What Is Ketamine?
Ketamine came into use in Belgium in the 60s as an anesthesia medicine for animals. The FDA approved the use of it as an anesthetic to patients in the year 1970. It was used to treat wounded soldiers who were wounded on the battlefields of the Vietnam War. Unlike other anesthetics, ketamine doesn’t slow heart rate or breathe and patients don’t need to be on ventilators to receive it.
Emergency personnel can give it to an agitated patient that, for instance, they’ve rescued from suicide attempts. That’s the way Ken Stewart, MD, states that doctors started to recognize that the medication had potent effects against depression and suicidal ideas.
“Someone has decided to jump off a bridge and they send them ketamin inside the ambulance in order to help him calm down and 9 months later, he states, ‘I haven’t felt suicidal for nine months.’
“When enough stories like that started to pile up, doctors said, ‘Maybe there’s something here,'” says Stewart who is an emergency physician and founder of Insight Ketamine in Santa Fe, NM. Like the drug itself Stewart was introduced to combat medicine during the Vietnam War. Certain doctors also utilize ketamine for treating suicidal thoughts.
Ketamine can trigger what doctors refer to as doctors call a “dissociative experience” and what majority of people would describe as a “trip.” That’s how it became a club drug and is referred to as K, the Special K, Super K, and Vitamin K as well as other names. Partiers inject it, mix it into drinks, snort it or mix it into joints or cigarettes.
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,” is John Krystal, MD, chief of psychiatry at Yale-New Haven Hospital and Yale School of Medicine in Connecticut which is where he is an expert in the study of the effects of ketamine on depression.
The trip lasts about 2 hours. There are dangers with frequent use. The most dangerous are confusion, hypertension as well as dangerously slow breathing. Ketamine can also trigger long-term problems, such as ulcers and discomfort in the bladder; kidney problems; stomach pain; depression and a poor memory. Ketamine may be fatal for users who are alcohol dependent or take it when you’re drunk.
The potential for the drug to be treatment for depression as well as an treatment for suicidal thinking has drawn the attention of scientists. They’ve studied and administered it in controlled, clinical settings in order to aid with treating resistant depression and other ailments.
It is important to be clear that casual use is not a treatment for depression. But doctors have come up with a protocol for medically supervised usage that can help people who can’t find 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 states.