Depression is a silent killer. It also takes its own sweet time devouring you both emotionally and physically. It’s not something you can shake off like a cold or the flu. It’s a debilitating condition that can take its toll not only on you, but also your friends and loved ones. If left untreated, serious recurring depression can lead to drug and alcohol abuse, anorexia, self-imposed isolation, and even suicide.
Fortunately, in the 2020s, there are new treatments that can dramatically reduce the effects of depression. One of these is the use of the pharmaceutical, ketamine. Says, OMHC, a mental health clinic that specializes in ketamine infusion therapy in Los Angeles, much of the recent research on utilizing ketamine for mental health issues like depression has revolved around the intravenous, or IV route of administration. Therefore, if a doctor is to practice evidence-based medicine, they would recommend IV treatment.
But some psychiatrists are now utilizing a new method of administering ketamine via intramuscular injection or IM. Which method is better? At present there’s not enough evidence to suggest one is better than the other. One thing is for sure however, ketamine most definitely helps those plagued by severe and recurring depression.
According to a recent article by WEBMD, ketamine is said to have emerged from Belgium in the 1960s as a painkiller for animals like injured race horses. It is said have first been used on humans in 1970 during the Vietnam War when injured soldiers were treated with the drug on the battlefield.
These days, emergency responders have been known to administer to agitated patients who, for instance, were desperate to commit suicide. Says one medical doctor, this is how physicians began to realize the drug, which had previously been used to treat injured horses and other animals, possessed powerful effects against suicidal tendencies and deep depression.
Stewart claims that if you give ketamine to someone who was attempting to jump off a bridge, he might very well attest up to nine months later that he hasn’t experienced a single suicidal thought.
As stories like these and other piled up, doctors agreed that there was something more to ketamine than its being a drug commonly used by veterinarians.
At base, ketamine causes what physicians term a “dissociative experience” or what some people might refer to as a “trip.” This is why it’s referred to in some psychedelic circles as Vitamin K, Super K, or even Special K. For those who like to party, they might add it to joints, snort it, or include it in their favorite alcoholic beverage.
According to the chief of psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine who’s been studying ketamine’s antidepressant effects for years, the drug is said to produce sensations of unreality, sensory and visual distortions, the feeling of being out-of-body, temporary beliefs and thoughts, along with a nice buzz and euphoria.
The initial trip will last around 2 hours. But if you are taking ketamine casually, there are risks involved including dangerously slow breathing, high blood pressure, and unconsciousness. If used unprescribed, the drug can also result in kidney disease, stomach pain, ulcers, depression, and poor memory. Keep in mind that if you take ketamine on your own along with alcohol, the result can be fatal.
Administration of Ketamine
Ketamine is available in several forms. Presently the only version that the FDA has approved as a medication for depression in people is a nasal spray called Esketamine or Spravato. It’s engineered for adult patients who have been diagnosed with severe and recurring depression, haven’t been helped by antidepressants, or have become openly suicidal.
These patients will continue with their prescribed antidepressant pills but will also receive the Esketamine at a clinic or a doctor’s office under a health care provider’s supervision. The treatment lasts for 2 hours or for as long as the “trip” takes. Treatment-resistant depression patients typically receive a dose of the nasal spray two times per week for 1 to 4 weeks, then once per week for weeks 5 through 9. After that they receive a dose once every 2 weeks.
The spray comes with a “black box” warning indicating the risk of attention deficit disorder, the dangers associated with sedation, unclear thinking, and also the potential misuse or abuse of the drug. Ironically, if abused, ketamine can lead to suicidal thoughts and behaviors.
Other varieties of ketamine that are not yet approved by the FDA for serious mental health issues include lozenges and an injection in the arm. But today, the FDA allows for administration of ketamine via IV or an intramuscular (IM) shot under strict doctor’s supervision.
In the final analysis, ketamine, which was once considered a drug to relieve pain in animals, is a powerful and effective method for treating severe and recurring depression which can manifest itself in many ways, including suicidal tendencies, anorexia, plus drug and alcohol abuse.Tammie~