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'They can have these aha moments:' How some are using ketamine infusion therapy for depression and anxiety

So many people struggle with depression and anxiety. Some are ready to try a novel approach using ketamine.
Posted at 4:34 PM, Jul 05, 2024

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — Erin Hake said she's been struggling with treatment-resistant depression for most of her life. Feeling like she hit a wall, she turned to ketamine infusion treatments.

"This was life changing," said Hake.

Ketamine has been approved by the FDA for use in surgery since the 70s. It reduces a patient's feeling of pain. Some people use it illegally to get high.

Now, it's being used for patients like Erin in clinic settings. There are a few in the Omaha area. It's important to note this kind of use has not been approved by the FDA.

Nurse Tim Brady administers the drug at his job. Typically, patients have treatments over several weeks. Each visit, Brady starts an IV, lets the patient relax, and then releases the ketamine mix.

"When they are in the medicine, they can have these 'aha' moments," said Brady. "These moments of clarity can come to them through interacting with their own inner-healer if you will."

KMTV asked Dr. Lauren Edwards, a psychiatrist at UNMC, about ketamine infusion therapy. She said there is only preliminary data on this use of ketamine.

"One of the main concerns about ketamine is that it doesn't always hold the benefits for as long as we would like," said Edwards.

Edwards said she's in favor of any treatment that is safe and makes people comfortable, but recommends people should be careful of what they read online and how they use the treatment.

"The problem with having to repeatedly get the ketamine infusions is that our body develops some reliance upon it," said Edwards.

But, Hake said she feels like she has a chance at life again.

"I was in a very dark place and I feel alive," she said.

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