Best of Southern Utah winner Desert Sands Ketamine offers healing, hope for patients with depression

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

CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — Offering lasting results with virtually no side effects, ketamine is a wonder drug for patients struggling with treatment-resistant depression as well as chronic pain and mental health disorders. 

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 Treatment Center, Dr. Eric Evans administers ketamine in low doses via IV infusion. The clinic also provides support systems to improve all aspects of well-being, including dietary guidance, meditation, massage therapy, relationship counseling and talk therapy. For many patients, ketamine lays the foundation to reshape detrimental thought and behavior patterns with the help of additional resources. 

“Ketamine can really help open a patient’s mind to be more receptive, helping them change their way of thinking about a particular topic or work through the trauma they’ve had in their life,” Evans said. “It’s very difficult to get outside of ourselves and be open to new suggestions and looking at issues in a different way, and that’s what ketamine therapy is really great at.”

Treatment-resistant depression

Up to one-third of adults with major depression battle debilitating symptoms that don’t respond to antidepressants and/or psychotherapy – including persistent feelings of sadness, sleep disturbances, low energy and thoughts of death or suicide. For these patients, ketamine offers hope when other treatments have failed.

Rather than working to elevate levels of serotonin or dopamine, ketamine boosts a chemical known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor that plays an essential role in stabilizing mood. Evans pointed to a research study conducted by Yale University on patients with treatment-resistant depression that demonstrated a success rate of 70%, nearly double that of most prescription antidepressants. And while antidepressants typically take between four and eight weeks to reach maximum efficacy, some ketamine patients start feeling better after their first infusion. 

“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.”

Chronic pain

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

The treatment of chronic pain is a difficult undertaking. Many patients have already explored various methods and medications with little relief. And as Evans observed over the course of his 25-year career in anesthesiology and pain management, loss of function due to a pain disorder can adversely affect a person’s overall sense of well-being. 

Ketamine is both a highly effective painkiller and a dissociative anesthetic. Because it’s administered via IV infusion, relief begins almost immediately. Evans said it also provides a lasting emotional boost that helps patients better cope with their pain on a daily basis. 

“For many patients, treating their mood disorder was a big part of helping them get their pain under control,” he added. “Ketamine has been amazing at helping people with both issues.”

Complex regional pain syndrome

Some people experience pain long after an injury has healed. Complex regional pain syndrome is a malfunction of the nervous system that creates prolonged and excessive pain out of proportion to the severity of the initial injury. Even light touch, vibrations, pressure and changes in temperature may cause pain.  

Evans noted that although complex regional pain syndrome is extremely difficult to treat, ketamine helps many patients experience a better quality of life. In some cases, remission for up to a year is possible.

“Sometimes, a patient’s initial ketamine infusion is the first time they’ve been pain-free in a long time,” he said. “We’ve had many chronic pain patients be able to experience remission from their pain and get back to their lives with function restored.”  

Experience the Desert Sands difference

Patients shouldn’t trust just any provider with their ketamine therapy. Desert Sands Ketamine has been recognized as the Best of Southern Utah, winning gold in alternative therapies as well as silver in the behavioral/mental health treatment category. The clinic offers a comfortable healing environment with compassionate staff, all of whom are dedicated to helping every patient achieve the best results possible.

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

Carmell Stein is one of many patients who have found hope and healing at Desert Sands Ketamine. She came to the clinic desperate for help with depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder and hemiplegic migraines. Stein said Evans worked diligently to find solutions for her migraines, and she encourages anyone struggling with depression and suicidal ideation to reach out to his team.

“I was so taken aback by the tranquil feeling that this clinic provides,” she said. “The staff are unbelievably gentle, empathetic and kind. They exude compassion! The treatments have changed my life… You will be surprised how quickly you will heal the parts of you that are suffering!”

As a native of the St. George area, Evans said his desire to give back to the community truly comes from his heart. He is committed to helping people experience joy in life after trauma, both emotional and physical.

“There’s a huge need in Southern Utah,” he said. “I just want to help as many people as I can.”

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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