Jason Koebler points to a new study out of the UK that found ketamine to be an effective treatment for major depression:
Like in recent American studies, ketamine proved useful for treating some patients whose previous depression treatments had failed. University of Oxford researchers report in the Journal of Psychopharmacology that the drug rapidly reversed depression, though most patients began feeling depressed again within a day or two. In about 30 percent of the patients, however, depression didn’t return for at least three weeks, and 15 percent of patients reported feeling benefits for as long as two months.
Despite the fact that not all patients saw long-term benefits, the drug appears to be a viable option for the treatment of depression: The study’s 45 patients had exhausted most other forms of antidepressants and were candidates for electroconvulsive therapy, a treatment that’s still highly controversial and often comes with memory loss. Ketamine proved effective, at least in the short term, and patients showed no memory loss or cognitive decline.
Soong Phoon, who used to suffer from severe suicidal depression, describes what the drug did for her:
I tried all the available SSRIs and had 18 treatments of Electroconvulsive Therapy. Nothing worked. Then my psychiatrist and a senior consultant suggested ketamine infusions. … Researchers know why ketamine works, but still have no idea why ECT, the traditional treatment for severe depression, does. They only have vague theories. And ketamine is a much cheaper treatment than ECT; a ketamine infusion in New Zealand costs $200, whereas ECT is closer to a grand.
I had four infusions and within a couple hours, my mood lifted considerably. During treatment I was euphoric. Never had the K-hole experience—although I did have some entertaining conversations with the clinical director, ECT doctor, nurse, and registrar. After the treatment, I no longer had thoughts of suicide, and felt good for the first time in forever.
Previous Dish on the non-recreational wonders of ketamine here.