Ketamine is an extremely powerful general anesthetic used widely as a party drug. It has gained notoriety as a date rape drug. However, a study published in the Harvard Review of Psychiatry has contradicted these claims by highlighting its pivotal role in curing certain mental disorders. The study claims that ketamine can be used as surefire cure for certain types of depression. Therefore, it has been hailed as one of the most important discoveries in half a century. It has led to a massive debate among advocates and sceptics. It can prove a positive intervention in the case of the people living with a form of depression that has failed to respond to other medications and dogged by recurring thoughts of suicide. Some other studies suggest that ketamine can put depressive thoughts to rest with immediate effect. Generally, people going through depression need a fast-acting solution, which is not provided by the antidepressants available in the market. Generally, antidepressants take time to kick into action. Do you want to learn more? Visit Ketamine clinics Los Angeles.
Ketamine affects reward and gratification centers of brain
In the course of the study, Cristina Cusin, psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital and assistant professor at Harvard University, analyzed 40 ketamine studies involving brain imaging. She noticed that people who were administered ketamine experienced marked brain changes in certain key areas of the brain involved in the regulation and control of emotions. The study further concluded that ketamine decreases the ability of the individual to self-monitor his or her emotions. When a person is less sensitive or less aware of how the emotions are unfurling in the brain, there are reduced chances of his or her taking drastic steps like committing suicide.
Many scientists have highlighted that ketamine also leads to the blunting of emotions. When this happens, one does not experience emotions like hopelessness, sadness, vulnerability, etc. to the fullest. As a result, there are lesser probabilities of people taking recourse to suicide. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP), approximately 123 people could be killing themselves each day because of depression and related mental illnesses. It further states that around 90 percent of people who have committed suicide had a mental illness at the time of their death.
Apparently, talk therapies, sedatives and hotlines are sometimes not enough to prevent people going through depression from committing suicide. Instead, they could require something more potent to alleviate their pain and chemical imbalances inflicted by their mental condition. Although antidepressants are a standard cure for clinical depression or major depressive disorder (MDD), they might not deliver effective results in some people. For those falling in the category of treatment-resistant depression, ketamine seems like a miracle as the results are apparent within 24 hours and sometimes last for days.
Despite the above-mentioned clinical benefits of ketamine, researchers and medical practitioners warn about the drug due to the limited research on its long-term impacts and side effects. Some of common side effects seen in patients include dizziness, blurred vision, elevated blood pressure, dissociation, etc. Moreover, some studies have associated the long-term use of ketamine with bladder inflammation, liver damage, cognitive impairment, etc.
Dealing with depression
Depression is an extremely debilitating condition that affects health and quality of life. Therefore, it is essential to be aware of the warning signs to avoid any delay in treatment. Though a novel finding, ketamine runs risks as a treatment approach for depression. Apart from its addictive property, one needs to keep in mind that ketamine has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).