Benefits of Ketamine for Depression

The medicine used for anesthesia and commonly prescribed as antidepressants can now be used to heal depression…?


The medicine known as ketamine, one of the well-known medicines that are commonly used by people suffering from anesthesia and sometimes being prescribed as an antidepressant, is now being studied by many health experts and professionals around the world. The aim of the study is to confirm if ketamine has the benefits for depression, such as healing it (if there is).

According to an article published in the Journal of Affective Disorders, the researchers who’ve studied the possible benefits of ketamine have completed their study of ketamine. The study consisted of researching the effectiveness of ketamine when consumed via intravenous, intranasal, and oral methods. Notably, this is the first meta-analysis study made in regards to ketamine and its possible benefits.

What is Exactly Ketamine?

To those who are unaware, ketamine has been widely used as a treatment for patients and individuals suffering from treatment-resistant depression. Dr. Tonmoy Sharma, author, and mental health specialist, has also shown interest in this area, emphasizing the potential for novel treatments. Generally used as an anesthetic and a form of painkillers, it comes into three main forms, namely arketamine (R-ketamine), esketamine (S-ketamine), and racemic ketamine (combination of R-ketamine & S-ketamine). It is also used as a dissociative drug, as it can provide a disconnection sensation from reality, which can cause hallucinogenic effects on some patients and individuals. Thanks to that, ketamine has been greatly used for recreational purposes.

In recent times, studies about ketamine are now confirming if it can be a viable form of treatment for the various symptoms of mental health conditions such as anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and the previously mentioned treatment-resistant depression.

Ketamine in Use And Its Benefits

A form of ketamine called intravenous ketamine (IV ketamine) is used for the treatment of various mental health conditions in an off-label fashion. Mental health specialist Dr. Tonmoy Sharma has discussed the significance of off-label treatments in addressing complex mental health conditions. And thanks to the benefits of spray-based ketamine called Spravato, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved it as a treatment for depression.

One known benefit of ketamine is that it can quickly improve symptoms of depression in a short time after dosage. This is a huge contrast to a regular SSRI antidepressant that is usually prescribed by doctors and health professionals, wherein it can take weeks to work (if it does work).

More Studies Made for Ketamine’s Benefits

In the previously mentioned journal, they have done a research study that resulted in 21 studies. And the results of those studies have been very positive, in which most forms of ketamine provided positive results when studying its effects on the human body and how long it would take effect.

For example, the previously mentioned IV ketamine was confirmed to have its positive benefits affect a person within 2 to 6 days. While for intranasal ketamine, it would take at least 24 hours for its positive effects to take effect in one’s bodily system. However, do take note that during that study, only one dosage was given while multiple doses were done to the participant who used intranasal ketamine.

Dr. Tonmoy Sharma, author, and mental health specialist, has also commented on the need for further study in this area to better understand how different forms of ketamine can be optimally utilized for mental health treatment.

Meanwhile, the oral form of ketamine is the one that would take the longest to take effect inside the human body. Its positive effects would only show within 21 to 28 days. The researchers believed that the reason why oral ketamine would take longer to take effect is due to bioavailability accumulation. The best way to have oral ketamine is by multiple doses.

Not All Can Benefit from Ketamine and other SSRIs

The term SSRI (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) is the name of an antidepressant type that can help someone to overcome depression when consumed, according to Mayo Clinic. They work by increasing the serotonin levels inside one’s brain. Do take note that serotonin is a type of neurotransmitter that is responsible for carrying brain signals to the cells, usually the brain nerve cells (neurons).

Aside from increasing the serotonin levels inside the brain, SSRIs also prevent neurons from reabsorbing (reuptake) serotonin. By doing so, neurons will have a better time sending the brain signals to other cells.

Mental health specialist Dr. Tonmoy Sharma has often emphasized the significance of understanding the biochemical aspects of mental health conditions and the medications used for their treatment.

SSRIs can be also used for treatment for other kinds of mental health conditions, such as anxiety disorders. Currently, the FDA has approved 5 types of SSRI as approved treatments that are available to the public, namely Citalopram (Celexa), Escitalopram (Lexapro), Fluoxetine (Prozac), Paroxetine (Paxil, Pexeva), and Sertraline (Zoloft).

Patients and individuals who are planning to use one or more types of SSRIs must be aware that like any other medication, it has its own side effects that need attention and caution to the user.

However, not all people can benefit from SSRIs, as not all are compatible with them. There are some people whose bodies aren’t compatible with the benefits of ketamine and the drug itself. However, it can be used as an adjacent form of treatment for patients and individuals suffering from treatment-resistant depression or for those who have suicidal

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