Cognitive function recovered quickly after ketamine treatment, reducing suicidal tendency

Key points

  • Ketamine is a narcotic drug used during surgery or for pain control, and illegally used as a street drug.
  • But research shows that this drug has the potential to treat severe depression.
  • A new study shows that within 24 hours of treatment, suicidal ideation is significantly reduced.

Although it has not yet been approved by the FDA, ketamine is considered a paradigm shift in the research and treatment of depression. It is the first quick-acting antidepressant to effectively treat the symptoms of refractory mood disorders.

Usually used alone to control pain or with other anesthetics during surgery, the potential of ketamine to treat major depression is a hot topic of research. A new Columbia University study presents new findings that reduce depression symptoms and suicidal thoughts in just 24 hours.

This survey

Researchers conducted neuropsychological tests on 78 individuals with depression and clinically significant suicidal ideation before and one day after treatment. Half of the participants received intravenous ketamine, and the other half received the sedative midazolam, which is used to treat anxiety and depression.

The research results are published in Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, Which shows that a dose of ketamine quickly improves the thinking and reasoning of suicidal thoughts, making them feel safer and less likely to hurt themselves. Many of these people did not respond to other antidepressants before.

J. John Mann, MD

We found that suicidal ideation is not only related to the severity of depression. There are other reasons, including improved cognition associated with decreased suicidal ideation, thereby making those with suicidal tendencies safer.

— J. John Mann, MD

Although the exact mechanism is unclear, the improvement in twisted thinking allows researchers to better understand how ketamine affects the brain. Some proposed biomedical mechanisms include down-regulation of neural pathways commonly associated with rumination, which is a characteristic of suicidal thoughts.

“We found that suicidal ideation is not only related to the severity of depression,” senior author J. John Mann, MD, said in a press release. “There are other reasons, including improved cognition related to decreased suicidal ideation, which makes those with suicidal tendencies safer.”

For participants who responded positively to ketamine, the results lasted up to six weeks after the initial infusion with antidepressants. However, the long-term effects of continued use of ketamine are unclear, so further research is needed.

Ketamine and mental health

Psychotherapist Ben Medrano, MD, serves as the medical director of Field Trip Heath New York, where psychotherapy is combined with psychedelic drugs. Ketamine is a routine part of the treatment of patients with depression and anxiety.

“We have found that ketamine-assisted psychotherapy is one of many useful tools that can allow people to jump to a state of greater mobility to get rid of it and re-enter a state of flexibility, in which self-care begins to become More likely,” Medrano said.

Just as research on the treatment of depression with ketamine has produced promising findings, Medrano said that he often sees equally encouraging results in practice. The introduction of ketamine enables patients to find the root cause of the problems and work hard to solve these problems.

“We have observed that the combination of ketamine and psychedelic drugs may provide an opportunity to enter the subconscious mind and explore potential problems that may cause depression and anxiety,” Medrano said. “Meaning, both spiritual and philosophical, is also a key factor in the healing process (ketamine-assisted psychotherapy).”

Ben Medrano, MD

We have observed that the combination of ketamine and psychedelic drugs may provide an opportunity to enter the subconscious mind and explore potential problems that may lead to depression and anxiety.

— Ben Medrano, MD

Although this evidence is promising, and the FDA has approved Escetamine nasal spray, a derivative of ketamine, as an effective treatment for refractory depression in combination with oral antidepressants, some patients and professionals are still exploring The potential of ketamine hesitates.

Medrano pointed out that the recreational use of ketamine and its association with animal tranquilizers has led to serious neglect of its effectiveness as a treatment. At the same time, some scholars do not classify ketamine as a psychedelic drug. Although it certainly does not produce the same effect as LSD or psilocybin, Medrano said that the restrictive qualification of “dissociative anesthetics” ignores any possible causes. The mysterious state of ketamine is achieved through adjuvant therapy with ketamine.

“Considering this misunderstanding, it is important to acknowledge their impact on the mentality of KAP participants,” Medrano said. “Psychedelics have the potential to magnify pre-existing beliefs, whether accurate or not. Therefore, reductions or erroneous views like this one may detract from positive results.”

What this means to you

If you or someone you know is struggling with symptoms of depression that have not been relieved by treatment or other treatments, consult your doctor or mental health professional to determine whether ketamine is an effective option.

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Cognitive function recovered quickly after ketamine treatment, reducing suicidal tendency
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