TEEN HEALTH Published February3, 2016 By Antara Dutta Choudhury

Can A Party Drug Now Be A New Hope For Depression Patients?

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Can A Party Drug Now Be A New Hope For Depression Patients?
(Photo : Chris Hondros / Getty Images) Ketamine, a drug that held a reputation of an illicit party drug can now be potentially effective in treating depression.

Depression is a common story these days and if left unaddressed it can have detrimental effects such as alcohol abuse, drug abuse, and even suicide attempts. Of many patients who seek treatment for depression recover only 30 percent to 40 percent with the conventional antidepressants.

Ketamine use for medical purpose ranges from anesthetic to relieving chronic pain or even asthma. However, it gained popularity as a notorious date-rape drug after being used in clubbing and a number of deaths from over dosage of the drugs.

Over a decade researchers have been exploring the immense potential of this drug in treating mental health issues. Many studies also reported that it can help depression patients who do not get any relief with the use of conventional medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). SSRIs take almost three to eight weeks to produce an effect and it does not guarantee to boost a person's mood effectively.

In addition, SSRIs come with negative effects such as nausea, dizziness, weight gain, insomnia, and low libido. According to Science Alert, scientists believe that Ketamine works well on patients suffering from depression and who are resistant to antidepressant. Ketamine is the answer to their depression because it blocks the proteins called NMDA receptors and initiates the production of synaptic signaling proteins in the prefrontal cortex that regulates emotional, cognitive, and behavioral functioning of the brain.

A 46-year old business executive from Seattle, Dennis Hartman, suffered from severe depression for 25 years. He finally decided to take a ditch effort to fight his depression with only 40 minutes of IV drip ketamine through his system. After several hours he could only feel his suicidal thoughts getting evaporated.

"My life will always be divided into the time before that first infusion and the time after. That sense of suffering and pain draining away. I was bewildered by the absence of pain," Mr Hartman reported.

Such reports have made a growing number of medical centers, such as Yale University, Mayo Clinic, the University Of California San Diego have already started exploring the benefits of ketamine in helping sufferers of severe depression.

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