The Science of Ketamine Treatment: How it Works on Your Brain

Depression and other mood disorders can be debilitating conditions, impacting every aspect of a person’s life. Traditional treatments such as talk therapy and antidepressants can be effective for some people, but they don’t work for everyone. For those who don’t respond to these treatments, or who need faster relief, ketamine treatment may be an option.

What is Ketamine?

Ketamine is a medication that was first developed as an anesthetic for surgery. It has since been found to have powerful antidepressant effects. Ketamine works differently than traditional antidepressants, which target neurotransmitters such as serotonin and norepinephrine. Instead, ketamine targets a different neurotransmitter called glutamate. Glutamate is involved in the process of neuroplasticity, which is the brain’s ability to rewire itself in response to experience.

How Does Ketamine Work?

Researchers believe that ketamine works by stimulating the growth of new neural connections in the brain. It does this by increasing the production of a protein called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF). BDNF is important for the growth and survival of neurons in the brain, and is also involved in the process of neuroplasticity. By increasing the production of BDNF, ketamine may help to repair the damage caused by chronic stress and depression.

Ketamine also appears to work by blocking a receptor in the brain called the NMDA receptor. This receptor is involved in the process of learning and memory, as well as the regulation of mood. By blocking the NMDA receptor, ketamine may be able to reset the brain’s balance of neurotransmitters and relieve the symptoms of depression.

What is Ketamine Treatment Like?

Ketamine treatment is typically administered through an intravenous infusion, which takes about 40 minutes to an hour. Patients may experience a range of sensations during the infusion, including dissociation, which is a feeling of detachment from one’s body or surroundings. Some patients may also experience mild hallucinations or changes in perception.

The effects of ketamine treatment can be felt within hours or days, rather than the weeks or months required for traditional antidepressants to take effect. Patients may experience a lifting of mood, a reduction in anxiety, and an increase in energy and motivation.

Is Ketamine Treatment Right for You?

Ketamine treatment may be an option for people who have not responded to traditional antidepressant treatments, or who need faster relief. It is also being studied as a treatment for other psychiatric disorders, including bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

If you are interested in ketamine treatment, talk to your healthcare provider to see if it is a good option for you. At Nao Medical, we offer ketamine treatment as part of our mental health services, along with talk therapy and other innovative treatments.


The science behind etamine treatment is fascinating and promising for those struggling with depression and other mood disorders. By targeting the neurotransmitter glutamate and increasing the production of BDNF, ketamine may help to stimulate neuroplasticity and repair the damage caused by chronic stress and depression. While ketamine treatment may not be for everyone, it is a promising alternative for those who have not found relief through traditional treatments. At Nao Medical, we are committed to leveraging innovative technology and treatments to provide high quality and affordable care for communities, especially in lower-income areas. If you’re interested in learning more about ketamine treatment or our other mental health services, please visit our website or book an appointment today.


What are the side effects of ketamine treatment?

Ketamine treatment may cause mild to moderate side effects, including nausea, headache, and dizziness. Some patients may also experience dissociation or mild hallucinations during the infusion.

How long does the relief from ketamine treatment last?

The effects of ketamine treatment can vary, but many patients report relief from symptoms for several weeks or months after a single infusion. Some patients may require ongoing treatment to maintain the effects.

Is ketamine treatment covered by insurance?

While ketamine treatment is becoming more widely accepted as a treatment for depression and other mood disorders, it is not yet covered by all insurance plans. At Nao Medical, we accept many insurance plans and offer affordable pricing for those without insurance.

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Disclaimer: The information presented in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered, construed or interpreted as legal or professional advice, guidance or opinion.

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