Ketamine Infusion as an effective Bipolar Depression Treatment

We all have ups and downs in life but people with bipolar disorder experience these peaks and valleys more intensely. In the past, the depressive phase of bipolar disorder was merged in with the usual depression but the growing body of research advocated that there is a significant difference between these two, particularly when it comes to their treatment plan.

The National Institute of Mental Health reported that more than 5.7 million adult Americans suffer from bipolar disorder; but, approximately half of this population never receive proper diagnosis or treatment.

What is Bipolar Depression?

Depression is a part of the highs and lows associated with bipolar disorder. It is difficult to diagnose bipolar depression and some studies suggest that as many as 50% of people who actually have bipolar depression are wrongly diagnosed with Unipolar depression. This is because the symptoms of the depressive phase of bipolar disorder are almost similar as that of simple depression and the diagnosis can only be made on the basis of whether the person has experienced an episode of mania or hypomania in the past.

During the depressive phase of bipolar disorder, people can:


Feel sad and empty


Have minimum to no energy


Have thoughts about death or suicide


Sleep too much or too little


Eat too much or too little


Feel loss of interest in the routine activities


Feel difficulty in concentrating and decision making

People can experience all of these bipolar depressive symptoms or some of them.

Treatment Options

As discussed above, diagnosing bipolar depression is difficult; therefore, its treatment is also difficult. It is not helped by the usual antidepressant medications. In fact, there is a risk of worsening of patient’s condition if tried to treat with antidepressants. The usual treatment options of bipolar depression include:

  • Medications like mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, antidepressant-antipsychotic combinations and anti-anxiety agents.
  • Different type of psychotherapies, for example, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal and social rhythm therapy (IPSRT), psychoeducation, family-focused therapy, etc.
  • Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) – usually as the last resort


Ketamine infusion therapy has shown to be an impressive treatment for bipolar depression, working in a matter of hours, unlike the other conventional medications that require weeks to exert their effects. It has a an over 70% success rate in treating Depression.  Ketamine is believed to exert antidepressant effects by interacting with certain receptors in the central nervous system.

Over the last decade, mental health care experts have started prescribing ketamine infusions as a treatment of choice to address bipolar depression. It is safe and well-tolerated by patients, with little to no side effects at all. It can be especially beneficial for patients who become treatment resistant to the conventional treatments.

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