In recent years, the party drug and anesthetic ketamine has been embraced as a rapidly-acting, if still off-label, medication for some cases of depression and suicidal ideation that don’t respond to other treatments. But there’s still much we don’t understand about how it actually works so quickly to treat the crippling disorder. A new study released Wednesday out of Stanford University suggests that at least some of ketamine’s mojo relies on the same brain receptors that opioid painkillers activate.
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In recent years, psychedelic party drugs such as LSD and MDMA have been studied by scientists for their potential ability to treat mental health problems such as depression and anxiety - often in microdoses much smaller than the what a person would take to trip. But while the research into these drugs is promising, there's still a lot we don't understand about how they affect the brain.
A new study, published this week in Cell Reports, seems to offer the strongest evidence yet that they can actually help repair the brain's circuitry and function.
Ketamine, a drug that's been retooled as a "breakthrough" in depression treatment, is one step closer to becoming mainstream medicine, thanks to the results of a Phase II clinical trial published this week in the American Journal of Psychiatry. But some experts are wary of creating a new drug-abuse crisis by introducing a potentially addictive drug to millions of new users.
When it comes to preventing suicide, true breakthroughs are hard to come by. And although there are many drugs and therapy approaches available for people with depression, less than half of people achieve any sustained remission. In recent years, though, doctors have found convincing evidence that low doses of ketamine, a drug used by doctors and veterinarians for its anaesthetic properties and by sensation-seekers for its psychedelic effects, might represent an genuine advance in treating depression. A new study published in the American Journal of Psychiatry suggests that ketamine could also be effective as a fast-acting treatment to prevent suicide.