The anesthetic ketamine, which first came into use for surgical procedures more than 40 years…
Pros and Cons of Treating Depression With Ketamine
Depression is an ugly monster. It overtakes lives, shrouding sufferers in shadow. It intensifies any and all underlying psychological and physiological conditions. As a result, it can be a beast to treat.
Most of the commonly used antidepressants can take two weeks or more before positive results are experienced. However, this is not the case with ketamine. It is known for its ability to transform the timetable of treatment for depression, producing almost immediate results.
Ketamine is an anesthetic that has been used for decades and has recently been added to the shelf of medications for the treatment of depression. Ketamine is sometimes known as a horse tranquilizer, as it was first used in veterinary practices in the 1960s. It eventually hit the streets of the general population and used as a recreational drug that was referred to as “Special K.”
In ketamine depression treatment, the drug is used in lower doses and given intravenously. Although the administering of ketamine for depression has several positive notes, a number of questions and concerns remain about the safety and efficacy of the drug.
Pros of Ketamine Depression Treatment
Ketamine’s primary benefit in treating depression is its rapid response. Unlike most other antidepressants on the market, ketamine reduces symptoms of depression in just one to six hours and has effects that can last about one week.
Ketamine also has been proven to be effective in individuals who have experienced resistance to other depression treatments. This includes both medication and psychotherapy treatments.
Studies have also shown that ketamine depression treatment can play a role in the reduction of suicidal thoughts. This is especially helpful for those who face severe depression with heightened suicidal risks that have previously been treatment-resistant.
Cons of Ketamine for Depression
There are many concerns that are still being worked out about the safety and effectiveness of ketamine.
When used to treat depression, ketamine must be administered through an IV. Of course, this isn’t as convenient as other antidepressant medications that come in pill form.
There is also some question about the long-term efficacy. Although ketamine is highly effective initially, some individuals have been reported to have built up a tolerance to the medication.
Questions about the safety of using the product in the long run are also still present. Because the effects of ketamine last only about a week, repeat injections are necessary to continue treatment. Side effects including increased blood pressure, bladder and kidney problems and hallucinations have been reported.
Ketamine acts as a form of sedation and can produce a dissociative trance in the individual. This can be a problem when trying to assess an individual’s depressive state because some patients have forgotten about their symptoms. As a result, it can be difficult to distinguish whether the drug is a good match for individual patients.
National Institute of Mental Health – Ketamine:
National Institute of Mental Health – Ketamine: A New (and Faster) Path to Treating Depression: