The 1970s first revealed ketamine as a novel anesthetic drug which suitable for humans. Quickly seen as a reliable and safe option for anesthesia, it soon became the drug of choice of surgeons across the globe. Compared to contemporary drugs of the time such as PCP, ketamine acted quicker and carried far fewer risks.
In fact, soldiers in Vietnam often used ketamine on the battlefield to provide quick and immediate relief to the wounded. However, during the late 1970’s, people started abusing ketamine, mainly because of the hallucinogenic effects it produced at high dosages. Soon ketamine would be known as one of the most famous drugs circulated in night clubs.

Treatment for suicidal depression

It was because of its use as a club drug that ketamine is now strictly regulated. Of note, though, quite a number of recent studies which point towards its mental health benefits. One of those benefits includes keeping suicidal thoughts at bay.
A team of doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital conducted a study on patients enduring treatment resistant depression.
The study was straight to the point: When ketamine is administered in low doses along with antidepressant medication(s), it can help reduce suicidal thoughts. People were seen to have reduced suicidal tendencies. These tendencies were not reduced when the aforementioned patients were on mainstream antidepressant medications alone.
Numerous other studies have also proven the effectiveness of ketamine in treating patients with depression. In one, patients who suffered from mild to severe depression were administered ketamine twice a week for three weeks. Most of the people who underwent treatment noted that they saw an improvement in their symptoms. They had fewer suicidal thoughts, and some even went into complete remission.

All these positive findings need to be addressed as soon as possible by the medical community at large to help severely depressed individuals regain their quality of life. Other antidepressants like lithium compounds and clozapine used to control suicidal thoughts have serious side effects. Worse still, these side effects often linger into the distant future. The depressed patient must face yet another obstacle, then. Fortunately, low doses of ketamine given intravenously can have a much-needed positive effect and could be used as a long-term treatment for severe or treatment-resistant depression.


5 Turning Points during the History of Ketamine

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