Depression is among the most prolific mental health problems plaguing the world today, and as the economy continues to plummet and climate change woes cover the news, more and more people are suffering.
While scientists aren’t completely sure how depression is caused within the brain, there have been some links made with inflammation, trauma, and genetic markers. And despite the many antidepressants on the market, they often come with a range of their own problems. Ketamine, once seen as nothing more than a party drug, is quickly becoming a subject of substantial interest in the battle against depression.
What is Ketamine?
First discovered in 1962, ketamine is a synthesized anaesthetic that was quickly approved by the FDA and was put to use helping Vietnam soldiers that were suffering from PTSD from their time overseas. It wasn’t long before the drug began to see illicit use among soldiers and then later in normal, civilian life. In the 1970s, ketamine was used by vets to induce anaesthesia, especially in larger animals, such as horses and cows.
Its history as a party drug, one used to attain a certain state of euphoria, made it a favourite among habitual drug users, and its general ease of access meant that it could be found fairly easily and for a low price. Despite its bad history, ketamine has gained a new light thanks to its ability to quickly ease the worst symptoms of severe depression, with many researchers around the world believing it to be a potential cure to depression, allowing people to take up normal lives, have fun and play slots games for real money, or spend time with their family.
The Evidence of Its Efficacy
There is evidence to suggest that ketamine, when taken in much lower doses than would be found in recreational usage, may be a viable treatment for those that suffer from treatment-resistant depression; depression that has otherwise not been improved from the usage of such pharmaceutical drugs as antidepressants.
The British Journal of Psychiatry discovered that taking ketamine orally over a long period of time offered significant improvements in the symptoms of treatment-resistant depression, with their results coming from a double-blind placebo trial study. Along with this, a total of 7 controlled trials done by the Mental Health Clinician found that usage of ketamine provided a significant overall improvement of symptoms when compared to a placebo. Lastly, the American Journal of Psychiatry found that ketamine offered fast antidepressant effects.
Will It Become Available
As of March 2019, the FDA approved a new type of experimental antidepressant called esketamine. Eskamtine is similar to ketamine chemically, and is seen as a close cousin, offering many of the same benefits. Applied as a nasal spray, eskatamine is being administered alongside an oral antidepressant. The FDA will be monitoring the new drug closely, as the potential for both misuse and abuse remains fairly high. Despite this, polls have shown that the general public both acknowledges and approves of ketamine in the treatment of long-term depression, and its use may still gain more popularity yet.