Best of Southern Utah winner Desert Sands Ketamine provides relief for mental health disorders, chronic pain

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CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — Ketamine provides hope and healing for people living with treatment-resistant depression and many other disorders. However, patients shouldn’t trust just any clinic with their ketamine therapy. Desert Sands Ketamine Treatment Center has been recognized as the very best in Southern Utah.

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

At Desert Sands Ketamine, Dr. Eric Evans administers ketamine via IV infusions to treat depression, anxiety and other mental health disorders, as well as chronic pain conditions. Ketamine in a therapeutic setting represents an optimistic new frontier for many patients who have already tried a variety of medications with little to no success.

“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.”

Learning more about ketamine

Clinical studies on ketamine therapy for depression have demonstrated a success rate of approximately 70%, Evans said, adding that some patients experience a mood boost after their first infusion. By comparison, oral antidepressants typically yield a success rate of 40-45% and take between four and eight weeks to reach maximum efficacy.

Ketamine targets the amygdala, the area of the brain that plays a key role in baseline mood and emotional state. Offering lasting results with a much higher success rate than antidepressants, Evans proclaims it a “wonder drug” for treatment-resistant depression and other mood disorders. Patients suffering from painful conditions like migraines, fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis and complex regional pain syndrome have also experienced remarkable results. 

“It’s a great alternative for patients who are struggling and haven’t found relief in the traditional pharmaceutical offerings,” he said. “We encourage them to reach out and try something different before they lose hope.”

Not all providers are created equal

Many patients seeking treatment for mental health disorders and pain conditions have already been prescribed a complex list of medications, some of which may not be compatible with ketamine. At Desert Sands Ketamine, every patient consults with a physician who thoroughly evaluates their medical history.

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

As a board-certified anesthesiologist, Evans has routinely administered ketamine in the operating room over the past 25 years and said the drug is extremely safe. The vast majority of people tolerate both surgical therapeutic doses with no side effects. Regardless, patients are closely monitored during and after their infusions at Desert Sands Ketamine to ensure safety and maximum efficacy.

“There’s an art to giving ketamine,” he said. “We tailor the dose to the individual, which is the main reason we’ve seen such high success rates.”

Serving Southern Utah 

Desert Sands Ketamine won gold in alternative therapies as well as silver in the behavioral/mental health treatment category in the 2021 Best of Southern Utah contest. Evans said although they serve many patients in the greater St. George area, people have visited from as far away as New York City and Los Angeles, and many places in between, due to the sterling reputation they’ve established. 

As a Southern Utah native, Evans relishes any opportunity to give back to his community. After working at the hospital for decades, he saw a need for another mental health treatment option locally and knew that ketamine, a drug he administered to surgical patients almost daily, could offer a lifeline to those battling mood disorders. 

“Opening Desert Sands to help patients here in our community has been very rewarding,” he said. “To be voted the best is really an honor.”  

Experience the Desert Sands difference

At Desert Sands Ketamine, Evans has created a welcoming and spa-like healing environment with compassionate staff who are dedicated to helping every patient achieve the best results possible. The nurses are caring professionals whom he personally selected for their skill in dealing with difficult disorders. 

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

“The setting of ketamine treatment is incredibly important,” he said. “To have a comfortable space that allows your mind to relax while getting ketamine is key.”  

Additionally, 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. The patient experience always begins with a free consultation to discuss their issues and determine if ketamine is right for them.

“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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