(Branson, Mo.--01/09/18) A drug is growing across the Ozarks in popularity for its effectiveness to treat depression, and a Branson clinic is offering the treatment.
More than 16 million Americans suffer from depression and nearly a third don’t find relief from a traditional treatment. An old drug is offering new hope for people who’ve struggled to feel better.
Dr. Joseph Yassa is an anesthesiologist and tells FOX5,"We thought there was a very bright window of opportunity for Ketamine infusion in this setting and the need was profound in this area.
People have used ketamine for its psychedelic effects, but the drug has also been used as an anesthetic for decades in clinics and hospitals.
"Mental illness is a very serious problem, but it’s also a very complex problem."
In much smaller doses the drug is being heralded by Dr. Yassa and his partners at their clinic in Branson called Elevate, as a breakthrough in the treatment of depression chronic pain and PTSD. Patients who visit the clinic are referred there by their doctor.
"We can spring them into a a situation where they’re not in the severe pit of depression and where they’re able to cope with the depression better and their symptoms improve."
Medical experts say Ketamine works by helping to bridge the gaps between neurons in the brain so information runs more smoothly. The drug specifically targets the part of the brain dealing with emotional health.
"Thinking outside of the box with regards to its treatment is sometimes very necessary to create an efficacious treatment plan for someone who has had issues with refractions.
The Federal Drug Administration has yet to approve Ketamine to treat depression, and it is not covered by insurance. Dr Yassa says he has seen the benefits though with his own eyes.
"In the world of treating depression that’s a totally fulfilling for us to see patients in a awakened interaction, responding dramatically to a medication that has long been in use and has long demonstrated a very safety profile. To see them respond dramatically to a drug like that is very fulfilling."
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