As time goes on, more research is done and more studies are performed that further medical findings in regard to addiction and viable treatments. Depression is a common co-existing disorder with drug abuse, present in many addicts due to chemical imbalances in their cognitive functioning. Long-term drug use affects the way the brain is naturally able to produce dopamine, the neurotransmitter that keeps our mood balanced and controls our brain’s reward center. Antidepressants are prescribed to those suffering from depression in an attempt to level out this chemical imbalance.
But not all individuals are responsive to these medications. In recent years, the anesthetic Ketamine has taken on a new role in treating severe depression in those that are unresponsive to normal treatment. This may come as a surprise, as Ketamine works as a sedative and has been deemed an illicit substance. Ketamine has even been abused as a date-rape drug, because its misuse can lead to feeling out of touch with your surroundings and sometimes immobile. When being used and abused recreationally, Ketamine can cause:
- Bloody or cloudy pee
- Trouble peeing, or needing to pee often
- Pale or bluish lips, skin, or fingernails
- Blurry vision
- Chest pain, discomfort, or tightness
- Shortness of breath, trouble breathing, or not breathing
- Problems with swallowing
- Dizziness, faintness, lightheadedness, or fainting
- Fast, slow, or irregular heartbeat
- Hives, itching, rash
Because of its highly addictive tendencies, Ketamine’s side effects must be noted. Doctors are well aware of the dangers that this drug presents, but its benefits cannot be denied either. John Abenstein, President of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, had a few words to share on the topic:
“Outside of the clinic, ketamine can cause tragedies, but in the right hands, it is a miracle”
Although the FDA has not approved Ketamine as a legal method of depression treatment, some psychiatrists have been given the green light to use it on patients experimentally. Ketamine has been proven to work rapidly, within minutes, whereas normal antidepressants can take up to several weeks to kick in effectively. This is partially due to certain properties in Ketamine that work to regrow poor connections in the brain that are involved in mood regulation. Patients who were injected with low doses of Ketamine to treat their severe depression reported less thoughts of suicide within a day of treatment. Nasal mist infused with Ketamine has also been developed as a method of use.
The tricky part of this process is that Ketamine is a very addictive drug. Although its benefits are clear, finding the fine line between a dose high enough to treat depression and low enough to avoid addiction is very difficult. As we know, any drug that changes a person’s senses can, and will, be abused. Additionally, doctors do not know the long-term effect of Ketamine on humans when it is being administered on a regular basis.
Medical research and breakthroughs with new treatments are always exciting. Finding a cure to help those suffering from mental disorders that stem from addiction is something that Scottsdale Recovery Center will always stand by. But, these methods must be tested and proven safe before we administer anything to our patients. When staying at our facility, your well-being is our top priority. If you have any uncertainties or concerns, reach out today. We’re here to help.
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