Ketamine is a drug known to boost disinhibition during the holidays. This compound was first synthesized in 1962 as an analgesic to relieve the pain of wounded in war zones. Many vets also use it to anesthetize horses.
Since 2006, psychiatrists have begun to discover its powerful antidepressant effect. However, it causes strong and dangerous side effects. If we take a few minutes to explore the pharmacology of depression, we will realize that Prozac and its generic, fluoxetine, have been replaced by other more specific antidepressants .
A good use and correct administration of the same have managed to enhance their effect, reduce side effects and make them more specific. An example of this are third generation antidepressants, such as venlaxafine, which work very well for depressions that produce generalized anxiety. This is how, thanks to it, the patient’s willingness to carry out various activities is improved, so that the energy it produces finds in the movement a way to dissipate.
Despite this, 1 in 3 patients with acute depression still does not give any response to the expected treatment and relapses occur in 75% of cases (depending on the type of depression and the patient). With this landscape, don’t you think alternatives are worth considering?
Depression in today’s world
Although they want to silence it, not even the most famous actors, musicians and programmers in Silicon Valley can escape it. Depression will be the leading cause of disability within a few years.
The problem is that today, despite the progress, we still cannot count on multidisciplinary treatments or interventions that are effective for all cases. Hence the need to invest in research and to continue exploring new avenues.
Awareness raising about ecology, mental health and the distribution of knowledge and wealth will be among the central objectives in the years to come. And it’s important that this really happens if we are to survive as a species and even migrate to other planets.
All of these changes affect our mood, stress crystallizes into sadness, and there is a greater proportion of people who feel alienated from the world. Although the context may have an impact, depression has been talked about since ancient Greece and has been given different meanings throughout history.
Acute depression and post-traumatic stress: people who cannot reconcile with the world
In addition to symptoms such as sleep disturbances, loss of appetite, dullness, sadness and irritability, both in the case of post-traumatic stress and acute depression, there is a sense of loss of control and connection with reality. All this generates a feeling of deep despair. Depression eradicates the subject from the world or vice versa.
Drug administration appears to improve symptoms only in the case of very severe, atypical, or vegetative symptoms. Furthermore, pharmacological treatment does not seem to show any advantages over psychological treatment, in an isolated and medium-long term way. Therefore, it does not appear to be a very attractive option and it becomes even less so if we take into consideration the numerous side effects, even if there are still circumstances in which it is effective (without knowing specifically why).
The dissociative effect: the distinctive element of ketamine compared to fluoxetine
As we have said, the most common antidepressants act as selective inhibitors of the reuptake of serotonin in the presynaptic space, thus increasing its presence in the brain. Something similar to “letting go of pleasure for a while”, activating the mechanism of “happiness” in an artificial way, by stimulating its main neurotransmitter.
However, not all acute depressions improve significantly with this drug treatment. In many cases, this state prevents the initiation of psychological therapy.
Ketamine cannot be administered without close medical observation. In this sense, several studies are being carried out with which to shed light on its effects. The truly revolutionary thing would involve isolating the molecule that allows the positive effects (powerful and quick) to be achieved, thus eliminating the part of the compound that produces most of the side effects.
If we compare it with other antidepressants, the speed and effect produced by this substance go in favor of ketamine . On the other hand, this compound synthesized of hallucinatory experiences and causes dissociative alterations at the speed of an e-mail: the “I” that doubles, suddenly sees an alien reality, perhaps that goes beyond the extreme cognitive dissonance that he lives his “habitual self” with respect to the world.
When the person seems to reconcile with it under the effect of ketamine, we do not know if this happens because the subject is capable of experiencing a parallel reality. In this sense, it seems that the hallucinatory perceptual experience activates the person’s senses in such a way as to amplify the sensations: this is how unpleasant memories will not be contemplated in this “new reality”.
Perhaps it is the reality and the stigmas that we create on a social level that are the causes of the disease. Perhaps it is these social products that weaken our emotional defenses and produce this tunnel effect in our worldview, which allows us to perceive only closed doors. In one way or another, depression presents itself as an ever greater challenge : its incidence is increasing and the effectiveness of treatments, therapies and intervention plans needs to evolve in order to provide an effective response to everyone. the cases that occur. Will ketamine be part of the solution?