Ketamine is widely used as an anesthetic, yet new studies have also shown its benefits for other medical conditions like depression. Depression.is a common but serious medical illness affecting 264 million people of all ages worldwide and is more prevalent in females.
Depression is described by the American Psychiatric Association as a medical illness that negatively affects how people feel, the way they think, and how they act. People with depression experience sadness or loss of interest in the activities they once enjoyed. This can lead to emotional and physical problems that may decrease one’s productivity at home or at work. Fortunately, depression can be treated by psychotherapy, medications, a combination of both, and in severe cases, using electrochemical stimulation of the brain.
Symptoms of depression can vary from mild to severe like feeling sad or guilty, feelings of worthlessness and self-loathing, changes in sleeping or eating habits, loss of energy, difficulty in concentrating, to suicidal thoughts. Feelings of intense sadness and grief over various circumstances are normal but in depression, these symptoms last for at least two weeks. If you are experiencing these symptoms, seek professional help to rule out other medical causes. Early diagnosis leads to better recovery.
Ketamine is a prescription drug that is administered intravenously or by injection so it reaches the bloodstream fast. It is commonly used as an anesthetic to sedate a patient in preparation for surgery. Additionally, it is also used as a pain reliever for burn patients. Ketamine is the preferred anesthetic over opioids like morphine because of its lower chances of exhibiting depressed breathing. Unfortunately, its hallucinogenic effects led to its abuse, earning its spot on the DEA’s “Controlled substances” list. However, it has shown promising effects for patients with severe cases of depression.
Apparently, the benefits of ketamine don’t stop in sedation and pain-relieving. It also provides rapid, robust, yet transient antidepressant effects on patients with major depressive disorder and bipolar depression. Compared to antidepressant pills, it has quick effects on patients who have suicidal thoughts. Though the exact mechanism of how ketamine helps in depression is still unknown, it is believed to interact with the chemicals in the brain resulting in feelings of excitement and renewed hope.
Ketamine appears to be safe as long as the directions for use are carefully followed. Overall, ketamine is regarded as a promising treatment for severe depression.