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Party drug ketamine is the ‘next big thing in psychiatry,’ feel experts

02-22 | Rachael

Party drug ketamine is the ‘next big thing in psychiatry,’ feel experts

Despite its immense medical use, ketamine is known more for its notorious use as a “party drug.” However, it’s not that bad if used as designated as a controlled substance. In fact, according to a recent study, ketamine or Special K can also be used in the treatment of severe depression and suicidal thinking.

The research conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) claims that ketamine gives a quick antidepressant effect and puts a halt at suicidal thoughts. According to a report, experts claim the drug to be the “next big thing in psychiatry.” Thus, very soon depression patients could be given ketamine.

Ketamine is a popular anesthetic used in operation theatres. Previous studies regarding the effect of ketamine on depression had shown positive results which ultimately made the researchers to come up with the recent claim. A study by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in 2006 found patients who were put on ketamine “showed significant improvement in depression” compared to those who received a placebo, said the report.

As per a report in the Sunday Morning Herald, after looking at the previous and present findings, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) will soon endorse the drug for treatment-resistant depression. In a report on, San Francisco psychiatrist L. Alison McInnes said she achieved 60 percent success for people with treatment-resistant depression. The patients who were battling depression had spent several years taking antidepressants, mood stabilizers and various therapies which did not yield any result.

For many scientists, prohibition on Ketamine acts as a roadblock to find out its positive aspects. “One of the major blocks to research is the fact that (Ketamine) is illegal, and it puts a huge barrier up to actually finding about its therapeutic use…and clinical power,” Danny Kushlick, external affairs head of Transform, told Newsweek. Transform is a U.K.-based organization campaigning for the legal regulation of drugs.

Understanding ketamine

Ketamine was developed in 1963 to be used in human anesthesia and veterinary medicine. It is manufactured as an injectable liquid, but the illegal ketamine which is used as a party drug is generally in the powder form. Its positive points are that it stops the feeling of pain and causes paralysis of muscles, along with creating hallucinations. However, the drug also has several side effects. It can increase a person’s heart rate and blood pressure and makes users feel confused, agitated, delirious and disconnected from reality. It can also lead to severe bladder problems. When ketamine is taken in high doses, it can cause amnesia, impaired motor function, depression, and potentially fatal respiratory problems.

Depression is a common mental disorder and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 19 million Americans suffer from depression with women being nearly twice as likely as men to suffer from depression. Experts say that the usual antidepressants do not seem to work for all as of those who seek treatment, 30-40 percent do not fully recover with this medication.

A study by the Oxford Health NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Oxford in 2014 found that people with severe depression failed to respond to standard treatment but showed positive results when they received intravenous infusions of ketamine. The findings were published in the Journal of Psychopharmacology.

Antidepressants have many side effects and now a team of researchers from Denmark have found out that children and teens put on antidepressants, such as selective serotonin and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, face twice the risk of suicide and aggression.

Living with depression can be very saddening. But help is available. Experts from the Depression Treatment Helpline of Colorado can guide you to find the best treatment. Call at 866-427-5668 or chat online with one of our representatives today for further information.

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