Severe Depression: How Ketamine Works
Ketamine is an anesthetic drug that was used in the 1960s. Recently they have discovered that it has a positive effect on people with depression. Although there are still a lot more research needed to fully reap the benefits of this drug, FDA just recently approved it. Now it can be used for patients with depression.
Esketamine is a nasal spray that one can use when they have bouts of depression. It works like a miracle, especially for depressive and suicidal patients. It changes the brains’ circuitry and reverses the way they respond to stress. While they need to work on how they can prolong the effect or provide sustainable effects to depressive patients, it is still a breakthrough.
What is interesting about Ketamine is that the effect of the drug is not it’s a presence in your system but the effect it has on your system. Ketamine triggers the regrowth of brain connectivity. This enables the patient to respond to stressful situations better. When a person is depressed there is poor neural activity in the prefrontal cortex of the brain. After taking the Esketamine, the patient is seen to be more responsive.
Another interesting thing about ketamine is that it doesn’t work like normal anti-depressant drugs. Instead of affecting the “monoamine” neurotransmitters, ketamine works on glutamate. Glutamate is the key player in the changes that synapses go through when there are new learning and memory made as a response to new experiences. This is why researchers are very excited about ketamine effects on depressive patients.
Like most anti-depressant drugs it also has side effects such as addiction and bladder problems. It is not a cure but it can help people with difficult to treat depression. Further research and studies aim to find a better and more long-lasting effect on people with depression.