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Using Esketamine for Depression

Depression is more than just a passing mood of sadness or melancholy. From a mental health perspective, it’s a profound and often debilitating condition that affects one’s emotional, physical, and cognitive states. Clinical depression, or major depressive disorder (MDD), goes beyond occasional feelings of sadness, persisting for long periods and significantly impairing an individual’s ability to function in daily life. It can deteriorate personal and professional relationships, diminish productivity, and disrupt daily functioning, casting a shadow over the simplest activities and joys. While there are many approaches used by mental health treatment professionals that often involve therapy or medication, some people experience treatment-resistant depression. In this case, mental health specialists frequently employ esketamine for depression in the form of Spravato® nasal spray. 

Columbia Associates understands that the severity and impact of clinical depression can vary widely among individuals and that not everyone responds to treatment in the same way. For those struggling with treatment-resistant depression, call 703.682.8208 to learn about Spravato® treatment in Alexandria, VA. 

Mental Health Treatments for Depression 

Depression is typically treated with a combination of therapy, medication, and, at times, alternative treatments. Each method comes with its set of advantages and considerations: 

  • Therapy – Psychological counseling, or psychotherapy, offers a safe space where individuals can explore their feelings, thoughts, and behaviors under the guidance of a trained therapist. Mental health professionals often employ a variety of evidence-based therapies to treat depression. Some of these include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) or dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), among others. Naturally, every individual experiences depression in their own way, and therapeutic approaches are tailored to the particular client’s needs. 
  • Medications – Antidepressants can help adjust the chemical imbalances in the brain that contribute to depression symptoms. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) are among the most commonly prescribed. 
  • Lifestyle changes – Activities like meditation and exercise have shown potential in managing depression symptoms, often used alongside traditional treatments. 

While these treatments are effective for many, they don’t work for everyone. This leads us to a critical juncture in depression treatment: treatment-resistant depression. 

Treatment-Resistant Depression 

Treatment-resistant depression is characterized by the lack of significant improvement after trying at least two antidepressant therapies. Its features include: 

  • Persistent symptoms of depression despite treatment 
  • Minimal improvement in mood or functioning with standard treatments 
  • The need for alternative or additional therapies to achieve remission 

This condition necessitates exploring more advanced and sometimes novel treatment avenues, one of which is esketamine. 

Esketamine for Depression 

In recent years, esketamine nasal spray—marketed under the brand name Spravato®—has emerged as a promising treatment for those suffering from treatment-resistant depression. But what exactly is esketamine, and how does it differ from ketamine? 

Understanding Esketamine 

Esketamine is a derivative of ketamine, a medication primarily used for starting and maintaining anesthesia. Unlike ketamine, esketamine targets specific receptors in the brain more directly, potentially leading to fewer side effects while still offering significant antidepressant benefits. Administered as a nasal spray, esketamine provides a more accessible form of treatment that healthcare professionals can closely monitor. 

Scientific Evidence and FDA Approval 

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved esketamine nasal spray in 2019 for use in adults with treatment-resistant depression under the brand name Spravato®. This approval was based on the results of clinical studies demonstrating its effectiveness in rapidly reducing depression symptoms, often within hours or days, compared to the weeks typically required for traditional antidepressants to take effect. Some key points from these studies include: 

  • Significant improvement in depression scores compared to placebo in short-term studies 
  • Continued relief from symptoms over long-term use 
  • A generally well-tolerated profile with common side effects being dizziness, nausea, and sedation 

Trained mental health professionals, like those at Columbia Associates, administer Spravato® as part of comprehensive depression treatment services. 

Contact Columbia Associates for Esketamine for Depression Treatment

If you or a loved one have experienced treatment-resistant depression, contact Columbia Associates for more information about Spravato® and how esketamine for depression can provide relief. There is a path toward renewed mental health and well-being, so reach out today. 

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