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The Remarkable Impact of Esketamine Therapy

Esketamine, a novel therapy, is being used at the Orlando VA Healthcare System (OVAHCS) to provide mental health treatment for Veterans with treatment-resistant mental health conditions.

Retired U.S. Army Sergeant Major Edgardo Rosa, who suffered from severe depression and PTSD, found little relief from traditional treatments. However, the introduction of esketamine into his treatment plan marked a turning point in his battle against mental illness.

The VA’s administration of the treatment highlights their dedication to finding innovative solutions to mental health challenges faced by Veterans.

“Despite trying every treatment available, I saw no long-term results,” says Rosa.

A year after asking his physician about a nasal spray at the Deltona VA Clinic, Rosa was informed that it had been approved and was given the option to try it out.

“Although I was hesitant about its effectiveness, I decided to try it in March 2023. To my surprise, I noticed a difference, immediately,” Rosa stated.

Dr. Roopa Chavda, a clinical psychiatrist, observed a positive trend in Rosa’s depression scores throughout their treatment, using an assessment to measure progress.

According to Dr. Chavda, the score was initially high, but it gradually decreased, indicating a substantial reduction in depression.

Chavda reported that scores of Veterans have improved from severe levels to remission status, leading to increased motivation to engage in social and educational activities.

“Coping with anniversaries of traumatic events from combat can be a challenging experience,” Rosa says. “While it may not be a cure, this tool can provide much-needed support and helps you to better manage those difficult days.”

“The first time you see someone smile or hear them laugh, it’s a truly rewarding experience,” states Dr. Chavda.

“The treatment I received changed my life and was very easy to manage. The staff was exceptional, and I still get regular check-ups to ensure I’m still progressing,” said Rosa.

Rosa explains that he has complete confidence in the treatment that he has received.

“While maintenance treatments are available, I haven’t needed them yet,” said Rosa. “The committed staff are confident in the effectiveness of the treatment that I have received, and I am a perfect example of its success.”

Rosa strongly advocates for this initiative, stating, “This is a way to save lives. We are losing both Veterans and active-duty members, and I wholeheartedly believe in it.”

Veterans interested in the Esketamine treatment can ask for a referral from their mental health provider. For additional information, please call: 407-631-4762 or visit Orlando VA Healthcare System (OVAHCS).

Joseph Nunez, Public Affairs Specialists, Orlando VA Health Care System

Pictured in photo: During an appointment, Psychiatrist Dr. Roopa Chavda and U.S Army Veteran Edgardo Rosa discuss his experience with Esketamine treatment.

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