According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), among adolescents aged 12-17 years, 1 in 5 has a diagnosable mental health disorder. And adolescent depression is a significant public health problem associated with significant mortality.
Mental health is an important part of adolescents’ overall health and well-being. It affects how teenagers think, feel, and act. It also plays a role in how they handle stress, relate to others, and make healthy choices.
According to the CDC nearly 40% of adolescents remain depressed after taking medication. These 40% continue to remain depressed despite ongoing treatment and are considered to have treatment-resistant depression. Teen girls are more likely to report mental health struggles than teen boys.
Yale University research indicates “treatment-resistant depression is debilitating and especially damaging during the teenage years. So many important aspects of teenage development rely on the ability to socialize and get out in the world. Additional safe and effective options for adolescents who don’t respond to first-line therapies are needed”.
According to the American Journal of Psychiatry, “intravenous ketamine has shown to be a safe and effective treatment for adolescents with treatment-resistant depression. As demonstrated in adults, a single ketamine infusion dramatically reduced depressive symptoms in as soon as 24 hours, these improvements may last for at least two weeks and in many patients even longer”.
Research also suggests ketamine works in part by stimulating synaptic plasticity—encouraging neurons to form new connections with each other. It is understood that the enhanced plasticity potential in younger brains compared with adults could allow for longer durations of ketamine-associated antidepressant effects.
Although IV ketamine infusions will not be a solution for every adolescent, patients under psychiatric care, and closely supervised by their parents do very well when other treatments have failed. Treatment plans are specific to each patient.
Treatments are coordinated with the patient’s current referring mental health provider.
by Michael Kullman MD | Oct 1, 2023 | Mental Health
Adolescence is a period of significant growth and change, both physically and emotionally. Conditions such as depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder can have a profound impact on the well-being of teens and adolescents...read more