Did you know that anhedonia—the inability to feel pleasure and enjoyment in things that once were—is a major mental health issue? It is very likely that you, or someone you know suffers from it. How it works is simple, but why it works is complicated. Robbed of the dramatic contrast from life’s peaks and valleys, many are left discouraged and disillusioned by the replacement palette of gray they are seemingly forced to paint their life with. However, despite all odds, there is still hope. Through the combination of two therapies—exposure, and ketamine infusion—its victims will not have to suffer unnecessarily any longer.

Scientists don’t know the exact biology behind anhedonia, but believe that it is closely linked to a dysfunction in the circuitry of the brain’s reward system. Those who have it often find it difficult to motivate themselves, which then leads to more depression.

The most common treatment, the treatment that most are aware of, is a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and antidepressant medication. They do an okay job at reducing negativity, but a poor job at helping patients become more positive. Exposure therapy—using virtual reality—combined with ketamine infusion therapy, has proven to be a more effective treatment for anhedonia.

Through the use of simulations, a person learns how to re-engage with life again. With the help of a doctor, using these controlled environments, it is possible to overcome fears—like a fear of heights—and to restimulate the mind by exploring uncharted foreign territories. During each session, patients are encouraged to discuss their experiences in great detail. This helps their brains make new memories while retraining it to focus on new positive, useful, and interesting things. The virtual environments are realistic enough to fool the senses and safe enough that they can be repeated as many times as necessary.

In conjunction with that, the ketamine infusions make it biologically possible to make disruptive thinking patterns disappear. Research has shown it to be an effective tool for dislodging bad memories, overcoming phobias, and replacing unhealthy habits. Through its unique effects on memory formation, the intravenous NMDA-receptor antagonist repairs old, damaged neural pathways by replacing and relocating inefficient spinal dendrites in the brain—a major source of the dysfunction.

Contact Elev8 MD Wellness Center

At Elev8MD, we offer a wide range of mind-body services to offer a holistic and integrative approach to depression treatment, pain management, and overall wellness. We offer ketamine infusions for the treatment of depression, psychiatric disorders, and chronic pain, as well as talk therapy, reiki and other wellness services. Contact our Charlotte area wellness center today for more information on our services and how we can help you live your greatest