February 19, 2024

5 Benefits of Ketamine for Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder

What Is Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder is a psychiatric illness characterized by unusual and extreme shifts in mood, involving emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression). These shifts in mood can make daily living incredibly difficult. Bipolar Disorder can make it extremely hard for people to even carry out normal, everyday tasks. 


There are two types of Bipolar Disorder that are commonly seen: Bipolar I and Bipolar II. There is a third type called Cyclothymic Disorder, but is less commonly diagnosed. All three types of Bipolar Disorder involve extreme changes in mood, ranging from extreme highs known as manic episodes(or hypomanic if the episodes are more mild), to extreme lows known as depressive episodes. It is important to note that the two main types of Bipolar Disorder (Bipolar I and Bipolar II) are separate diagnoses and one is not necessarily more severe than the other. 


What Does Bipolar Disorder Look Like?

Bipolar Disorders: 

  • Bipolar I
    • Severe episodes of depression, lasting at least 2 weeks and at least one episode of mania lasting at least 1 week or requiring hospitalization
      • Depression stage → a debilitating emotional state involving loss of interest in activities typically considered to be enjoyable, feelings of worthlessness, low energy levels and possibly even suicidal ideations
      • Manic stage → a state of extremely elevated mood and energy levels, often described as euphoric or invincible, impulsive or irritable. People in this stage of bipolar I may take part in risky behaviors including but not limited to gambling, reckless driving, excessive alcohol intake, illicit drug use or excessive financial spending. Psychosis or delusions are also possible during a manic episode. 
  • Bipolar II
    • Severe episodes of depression that last at least 2 weeks, but instead of mania, these patients experience hypomanic episodes. 
      • Depression stage → a debilitating emotional state that may be more chronic or debilitating than episodes of depression in bipolar I
      • Hypomanic stage → less extreme elevations in mood. These patients may feel energetic, happy or excited, may take risks, make rash investments or go on spending sprees 
  • Cyclothymic disorder: more mild form of bipolar disorder with less severe symptoms 
    • Recurrent depressive symptoms and hypomanic symptoms are that not extreme enough or do not last enough to qualify as depressive or hypomanic episodes, but can still be very difficult to live with


Treatment for bipolar disorder

People with Bipolar Disorder typically require lifelong treatment. As Bipolar Disorder unfortunately has high levels of treatment failure, in addition to following a prescribed medication regimen which typically involves mood stabilizers, atypical antipsychotics and/or psychotherapy, ketamine can also be a beneficial treatment modality.


5 Benefits of Ketamine Therapy for Bipolar Disorder

Current studies show the following 5 main benefits of ketamine therapy for Bipolar Disorder:


  1. Improvement of mood level and stability
    • Ketamine works quickly to improve mood and stabilize emotions, with fewer side effects than other medications
  2. Sleep
    • Sleep can be extremely difficult for patients with BP especially during manic episodes. Ketamine has been shown to reduce wakefulness and increase REM sleep.
  3. Rapid antisuicidal effects
    • Currently there are no approved pharmacological interventions for SI in bipolar disorder. Fortunately, studies have shown significant decreases in suicidality even after a single IV infusion of ketamine.
  4. Rapid antidepressant effects
    • Unlike typical antidepressants and mood stabilizers that can take weeks or months to begin working, the effects of ketamine are often seen within a couple sessions.
  5. Lasting results and relief
    • Ketamine therapy starts to provide results after only a couple sessions, and then results can last months after treatment. Since bipolar disorder is a chronic condition, it is important to find a treatment that helps you in the long run. 


What To Do If You Have Symptoms Of Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar Disorder is often diagnosed in late adolescence or early adulthood, although can be diagnosed earlier in life or later in life. If you or someone you know may be struggling with symptoms of bipolar disorder, please reach out to a medical or psychiatric provider for appropriate assessment and diagnosis.


If you would like to learn more about Ketamine Treatment for Bipolar Disorder, please reach out to us by clicking here.



  1. https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/bipolar-disorder
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7670087/
  3. https://www.mdpi.com/1424-8247/16/4/568
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