CONTRIBUTED CONTENT — The symptoms of mental health disorders and chronic pain affect every facet of life, especially during the dark, cold days of winter. Ketamine, administered in therapeutic doses via IV infusion, may hold the key to unlocking a brighter future.

Dr. Eric Evans created Desert Sands Ketamine Treatment Center in St. George to offer new hope to people living with depression, anxiety, PTSD and pain disorders. As a board-certified anesthesiologist with more than 25 years of experience administering ketamine in both surgical and clinical settings, he said he’s never been more excited about the possibilities of a medicine. 

“Ketamine has been nothing short of miraculous for a lot of people in our clinic,” Evans said. “With ketamine, people can wake up in the morning and joy is a possibility for them again.”

Old drug, new treatment

The use of ketamine in treating mental health and pain disorders is an emerging science. However, ketamine has been widely administered by doctors, primarily as an anesthetic, for more than 50 years. It’s not a habit-forming substance, Evans said, adding that it has an extremely safe side-effect profile when compared to prescription antidepressants and opioids. 

Rather than working to elevate levels of serotonin or dopamine like antidepressants, ketamine boosts a chemical known as brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which plays an essential role in stabilizing mood. And because it’s both a highly effective painkiller and a dissociative anesthetic, patients seeking pain relief also experience a lasting emotional boost.

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

Proven results 

Ketamine is administered by IV infusion, a process that usually takes about 40 minutes. During that time, the patient enters a dream-like state of altered reality. Evans said patients frequently describe a feeling of being in touch with their inner self and the ability to gain powerful insight into deeply rooted emotional issues. 

Studies conducted by Yale University have found ketamine to be effective in approximately 70% of people with treatment-resistant depression — a significantly higher success rate than traditional medications and talk therapy. At Desert Sands Ketamine, Evans said patients often experience improvement in baseline mood and/or pain level after their first infusion. 

The Desert Sands difference

Evans said patients shouldn’t trust just any ketamine provider with their therapy. Desert Sands Ketamine is a physician-driven practice recognized by Best of Southern Utah voters with a third consecutive silver medal in the behavioral/mental health treatment category for 2023. The clinic also won gold for alternative therapies in 2021.

The patient experience always begins with a free consultation to discuss their issues and determine if ketamine is right for them. Patients also have access to resources for improving all aspects of their well-being, including dietary guidance, meditation, massage therapy, relationship counseling and talk therapy.

“We try to use a complete approach to each person,” Evans said. “Our goal is to help you get back to living a passionate, rewarding and productive life as quickly as possible.”

Real people, life-changing results

Desert Sands Ketamine helps provide a new lease on life for patients like Jonathan, an educator who has battled treatment-resistant depression for the past 15 years. Before exploring ketamine, he endured 35 rounds of electroconvulsive therapy and tried over 20 different prescription drugs with little relief. He was losing hope in ever being able to free himself from the grip of depression.  

“Dr. Evans, his nursing staff and Desert Sands Ketamine have quite literally saved my life,” he said. “A year later, I’m completely off all my medication, my tremors and headaches have gone away and, most importantly, I’m feeling like myself again.”

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

After more than 20 years in law enforcement, Dan carried a burden of trauma into his retirement. Spending time with family and fishing were the only things keeping him sane, but eventually, his depression left him feeling lost and losing interest in activities that once brought him joy. He was initially apprehensive about trying ketamine. 

“Dr. Evans put me at ease, and I dove in,” he said. “My transition was very gradual, but I did notice a real difference in how I look at life. Dr. Evans goes above and beyond, and I consider him a friend.”

For people living with chronic pain and treatment-resistant mood disorders, ketamine represents hope and healing. Desert Sands Ketamine stands at the forefront of this cutting-edge therapy.

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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Desert Sands Ketamine Treatment Center | Address: 346 E. 600 South, St. George | Telephone: 435-522-5190 | Email: | Website.

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