The researches found that the depression and anxiety do not seem to get better even with repeated use of medication and visits to their therapist. Spring Center of Hope provides another option that may help people suffering from mood disorders feel like themselves again. The center provides ketamine infusion therapy, an alternative to traditional methods of managing depression and other illnesses. Ketamine is an anesthetic drug that can also be used for pain relief.

Ketamine is an anesthetic drug

Spring Center of Hope originally opened in Spring in 2017, but recently relocated to the Tomball area. The new location opened. Co-founders Cindy Van Praag and Tessa Benson said the ketamine infusion process is an option for people with treatment-resistant depression, meaning therapy, medication and other standard treatments have had little to no effect.

“Ketamine is not a first-line treatment,” Praag says. “It’s like a second- or third-line treatment for a lot of disorders and the most common one is treatment-resistant depression. Suicidal thoughts are the second most common that we see and then we get other people with PTSD, anxiety and a little bit of OCD.” Praag is a board-certified anesthesiologist with 13 years of experience and a board member for the American Society of Ketamine Physicians, while Benson has been a registered nurse for seven years with experience in chemotherapy and treating victims of the 2010 earthquake in Haiti.

American Society of Ketamine

Praag said patients have usually tried everything within their ability before going to ketamine. Before being approved for treatment, Spring Center of Hope needs proof of diagnosis from a doctor and a consultation with Benson and Praag. Ketamine infusion treatments can also treat neuropathic pain and chronic pain, Praag said.

Praag said the ketamine infusion process helps the brain to reconnect and rebuild connections. Sessions last 40 minutes to an hour, allowing patients to either sit silently by themselves, bring a companion, listen to music or do whatever makes them comfortable in a dark room, Praag said. Either Benson or Praag checks on the patient to monitor vitals.

Ketamine infusion process

“It essentially forms new connections in the brain and promotes growth between brain cells, which we call neurogenesis,” Praag said. “It’s really cool because there are actual pictures that are publish in popular papers. It shows before and after and it will show these new connections. There’s evidence.”

Patients are encourage to relax after treatment and engage in activities they enjoy; avoid operating heavy machinery or making important decisions for 24 hours. Patients follow a schedule of six infusions in two or three weeks. Spring Center of Hope sends patients screening questionnaires to monitor mood and may recommend a patient return for a booster depending on the results.