One in ten adults in the U.S. suffers from depression. For many, the symptoms are debilitating and the current treatments just don't work.
Now researchers say a drug that's used in hospitals and abused on the streets, may dramatically change your state of mind.
In hospitals, it's a commonly used anesthetic. In the clubs, ketamine is a popular hallucinogenic drug, but what can make ketamine truly "special" for millions of people, is its potential to, quickly and effectively, treat chronic depression.
"It has been one of the major new findings in the field for at least a few decades," says Dr. Gerard Sanacora, MD., Ph.D., from the Yale Depression Research Program.
Unlike standard antidepressants, which can take weeks or months to work, Yale researchers say ketamine can improve your mood in hours.
"By reconnecting brain regions and allowing proper control of mood and emotion," explains Dr. Ron S. Duman, Ph.D., at the Yale University School of Medicine.
Even for treatment-resistant patients. However, researchers are still figuring out how to safely administer ketamine as a routine treatment.
"It's not a strongly addictive, but does have high abuse potential," says Dr. Duman.
While ketamine is currently not FDA approved for depression, a growing number of private clinics across the country are offering it "off label."
Doctor Gerard Sanacora is concerned. "There are several very important questions that we still don't know about ketamine and probably the most important is what is the long term benefits? Is repeating dosing of this actually a good idea?"
His advice, talk to your doctor. Doctors say the fast-acting quality of ketamine can help save lives of those in danger of committing suicide.
Infusions at the private ketamine clinics can run you thousands of dollars, with no guarantee of any results. They're also not covered by insurance.
TOPIC: Ketamine & Depression: Changing Your State Of Mind
REPORT: MB #3661
DEPRESSION: Depression can come in many forms, but when the symptoms begin to interfere with people's daily lives these feelings become an illness. Signs of depression include feelings of hopelessness or guilt, loss of interest in activities that used to be enjoyable, thoughts of suicide, and many more. Some people have minor bouts of depression, but major depressive disorder can be disabling. Other forms of depression are postpartum depression, which occurs after giving birth, and seasonal affective disorder, which comes on during the winter months due to lack of natural sunlight. Medications and psychotherapy may help to alleviate depression symptoms, but are ineffective in helping some individuals. (Source: http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/topics/depression/index.shtml)
KETAMINE: The drug ketamine was first developed in 1963 to be used as an anesthetic in humans as well as animals. When used for medical purposes, ketamine comes as a liquid that is injected into patients and is chemically similar to PCP. Although doctors and veterinarians continue to administer the drug as an anesthetic, ketamine is also used recreationally as a "street drug." Typically snorted or ingested in powder form, ketamine has been known to cause dream-like states and hallucinations. When taken in large amounts ketamine can cause an effect called the "K-hole" in which people experience an inescapable, often terrifying out-of-body experience. (Source: http://www.drugfree.org/drug-guide/ketamine)
MEDICAL BREAKTHROUGH: A new study, conducted by researchers at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston and Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York, shows that the experimental party drug, ketamine, can alleviate depression symptoms in just hours. The drug was shown to quickly reduce depression in participants after just one 40-minute IV dose. Most medications available today can take days, if not weeks, to reduce symptoms. The drug also has long-lasting results. After one week, 46 percent of the ketamine-assigned patients still reported reduced depression symptoms after taking the ketamine, compared to 18 percent in the placebo group. Although the ketamine has obvious benefits, it is still a hallucinogenic drug that is very dangerous. (SOURCE: www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/22/ketamine-cures-depression-study)
FOR MORE INFORMATION, PLEASE CONTACT:
Madonna Fasula, A.P.R.N
Yale University School of Medicine
If this story or any other Ivanhoe story has impacted your life or prompted you or someone you know to seek or change treatments, please let us know by contacting Céline McArthur at firstname.lastname@example.org.