What Is Ketamine?
Ketamine was first discovered in Belgium in the 1960s , as an anesthesia drug for animals. The FDA recognized it as an anesthetic drug for patients in the year 1970. It was utilized to treat wounded soldiers in the battlefields during the Vietnam War. As opposed to other anesthetics ketamine does not slow the heart rate or breathing and therefore patients don’t have to be placed on ventilators to receive it.
Emergency responders may give it to an agitated patient that, for instance, they’ve rescued from suicide. That’s how Ken Stewart, MD, claims doctors came to realize that the drug had powerful effects on suicidal and depression.
“Someone is trying to jump off a bridge, and they put an ketamin inside the ambulance in order to calm him down. 9 months later, he tells”I haven’t felt suicidal for 9 months.’
“When enough stories like that started to pile up, doctors said, ‘Maybe there’s something here,'” Stewart says. Stewart, an emergency physician and the founder of Insight Ketamine in Santa Fe, NM. As with the drug, Stewart was introduced to combat medicine during the Vietnam War. There are doctors who also use ketamine to treat suicidal ideas.
Ketamine can trigger what doctors refer to as”a “dissociative experience” and what most anyone else would call”a “trip.” That’s how it became a drug in clubs and is referred to as K, special K, Super K, and Vitamin K among others. Partiers inject it into their bodies, place it in drinks, snort it, or add it to cigarettes or joints.
Visual and Sensory Distortions
“Ketamine can produce feelings of unreality; visual and sensory distortions; a distorted feeling about one’s body; temporary unusual thoughts and beliefs; and a euphoria or a buzz,” states John Krystal, MD, chief of psychiatry at Yale-New Haven Hospital. He also teaches at the Yale School of Medicine in Connecticut in the United States, where he’s an expert in the study of the antidepressant effects of ketamine.
The journey lasts approximately two hours. There are risks with frequent usage. The most dangerous are low blood pressure, unconsciousness and potentially slowed breathing. Ketamine can also trigger serious long-term issues, including ulcers and pain in the bladder; kidney problems; stomach pain; depression; and poor memory. Ketamine may be fatal for those who drink alcohol, or take it when you’re drunk.
But the drug’s potential as an antidepressant and antidote to suicidal thoughts has caught the attention of researchers. They’ve investigated and used it in controlled, clinical settings in order to aid with treating resistant depression and other ailments.
To be clear: Casual use of cannabis is not a treatment for depression. However, doctors have created guidelines for medically-supervised use that may help people who aren’t getting relief from other medication.
“We’re reaching out in a new way to patients who have not responded to other kinds of treatments and providing, for some of them, the first time that they’ve gotten better from their depression,” Krystal says.