Desert Sands Ketamine provides hope, healing from treatment-resistant depression and pain disorders

Stock image | Photo by Ridofranz/iStock/Getty Images Plus, St. George News

CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — Ketamine represents an optimistic new frontier in the treatment of mood disorders and chronic pain conditions.

At Desert Sands Ketamine Treatment Center, Dr. Eric Evans provides ketamine in low doses administered via IV infusion. Offering proven success and lasting results, he proclaims it a “wonder drug” for treatment-resistant depression and other mental health issues as well as pain disorders. 

“There’s a huge need in Southern Utah,” he said. “Our goal is to help you get back to living a passionate, rewarding and productive life as quickly as possible.”

Hope for treatment-resistant depression 

Depression can become so overwhelming that it’s hard to focus at work and be present in relationships – sometimes even to get out of bed or find any enjoyment in life. Evans said Desert Sands is frequently contacted by people who don’t know where else to turn after having tried multiple medications for their depression without much success, if any.

For these patients, ketamine offers hope when other treatments have failed. Rather than elevating levels of serotonin or dopamine, it boosts a chemical known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which plays an essential role in stabilizing mood. Evans pointed to a research study conducted by Yale University on patients with treatment-resistant depression that demonstrated a success rate of 70%, nearly double that of prescription antidepressants.

“I hesitate to use the word ‘miracle’ with any medicine, but ketamine has been nothing short of miraculous for a lot of people in our clinic,” he said. “With ketamine, people can wake up in the morning and joy is a possibility for them again.” 

Better results with fewer side effects

Dr. Eric Evans and Shannon Evans, owners of Desert Sands Medical Clinics, St. George, Utah, date not specified | Photo by Sheldon Demke, St. George News

While there are a host of prescription antidepressants on the market – Prozac, Elavil, Zoloft and so on – many of them come with a bevy of unpleasant side effects including erectile dysfunction, lack of sexual desire, nausea, insomnia and weight gain. Another common complaint among people taking antidepressants is that although the medication eliminates their emotional lows, it often takes away the highs as well. Evans said that numb state isn’t a concern with ketamine.

“Ketamine leaves those things intact and yet treats people’s mental health issues in a unique and new way,” he added. “It works on a completely different mechanism of the brain called the glutamate system.” 

Antidepressants typically take between six and eight weeks to reach maximum efficacy. But the mood-boosting effects of ketamine start almost immediately, Evans said, adding that the drug has virtually no side effect profile and is extremely safe when administered by a medical professional. 

The link between pain and depression

Over the course of his 25-year career in anesthesiology and pain management, Evans observed an undeniable correlation between pain disorders and mental health issues. Chronic pain is exhausting and emotionally debilitating, he said, adding that it’s often difficult to determine which came first, a patient’s pain or their depression. 

Evans said ketamine is both a highly effective painkiller and a dissociative anesthetic. Because it’s administered via IV infusion, relief begins almost immediately. It also provides a lasting emotional boost that helps patients better cope with their pain disorders on a daily basis.   

“If you can raise someone’s mood, their perception of pain also improves,” he said. “If you have something that could help with both, that would be the miracle medication that we’ve been looking for, and it looks like ketamine has those properties.” 

Help with chronic pain disorders

At Desert Sands, Evans treats patients struggling with migraines, chronic back pain, fibromyalgia and rheumatoid arthritis, among other conditions. The joint inflammation caused by rheumatoid arthritis results in stiffness and pain on a daily basis; some body parts may be painful to touch. 

Evans said loss of function due to a pain disorder is frustrating and can adversely affect a person’s overall attitude. Ketamine helps patients with rheumatoid arthritis and other forms of chronic pain participate in daily activities more comfortably while enjoying a general sense of emotional well-being. 

Interior of the Desert Sands Ketamine Treatment Center, St. George, Utah, date not specified | Photo by Sheldon Demke, St. George News

“A medication that can reduce your pain and elevate your mood can be life altering,” he said. “We love to help people become more functional and get back to feeling like themselves.” 

Desert Sands fosters a comfortable healing environment with compassionate staff who are dedicated to helping every patient achieve the best results possible. The patient experience always begins with a free consultation to discuss their issues and determine if ketamine is right for them.

Beyond ketamine infusions, the clinic provides patients with resources to improve all aspects of their well-being, including dietary guidance, meditation, massage therapy, relationship counseling and talk therapy. 

“Every person has such a unique story and set of issues that they’re dealing with,” Evans said. “We try to use a complete approach to each patient.”

For more information or to schedule a free consultation, visit the Desert Sands Ketamine Treatment Center website or call 435-522-5190.

Written by ALEXA MORGAN for St. George News.

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