Too many people, too often, avoid seeking treatment for their mental health issues due to the negative stigma associated with them.

Having an aversion to taking pills, and talking about difficult or compromising subjects with a doctor are also common reasons. With hindsight, or perspective, it is easy to see why this only leads to unnecessary suffering. Those who suffer from mental health issues should bravely seek help as soon as they can.

It may not be a surprise to learn that, in the United States, from 2014 to 2017, depression rose in prevalence by 31%. This rise indicates that more people need effective treatments available.

Traditionally, this means taking antidepressants — like Prozac — and attending regular psychotherapy sessions to receive cognitive behavioral therapy. It works for some, but often it leaves others hopeless as it fails to provide adequate relief.

Until just a few years ago, there were no other treatments available. However, as medical research has progressed, a new treatment for depression has risen in popularity: ketamine.

Ketamine has been used as an intravenous (IV) anesthetic since the 1970s. But, recently it has risen in popularity as a treatment for other conditions like depression and pain. Since it is only administered at ketamine clinics — and because the treatments are offered “off label” — it is important to know what to look for when choosing a ketamine clinic.

A good ketamine clinic should screen you before any treatments begin, to gauge the state of your mental health. If you qualify for the treatment by failing to receive adequate relief from two or more traditional depression treatments, the clinic also should encourage you to continue regular psychotherapy and pharmacological treatments in addition to the ketamine infusions.

Much of the battle with depression involves taking responsibility of your mental state, and not relying solely on the treatments to make things better. Instead, practice what is learned in therapy regularly, or take up mindfulness to relax unhealthy thinking patterns.

Following each infusion, the clinic should also screen you again to ensure that the treatment received is effectively relieving your symptoms.

Ketamine clinics vary, but most ketamine infusions cost between $500 to $1,000 per treatment, with each one taking, on average, between 40 minutes and one hour to complete.

Most patients receive four to six infusions initially, and then maintenance infusions on an as needed basis to maintain positive results.

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