More than 17 million Americans have depression, a mood disorder marked by persistent feelings of sadness and loss of interest in common facets of life. This specific condition is one that cannot be cured, but can be treated with the appropriate means. Several Americans who have depression benefit from a combination of prescription medication and psychotherapy to help reduce their symptoms and give them control over this particular mood disorder. Others, however, do not always respond to this traditional form of treatment. Those who get little to no relief from a medication/therapy combination are known to have treatment-resistant depression, or TRD.
Having TRD means that people need to seek unconventional ways to help treat the symptoms associated with their depression. One of the most common of these therapies is the use of Spravato, a medication containing ketamine that is designed to offer relief for people with TRD. At first glance, the thought of using a ketamine-based medication may be concerning. However, Spravato has been FDA-approved for use in those with TRD. So, given the go-ahead from the FDA, many are left to wonder, “what does Spravato feel like?”
What is Spravato Treatment?
As mentioned before, Spravato is a medication used to help treat symptoms of treatment-resistant depression. But, unlike other prescription medications, Spravato is not taken regularly and cannot even be taken home. This specific medication must be used in the care of a professional at all times. That is because there is a strong potential for misuse, which can lead to addiction and several other negative side effects (including death).
Individuals who include Spravato into the treatment for their TRD will go to an outpatient office or facility to receive their medication. Spravato comes in a nasal spray, which the doctor will provide to the patient. The patient will then administer the nasal spray to themselves and remain at the office for about two hours. This is required because Spravato can cause dizziness, sedation, dissociation, anxiety, and disconnection from oneself. The doctor will monitor the patient for these two hours to ensure their safety and wellbeing. Spravato is a safe medication to take in the care of professionals, however because of its potency, it can easily be misused and cause life-threatening effects.
How Does Spravato Work?
Traditionally, Spravato works by helping to balance out levels of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. Doing this allows for relief from depression-related symptoms. However, not everyone sees success with antidepressants. Spravato is designed to help those with TRD get some relief from their ongoing symptoms of depression so that they can live happier lives.
How Does Spravato Work in the Brain?
When Spravato is administered, it immediately works to help increase glutamate, a neurotransmitter in the brain that is present in 90% of all brain synapses. When glutamate is increased, it helps to stimulate the neurotransmitters in all areas of the brain, including those parts that are linked to symptoms of depression. This process has proven to help reduce suicidal thoughts and helps the brain develop new connections, in addition to helping the development of cell connections in the brain, which is vital in those with depression because the brain can be damaged if the condition goes untreated.
What Does Spravato Feel Like?
One of the biggest questions that people have regarding this form of treatment is, “what does Spravato feel like?” This is a completely understandable question, as ketamine is a sedative and known to be extremely potent. Most people do not want to begin Spravato treatments if they are going to feel out of control after using it. But, as with many medications, some people respond one way while others respond in another. Some of the most common feelings individuals taking Spravato experience include the following:
- Dissociation – Because ketamine, the main ingredient in Spravato, is an anesthetic, it easily produces symptoms of dissociation that can feel nothing short of weird. Many people report having an out-of-body experience after taking Spravato, while others report feeling like they are in one place when they are not. The patient’s sense of what is real and what is not can become distorted.
- Exhaustion – A huge majority of people who use Spravato report feeling exhausted at some point in the two-hour period after taking it. This makes sense, as ketamine is a sedative. This also causes patients to feel drowsy even after the two-hour period of observation.
- Feeling drunk – It is often reported that the “high” that is produced when taking Spravato causes patients to feel drunk. In fact, many patients report that the effects of Spravato make them feel more drunk than they have ever been before, while others relate it to the sensation of “tripping”.
It is also common for patients on Spravato to experience anxiety, increased blood pressure, spinning sensations, nausea, dizziness, and numbness in extremities. Because of these effects, the two-hour waiting period after administering Spravato is absolutely necessary to ensure the patient’s safety.
Depression Treatment in Tennessee
If you are experiencing depression but are unable to get relief from your symptoms with traditional treatments, reach out to us right now. Not only will our team of compassionate professionals answer all of your questions, but they will also help guide you towards determining if Spravato is an appropriate treatment option for you.