Ketamine - The Most Effective Treatment for Depression


smiling woman painting

Ketamine, originally developed as a surgical anesthetic, has emerged as the most effective treatment against depression. This has been demonstrated by the experience of hundreds of clinics across the country, as well as multiple research studies at prestigious institutions such as Yale, Mt. Sinai, UC San Diego, and Johns Hopkins. Ketamine is effective for all types of depression, including:

  • Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)
  • Treatment-Resistant-Depression (TRD)
  • Unipolar and Bipolar Depression
  • Post-Partum Depression

Depression, or Major Depressive Disorder

Depression, or Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) is defined as a persistent state of low mood and aversion to activity. To someone with depression, they describe it as a loss of that which makes life worth living. The core symptoms of depression can include:

  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Anhedonia, or a loss of interest in pleasurable activities
  • Feelings of extreme sadness
  • Hopelessness and despair
  • Difficulty with thinking and concentration
  • Low motivation
  • Low self-esteem

Depression is believed to be caused by a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors. It is often first brought on by stressful life events, such as the loss of one’s spouse or job. Specific risk factors include a family history, major life changes, childhood trauma, being a victim of abuse or bullying, certain medications, certain physical diseases, and substance abuse. About 40% of the risk of developing depression appears to be related to genetics. Some people have periods of depression separated by years in which they are normal, while others nearly always have symptoms present.

Depression frequently co-occurs with other mood disorders (which are also usually  responsive to Ketamine therapy) such as

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)
  • Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD)
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

In addition, those suffering from Chronic Pain frequently also suffer from Depression and/or other mood disorders. As much as 85% of chronic pain patients have depression.

Treatment-Resistant Depression

Treatment-Resistant Depression (TRD) is most commonly defined as major depression which has failed to respond to at least two classes of antidepressant medications, with a sufficient dose and duration. Failure to respond means either the depressive symptoms did not get better, and/or there were unacceptably severe side effects. As much as sixty percent of MDD patients do not respond to traditional antidepressants, i.e., have TRD.

Since traditional antidepressants often take two months to reduce depressive symptoms, many patients lose years of their life in a desperate sequence of trying one medication after another to find an effective medication. Meanwhile, their quality of life is horrible – they keep suffering with hopelessness, low mood, no motivation, despair, and recurring suicidal thoughts about how to end the suffering. At our Boulder Mind Care clinic we have treated TRD patients who have tried more than fifteen to twenty different medications to treat their depression.

We opened our Ketamine clinic to help the victims of TRD in northern Colorado, who were still suffering, losing relationships and jobs, often contemplating suicide. Ketamine has been well established in multiple scientific research studies at institutions such as Yale, Johns Hopkins, and the National Institute of Mental Health, to reduce depressive symptoms in 70% or greater of TRD patients. And Ketamine works rapidly, sometimes within hours, and has minimal to no side effects, in contrast with traditional antidepressants.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder (BD) is very responsive to Ketamine infusion therapy. BD was previously known as “manic depression”, and is characterized by periods of depression alternating with abnormally elevated moods. If the elevated mood is either severe, or if it is associated with psychosis (delusions or hallucinations) it is called mania; if it is less severe, it is called hypomania. A person with mania, behaves or feels unusually energetic, happy, and/or irritable. As with unipolar depression, BD is caused by a combination of environmental and genetic factors; however, the genetic contribution is about twice that of unipolar depression, i.e. 70% – 90% vs 40%. Bipolar disorder is classified as bipolar I disorder if there has been at least one manic episode, with or without depressive episodes. Bipolar II, on the other hand, is defined as a history of at least one major depressive episode with at least one hypomanic episode (but no full manic episodes).

Post-Partum Depression

Post-Partum Depression (PPD) develops in 15% of women giving birth. The “Baby Blues” are often experienced in the first two weeks after childbirth due to lack of sleep, stress about the baby and being a ‘good-enough’ parent, in-laws, finances, etc. PPD is characterized by severe adverse changes in mood with depression and anxiety beyond the first two weeks. PPD symptoms do not resolve without treatment – and time is of the essence. This is the period when the all-critical bond develops between mom and baby; without bonding, the baby suffers emotionally and physically, which can have long-term adverse consequences into adulthood. In addition, without treatment, the mom is at risk for suicide. A recent study1 found that suicide accounted for 1 out of every 19 (5.3%) deaths in pregnant or postpartum women. Further, suicide most often occurred at 9 to 12 months after childbirth in the women in this study.

Ketamine infusion therapy is ideal to help women suffering with PPD, because of the rapid onset of improvement (within hours to days to reverse suicidal thoughts and other symptoms of depression, compared to the four to eight weeks typical of conventional antidepressants). Ketamine quickly lowers the risk of suicide, and allows the mother to bond with her baby.

Ketamine appears in small amounts in the breast milk; however the conventional antidepressants (SSRIs, SNRIs, atypicals, and antipsychotics) are rated as “Category D”, which means that they have all been shown to cause problems in the breastfeeding offspring of mothers given Ketamine. In contrast, Ketamine is rated as “Category C”, meaning it is unknown if it could cause problems in the baby. Due to both legal and ethical concerns, human studies have not been conducted specifically looking at whether Ketamine causes problems in the infant when passed through the breastmilk. However, it seems unlikely, as anecdotally, many pregnant and breastfeeding women have received Ketamine for various reasons, and to date there have not been any case reports of adverse effects.

Suicidal Thoughts or Ideation

Suicidal thoughts or ideation (SI) are a dangerous symptom of depression. At least 60% of people who die by suicide were known to have Major Depression, with a higher risk if there is also a dual diagnosis (ie alcohol and/or substance abuse). The suicide rate in the United States has risen every year since 1999. Furthermore, with the onset of the Coronavirus pandemic, this rate is trending even more sharply higher. There is hope, however, as suicidal ideation is especially responsive to Ketamine. Ketamine infusion therapy has been demonstrated to diminish or abolish suicidal thoughts in as many as 91% of patients suffering from SI.


My son has been receiving ketamine treatment here for about 1.5 years now, and it has been the key difference in treating his major depressive disorder. It pushed the depression back enough to allow him to feel hope, and be able to focus on learning and implementing strategies to make his life worth living. Read more
After my initial consultation with Dr Grindle, I had my first ketamine infusion, and I had a dramatic improvement in my depression and anxiety. Later, at Dr Grindle’s recommendation, I tried “Ketamine Assisted Psychotherapy” wherein I did therapy with my therapist while receiving ketamine at the same time. Ketamine by itself was incredible; ketamine and therapy simultaneously was miraculous. The ketamine enabled my therapist to walk with me through and process traumatic memories; in a way that was not painful or difficult. As a result, I had my most productive sessions ever! Read more
We knew we wanted an anesthesiologist to administer the treatments and fortunately for us, we discovered Boulder Mind Care. Honestly, your practice was not what we expected. It is much more intimate than we could have imagined. I feel like you know our son so well and you took the time to make us feel comfortable, knowing that we were traveling from out of state. Your total picture approach is amazing. Read more
There aren’t enough superlatives in the dictionary to adequately express all the ways I would passionately and enthusiastically I recommend Boulder Mind Care. Dr. Wade, Sarah, and Stacie were the most capable, compassionate, and loving people we have had the pleasure of meeting. My daughter and I traveled from Maryland to be treated at Boulder... Read more
My care there has helped me greatly. I trust Dr G with everything and I know in total confidence that Ms Sarah cares. I feel as if I have a team of caregivers who assist me to living my very full active and productive life. That they are on my team to help me bloom... Read more
First of, it was great to actually talk to someone who wanted to hear my problems right off the bat, not just fill a spot and become a number. These guys are stellar and go beyond what is asked, to staying late on Saturdays and answering the phone outside of business hours. Finding the nerve... Read more
Last year my husband fell into a bad episode of depression.  As the months went on the depression progressively got worse and worse.  EVERY aspect of his life was affected.  He wasn’t even able to continue working because of being non-functional. Read more
After a lifetime of struggling with depression, finding Dr. Grindle and ketamine has changed my life. Read more
I can say with absolute certainty that I am alive today as a result of meeting Dr Wade and Sarah. You see just over a year ago I went to the ER with a burst appendix and after an extensive surgery they were not able to control the severe pain that I was having. The previous... Read more
Doctor Grindle has put his life into this work, and it truly shows. Sarah and he are a great team and I am so grateful for everything they’re doing. They made a huge difference in my life. Read more
I was amazed to find that Ketamine actually helped a lot, made me feel like I had not felt in a long time! I was living without depression, and without any side effects. Sarah and Dr. Grindle have been amazing. Read more
As a military vet with treatment-resistant, bi-polar depression, I am so grateful for the compassionate care Sarah and Dr. Grindle give me. My entire outlook has transformed into a more positive, life-loving, passionate one, and those closest to me ALL noticed the difference and continue to do so. Read more
My life has changed after going to Dr. Grindle and starting ketamine infusions. “Changed my life” doesn’t do it justice. I’ve suffered from depression since I was 15 and diagnosed at 42, but depression continued to rule my life for the next 14 years. My psychiatrist prescribed every antidepressant and combination of antidepressants for those... Read more

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