relief of depression symptoms, can also bring about lasting relief of OCD symptoms. Don’t suffer any longer – find out what ketamine infusion therapy can do for you.