Ketamine, categorized as a “dissociative anesthetic,”1 is used in powdered or liquid form as an anesthetic, usually on animals. It can be injected, consumed in drinks, snorted, or added to joints or cigarettes. Ketamine was placed on the list of controlled substances in the US in 1999.
Short- and long-term effects include increased heart rate and blood pressure, nausea, vomiting, numbness, depression, amnesia, hallucinations and potentially fatal respiratory problems. Ketamine users can also develop cravings for the drug. At high doses, users experience an effect referred to as “K-Hole,” an “out of body” or “near-death” experience.
Due to the detached, dreamlike state it creates, where the user finds it difficult to move, ketamine has been used as a “date-rape” drug.
What differentiates ketamine from other antidepressants is how it works to affect the brain. Antidepressants typically focus on increasing chemicals in the brain such as serotonin and dopamine.
Using ketamine for depression, however, can actually assist in repairing neuron synapses that typically don’t function properly in the brains of depressed patients.
Ketamine provokes a response in the brain, and it’s the adaptation to that provocation- the regrowth of synaptic connections- that is responsible for the rapid improvement in the mood it creates.
Although ketamine is not actually FDA-approved for clinical depression, 70% of the prescription medications prescribed today are ‘off label’ for at least one use.”
Commonly-prescribed antidepressants are also rarely fast-acting– taking weeks or months before a patient experiences any relief from the debilitating signs and symptoms of depression.
Up to 75% of patients find some relief with just a single dose of ketamine. best of all, ketamine works fast, with many patients reporting improvements within several hours of their initial infusion.
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