Tuesday, October 01, 2019

Should You Hold Onto Ketamine's Promise to Relieve Depression?

 In case you've heard of ketamine, it's unlikely that you've heard of it as a possible treatment for depression. It's mostly known as a recreational drug that is quite popular in clubs. However, if recent research is anything to go by, ketamine might also turn out to be the greatest drug of modern times to be used to treat severe depression and ketamine treatments for depression will become commonplace. 

If you're wondering how this is so, then it is understandable. How can ketamine be so effective and promising? Well, it all has to do with your brain. Ketamine takes over certain receptors in your brain and, in the process, it can save you from the debilitating depths of depression.

Ketamine started in the 1960s as a form of anesthesia. It was commonly used on the battlefront in the Vietnam War. It was found to be quite effective as a pain reliever when taken in small doses. It helped people to get off of addictive painkillers, such as morphine, and was very powerful when working with sedatives. When ketamine is taken in large doses, it can cause hallucinations and cause a feeling of dissociation from the environment as well as from self. For this reason, it has infamously been used before as a date rape drug.

There is an opportunity for redemption for this drug with a checkered reputation: the opportunity for a new life as an antidepressant.

Ketamine as an Antidepressant 

You might have heard that there is research being conducted into the possible use of ketamine as an antidepressant. Well, hold on to that promise because it seems to grow stronger and more promising every day.

The United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a ketamine-based drug, called Spravato, for sufferers of depression. There are numerous studies that have been conducted to find out the effectiveness of ketamine and also efforts to make drugs based on ketamine. These studies were carried out on people with depressive symptoms that had resisted conventional treatments. In some studies, as many as 85 percent of participants who took ketamine saw a significant ease in their depressive symptoms.

A significant setback with ketamine is the fact that there are attendant sights and sounds that come with large enough dosage. There is a lot of research into how to measure doses so that the effectiveness remains, but the side effects are lost.
Ketamine Clinics

There is much interest in ketamine and its utility as a treatment for depression. Ketamine is currently licensed as a form of anesthesia. It can, therefore, be used without legal repercussions as long as it is prescribed by a doctor. For this reason, many ketamine clinics are popping up all over the country, with patients going for doses every few weeks to deal with their depressive symptoms. The duration of the effects varies from individual to individual, with some coming back for a dose after a few days and other coming back after several weeks.

Perhaps the most inhibiting factor to using ketamine as a treatment is its forbidding cost. A single session can cost anywhere between $400 and $1,000, depending on the clinic, and the treatment isn't covered by insurance. This, however, has not stopped patients with depression from trying it out. It is a testament to their willingness to try anything that gives them hope of escaping the throes of depression.

This is a guest blog entry.

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