When it comes to fighting depression, your options are fairly limited. Antidepressants usually take weeks to kick in, and even then they only treat the symptoms of depression and don’t get to the root of the problem itself. Ketamine, on the other hand, seems to work quickly and with minimal side effects (at least compared to other drugs). It works by targeting specific neurotransmitters in the brain that cause the depressed mood, but not everyone has access to it. This article will help you determine whether ketamine treatment for depression might be right for you.

What is Ketamine?
Ketamine is a dissociative anesthetic that was first discovered in 1962. It acts as a noncompetitive antagonist of N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) glutamate receptors and has been shown to produce rapid antidepressant effects in individuals with treatment-resistant depression. Ketamine is still in early stages of research, but could become an effective and fast treatment for depressive disorders in years to come.

How Does it Help With Depression?
Research shows that ketamine, a commonly used anesthetic in hospitals, may help people with treatment-resistant depression. To be clear, ketamine is no cure—it’s just a promising avenue of research. The hallucinogenic drug has been shown to alleviate symptoms of depression quickly—often within hours—as well as to provide lasting relief when other treatments haven’t worked. It’s not like any other antidepressant we have on our books, says Dr. Gerard Sanacora, director of Yale University School of Medicine’s Depression Research Program and lead author on several studies about ketamine and depression. It really works very rapidly and it works very well. Some patients are able to achieve remission within 24 hours of taking ketamine. Other drugs can take weeks or months to work—if they work at all. That’s why researchers are so excited about what they’re seeing with ketamine.

What is the Dosage used to Treat Depression in Humans?
Ketamine is a hallucinogenic drug that’s been used in humans as an anesthesia alternative. While its exact mechanism of action is unknown, ketamine has been found to block NMDA receptors and mimic activity at serotonin (5-HT) receptors, meaning it can relieve depression symptoms rapidly. The typical dosage used to treat depression in humans is 0.5 mg/kg IV or 40 mg IM per day, with multiple doses administered over several days. In some cases, patients have experienced relief from depression within hours after receiving their first dose of ketamine.

Does it Treat Other Mental Illnesses as well as Depression?
Research has shown that ketamine may also be effective in treating post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and social anxiety. There are some serious side effects associated with taking ketamine, including hallucinations and impaired motor control. Therefore, it’s essential to ensure that your dosage is monitored by a doctor or mental health professional. The body metabolizes ketamine within 24 hours, but its antidepressant effect can last as long as seven days after just one treatment! Additionally, many people report having vivid dreams when they take ketamine. If you’re interested in trying out ketamine therapy, make sure you talk to your doctor about possible side effects and get regular checkups throughout your course of treatment.

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