Spravato has proved to be beneficial for people with depression who have not been helped by other medications. But what about people who have been living with other mental illnesses? For example, does Spravato help with anxiety?
What Is Spravato?
Before we discuss the question, “Does Spravato help with anxiety?” let’s take a moment to review some basic information about this medication.
Spravato is the brand name of a nasal spray that contains esketamine, which is a variant of ketamine.
- Ketamine is an anesthetic that can also produce dissociative and hallucinogenic effects. Both veterinarians and doctors use ketamine to sedate animal and human patients prior to some procedures. The drug’s ability to distort users’ perceptions at high doses also makes it popular among people who are seeking a certain type of illicit recreational high.
- Esketamine is similar in structure to ketamine, but it is a more potent substance. This means that it can be prescribed to patients in lower doses, which experts believe may minimize the risk of certain side effects. Esketamine has been used as an anesthetic since the 1970s and has recently begun to be incorporated into mental health treatment.
Spravato was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in March 2019 for use with patients who have treatment-resistant depression, or TRD. TRD is defined as major depressive disorder with symptoms that have not responded to at least two different medications.
Patients self-administer the Spravato nasal spray, but this can only occur in a doctor’s office or other approved location. It is not authorized as a take-home medication.
Does Spravato Help With Anxiety?
Given Spravato’s documented effectiveness with TRD, it’s understandable to wonder, does Spravato help with anxiety or other mental illnesses?
At the time that this post is being written, Spravato has not yet been approved to treat any conditions other than treatment-resistant depression. However, that doesn’t mean that it has shown no promise as an anti-anxiety medication.
A July 2021 study in the journal Depression and Anxiety found evidence of “clinically meaningful improvement” among people with major depressive disorder and co-occurring anxiety who were treated with esketamine (which is the primary ingredient in Spravato).
Also, other research suggests that ketamine – which, as we noted earlier, is similar to Spravato, — may be helpful for people who have generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) and other types of anxiety. According to a July 2019 paper in the journal CNS Spectrums, “there is limited yet growing evidence to support the use of ketamine in anxiety disorders.”
What Other Types of Treatment Help With Anxiety?
Ketamine and esketamine aren’t the only options for people who have anxiety disorders. Other evidence-based forms of treatment that have proved to be effective include:
- More traditional medications such as benzodiazepines, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and serotonin norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs)
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), which helps people replace maladaptive thought and behavior patterns with healthier and more productive ways of thinking and acting
- Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), which has been found to improve executive functioning among patients who have generalized anxiety disorder
- Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy, which uses brief electromagnetic pulses to activate areas of the brain that have been associated with anxiety
There is no single technique, service, or course of treatment that works for everyone who has an anxiety disorder. What’s most important is finding a treatment provider who will conduct a thorough assessment and then develop a personalized plan that reflects your unique history, needs, and goals.
How Can I Find the Right Anxiety Treatment Center?
When you are evaluating anxiety treatment centers, asking the following types of questions can help you find the place that’s best for you:
- What types of pre-treatment assessments or evaluations do you conduct?
- In addition to Spravato, what other services and therapies do you offer?
- How will you decide which elements of care are right for me?
- Can you describe the qualifications of the professionals who will provide my care?
- Will I need to live at your center, or can I take part in treatment on an outpatient basis?
- Can you describe your treatment philosophy or your general approach to care?
- How will you decide how long I need to remain in treatment?
- How do you define success for patients who are being treated for anxiety at your center?
- Do you offer discharge planning or aftercare support services?
- Does your center accept my insurance?
Representatives of any reputable anxiety treatment center should be happy to answer these and any other questions. If a center doesn’t answer your questions, or if you’re not satisfied with the responses you receive, this could be a sign that the facility isn’t the right fit for you.
Begin Treatment for Anxiety in Atlanta
If you are an adult in the Atlanta, Georgia, area who is seeking personalized outpatient care for anxiety, Atlanta Integrative Psychiatry may be the perfect place for you.
Our anxiety treatment center offers a dynamic array of integrative therapies in a safe and welcoming environment. While you are in our care, you will have the opportunity to work in close collaboration with a team of highly skilled and experienced professionals. With their guidance and support, you can identify the root causes of your struggles with anxiety, then develop the skills and strategies that will empower you to live a healthier and more satisfying life.
To learn more or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our appointments page or call our center today.