Tag Archives | ketamine

Ketamine (Special K) May Be Best Medicine For Depression

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Photo: Psychonaught (CC)

Amazingly enough the powerful hallucinogen ketamine (the horse tranquilizer sometimes known as Special K) is being touted as a serious and better alternative to the SSRIs like Prozac. Report from the New York Times:

It is either the most exciting new treatment for depression in years or it is a hallucinogenic club drug that is wrongly being dispensed to desperate patients in a growing number of clinics around the country.

It is called ketamine — or Special K, in street parlance.

While it has been used as an anesthetic for decades, small studies at prestigious medical centers like Yale, Mount Sinai and the National Institute of Mental Health suggest it can relieve depression in many people who are not helped by widely used conventional antidepressants like Prozac or Lexapro.

And the depression seems to melt away within hours, rather than the weeks typically required for a conventional antidepressant.

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Here’s What Your Eyes Look Like When You Take Different Drugs

via Vice:

Eyes are the window to your soul, and that doesn’t stop being true no matter how many illegal substances you consume on a night out. But can your eyes really tell when you’re actually on something? From pupils the size of a needlepoint to huge black holes with barely visible irises, we snapped our way through Berlin’s nightclubs to see if people’s eyeballs could tell us the night’s story. How much does the size of your pupils actually have to do with the substances you’ve taken?

The stuff in drugs that makes you relaxed, happy or just really awake not only manipulates the neurotransmitters in your brain, but can also affect physiological processes in your body. This includes the muscles in your eyes that are responsible for making your pupils bigger (to let in more light, for example), or smaller.

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To see more eyes and read more, go here: http://www.vice.com/read/can-you-tell-what-drugs-someones-on-just-by-looking-at-their-eyes-876

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Ketamine Is “The Most Important Discovery In 50 Years” For Treating Depression

So says a new review in the journal Science, which declares that the club drug is vastly more effective than the serotonin-boosting antidepressants typically prescribed for mood disorders. Via TIME Healthland:

It didn’t seem likely that a drug could repair brain cells within hours, but new research explored suggests just that. Ketamine rapidly spurs the growth of new synapses, the connections between brain cells, and is associated with “reversal of the atrophy caused by chronic stress,” the authors write.

Unfortunately, the hallucinogenic effects of ketamine mean that it can’t be used in the same way typical antidepressants are, and fears about its potential for misuse also hamper its development. Researchers are frantically trying to develop compounds that have the same effects as ketamine without producing a “high.”

In the meanwhile, however, ketamine is already FDA approved […] But clinical use of the drug in the community remains rare. Fears about abuse continue to run high, though ketamine has never caught on as a major street drug.

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Ketamine Eyed as a Potential Treatment for Tough Depression

Picture: USDOJ (PD)

NPR: Scientists with the National Institute of Mental Health and Harvard may have succeeded in unlocking the mechanisms that allow some people to feel near-immediate relief from depression after taking popular club drug, ketamine. Animal studies seem to indicates that the drug encourages new synaptic growth between neurons, and the same thing may be occurring in depressed humans who take the drug.

Researchers are ecstatic – as are the big drug companies. One company, Naurex, is already testing a drug that works like ketamine, only without the hallucinations.

Ketamine isn’t the only “party drug” that has been cited as a possible depression cure. Just weeks ago an article in the Guardian reported similar research regarding MDMA, also known as Ecstasy, and psilocybin, the active ingredient in hallucinogenic mushrooms.

More at NPR.

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Ketamine Can Induce A Near-Death Experience

Looking down at one’s own body as the soul floats upwards…a feeling of immense calm as one moves towards the light…such reports by those who have come perilously close to death are often cited as proof of an afterlife or spiritual realm. However psychiatrist Dr. Karl Jansen explains that these near-death experiences are identical to a ketamine trip:

The near-death experience (NDE) is a phenomenon of considerable importance to medicine, neuroscience, neurology, psychiatry, philosophy and religon. Unfortunately, some scientists have been deterred from conducting research upon the NDE by claims that NDE’s are evidence for life after death, and sensationalist media reports which impart the air of a pseudoscience to NDE studies.

All features of a classic NDE can be reproduced by the intravenous administration of 50-100 mg of ketamine…including travel through a dark tunnel into light, the conviction that one is dead, ‘telepathic communion with God’, hallucinations, out-of-body experiences and mystical states…becoming a disembodied mind or soul, dying and going to another world.

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