Is Ketamine a cure for depression?
Many years ago surgical patients who also suffered from chronic depression were reporting a mysterious lifting of their symptoms after surgery. These patients had been given an anesthesia called ketamine during their surgery.
As a result, researchers have been studying the use of ketamine to help people suffering from chronic depression for several decades and the results are now coming in: patients with treatment resistant depression are reporting remarkable, wonderful, and life changing results.
A March 19, 2019 article in Yale Medicine reports “…ketamine…triggers glutamate production, which, in a complex, cascading series of events, prompts the brain to form new neural connections. This makes the brain more adaptable and able to create new pathways, and gives patients the opportunity to develop more positive thoughts and behaviors. This was an effect that had not been seen before, even with traditional antidepressants.”
Traditional depression treatment has typically involved the use of SSRI’s to the great financial profit of pharmaceutical companies. SSRI’s are drugs that “work” in only about half of all cases and only when the drug has been ingested.
Ketamine, on the other hand, appears to actually “fix” the brain.
Researchers caution us to not be overly optimistic as we need to maintain the neural pathways that have been created by ketamine therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy is suggested as a strong compliment as well as a limited use of SSRI’s (to the great consternation of big pharma!).
Dr. Richard Bowen of the Charleston Ketamine Center has been offering ketamine infusion therapy to people suffering with chronic depression for many years. He has recently begun offering the new FDA approved nasal spray as well.
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