Untangling the brain

Spravato For Severe Treatment-Resistant Depression

By rbailey83 | Mental Health Wellness | 27 Apr 2022

Some Background

Since I was 12 years old, I have been suffering from Severe Treatment-Resistant Depression and General Anxiety. My journey through treatment for my depression has been lengthy and has been exhaustive. 

I have been through every medication and medication combination my psychiatrist could throw at me until we got to the point of waiting for the next new medication to hit the market and hope it worked. I either had no reaction to the medication or bad side effects. 

I had also gone to the Homewood Health Centre. It consisted of some classes to help with coping strategies as well as a complete medication revamp. I was able to pick up some useful information that I didn't have in my toolbox yet. I had also taught myself Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) and learned Mindfulness through a local community group.

The CBT and the Mindfulness both were helpful and useful for me.

I also went through 8 sessions of Electroconvulsive Therapy (ECT), more commonly known as Shock Therapy. I did not have any improvements by the 8th session so it was stopped.

I was referred to trials for Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) and Trans Cranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) but both psychiatrists running the trials felt that I wouldn't be a good fit with the type of depression I had.

Ketamine Infusions

Ketamine Infusions have been used for a while now for people with Treatment-Resistant Depression, and to intervene with strong suicidal thoughts and urges. We hadn't tried this treatment as it was not offered locally. My psychiatrist was the head of psychiatry at my local hospital and worked with my family Dr. to get the treatment pushed through.

It was a 3-week treatment, 3 times a week. By the end, I had noticed some slight improvements but as the hospital did not officially run this treatment program it was not an option to try and go for a longer period of time.

We were back to trying new medications and hoping that something worked.

Spravato Treatment

Towards the end of 2020 a new treatment using Esketamine, a purer form of ketamine, became available. Last year I started the treatments using the Spravato Esketamine. It differs not only in a slightly different strain of ketamine but also in the dosage amount and the number of treatments given.

You start out the first month doing it 3 times a month. The second month is twice a month, and the third month goes to once a week. After that, the person tries going every other week. However, if the patient notices that their mood starts declining before the 14th day the treatment period can be altered.

This treatment goes on for a year. After that the patient may need to continue regularly or may be able to go for longer periods of time between treatments, only going back in for one treatment if/when the mood starts decreasing again.

My Results With Spravato

I had suicidal thoughts and urges daily, throughout the whole day. After the first treatment the suicidal thoughts were greatly reduced and by the end of the third treatment pretty much completely gone.

After a few months of doing the treatment I was starting to get interested in things I hadn't been interested in in a long time. I was reading again, watching tutorial videos for things like game development and getting back into that as a hobby.

By the 8th month I was getting to a place where I felt I could start working more, currently I was only doing three 5 hour shifts a week. I was even lookin at becoming a virtual assistant and taking a course to help me reach that goal.

Unfortunately, my benefits plan stopped covering the Spravato treatment. They said I no longer met the scoring requirement for depression. This was because the treatment was working. It took 2 months of back and forth appealing the decision to get it covered again. During that two months I lost all the progress I had made and had to start all over again.

Initially the benefit company had set a coverage date expiration that I had to resubmit for the first time around. This time, through all the appeals and information given by both my and my psychiatrist all they ask for was proof that the treatment was working. To show this I made a daily chart that covered things like suicidal thoughts, energy, interest, motivation, ambition, sleep etc. that I fill out. My coverage goes until mid June of this year and at that point they want the submission of proof the treatment is working. Hopefully this time around when we resubmit for continued coverage that will be enough to keep the treatments going.

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I have dabbled in blogging and am new to cryptocurrency. I like to read and write.

Mental Health Wellness
Mental Health Wellness

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