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Ketamine therapy for mood disorders in Arizona

Joshua’s Story


Joshua's Story

“My son Joshua was an honors student who entered college with big dreams, but over the course of a year, he began to feel unwell. His appetite and sleep patterns became worse and worse while his mood fluctuated from irritated to deeply depressed. It all became too much and he dropped out of college. We were at a loss as to what was happening to him during this steady decline.

We did research and found that his symptoms could be caused by brain injury. He had several mild concussions growing up while playing sports as well as a traumatic birth. We took Joshua for a brain SPECT imaging and indeed found that he had Traumatic Brain Injury. We found out why he was feeling so poorly, but the medicine to help him feel better was harder to find.

We tried nutrition and supplements which helped a little bit, but Joshua was dropping into deep lows and not believing that there was any real help. He began self-medicating with alcohol. It was painful to see how the only time he had a smile on his face was after he had drank too much. He even stated that alcohol was the only reason he was alive.

Joshua was given three prescriptions to try and stabilize his mood, sleep patterns and focus. These helped a little, but he would still fall into a deep black hole of depression. The potential side effects and warnings for those prescriptions were scary and they were just not helping him enough. We were contemplating hospitalization, but then his doctor suggested using ketamine infusions.

I searched and found Advanced Wellness and Pain Center and sent them an urgent e-mail. They responded with a phone call the very next morning. They gave me information on the ketamine treatments and I was very encouraged that this could truly help my son. With the first treatment, my son was pulled out of his deep depression. By his third treatment, he realized he truly had a purpose in life and that things could change for the better! We are on his fifth treatment as I’m writing this and I am very happy to report that my sweet son is back! He engages in conversations at home, has a lightness to his steps, smiles, tells funny jokes and most importantly is making plans for his future!

The doctors at Advanced Wellness and Pain are a phenomenal team! They each spent time with Joshua, whether it was talking about the stresses and challenges he had gone through or what the ketamine could do for his depression. They were very reassuring and directed the process every step of the way. Their counseling, treatment and support apps are amazing! I truly believe that Joshua received more counseling and help in these five appointments than he received in over a year of counseling because the nature of the treatment is quick in succession and intensity. The ketamine administered in this fashion, truly gives relief from depression while healing the brain! Thank you Doctors Leathem, Wong, and Sharma! Your desire to help has brought a new innovation to healing and I am so happy that we found your team – you have given my son the ability to heal and start anew!”

James T. Leathem, DO

Dr. James Leathem is a board-certified anesthesiologist and a member of the American Society of Anesthesiologists. He was born and raised in Connecticut and graduated from Florida Southern College with a bachelor of science in marketing management with minors in sociology and communications. He obtained his medical degree from Midwestern University’s Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed his residency in anesthesiology at Michigan State University and its affiliated McLaren Greater Lansing Hospital.

In 2015, after residency, Dr. Leathem returned to Arizona to practice anesthesiology. He joined Red Mountain Anesthesiologists and worked primarily at Banner Baywood Medical Center in Mesa, performing 100% of his own cases. He was made partner in the group after demonstrating 3 years of anesthesia excellence and administering over 4,000 anesthetics. In 2019, a corporate change occurred and an opportunity presented itself in which he was able to transition out of the hospital to surgery center and clinic-based anesthesia.

Dr. Leathem realizes that the only constant in life is change. In 2020, amidst the global pandemic, his career took a different direction. This change led him to collaborate with Dr. Wong and Dr. Sharma and they founded Advanced Wellness and Pain (AWAP). Their mission is to provide a variety of state-of-the-art procedural services that improve patients’ quality of life and overall physical and mental well-being.

Dr. Leathem believes that we are all a work in progress and that each day, one should strive to make positive changes in their life. He is here to help empower each patient on their journey to be their best self and live their best life. When you are being cared for by Dr. Leathem, you can be assured that he will give you his undivided attention and time.

Gregory Wong, MD

Dr. Wong is a Board-Certified Anesthesiologist and a member of both the American Society of Anesthesiology and the Arizona Society of Anesthesiology. He did his undergraduate training at the University of California at Davis, Davis, California; doctorate training at The University of Health Sciences of the Chicago Medical School, North Chicago, IL; and his post-doctoral training at the Integrated Program at the University of Arizona, Phoenix, AZ. He has spent his whole 24-year career practicing in Arizona.

Dr. Wong grew up in the Bay Area of California. He is married and is raising three daughters. At the early age of 12 years old, he knew he wanted to become a physician. His love of the human spirit, intrigue of human physiology, and compassion for human suffering led him to the path of anesthesiology and pain medicine.

Today, Dr. Wong realizes patients need a holistic biophysical-mental-spiritual care. This philosophy has brought him to the studies of regenerative medicine and infusion therapies. He has firsthandily witnessed the overwhelming success of these therapies for treating chronic pain and depression and the return of patients of “life-functionality.”

“There has never been a time more important than now to advocate for our patients in these difficult times. We owe it to our patients to offer these state-of-the-art treatment modalities that weren’t available before.”

Deepak Sharma, MD, MBA

Dr. Sharma is a Board Certified Anesthesiologist and a member of the American Society of Anesthesiologists. He completed three degrees at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA: a Bachelor in Finance, a Master in Business Administration, and a Doctor of Medicine. He went on to complete residency at the Mount Sinai Morningside-West Hospital System in New York, NY and post-graduate fellowship at Stanford Medical Center in Palo Alto, CA.

Dr. Sharma is committed to treating his patients as a whole with a comprehensive biophysical-mental-spiritual approach. He is a lifelong learner and is constantly researching cutting-edge therapies backed by scientific studies. He has taken a particular interest in regenerative and infusion therapies after witnessing firsthand their significant benefits on those suffering from chronic pain and depression. In his free time, Dr. Sharma enjoys spending time with his family and friends, hiking, traveling, reading, and meditation.