Ketamine is a drug historically used as a surgical anesthetic that shows incredible promise as a treatment for depression—especially in those cases where traditional antidepressants fail. Of the roughly 8 percent of people in the U.S. who suffer from depression, 30 percent do not respond to commonly prescribed medications. Researchers find that ketamine provides speedy and oftentimes dramatic improvement in these cases, offering a ray of light in a world where depression and anxiety are on the rise…especially among teenagers.
When a loved one is struggling with depression, it can become difficult to enjoy our own lives. Knowing that someone we care deeply about is suffering, and being powerless over their mental health disorder, can weigh heavy on our hearts. We want to help our helpless loved ones, and are frustrated by our inability to do so...and by their inability to help themselves!
Over the last decade, the compound resveratrol has generated a lot of discussion in medical circles around the world. In nature, resveratrol can be found in things like the skin of grapes or berries. When manufactured, it can be found in red wine. It appears that this compound is among some of the few substances that may offer new hope for those suffering from one of the most common illnesses in the world: depression.
Sometimes depression creeps up from out of nowhere. It may be surprising to learn that depression could be triggered by the body language you are being exposed to—facial expressions, body positioning, personal space…or a lack thereof. Subtle facial expressions, which may be largely unrecognizable, could slowly be causing psychological distress. The signals we send each other come not just from the words we hear, but also when, where, and how they are spoken to us. All of us read faces when we speak with each other, since it helps us gauge our interactions. But, what most do not do is actively regulate our exposure to negativity from the body language we receive. Sometimes, it may not be possible to do so, so there are other ways—through pharmaceuticals and mindfulness—to reduce the impact of your exposure instead.
Different claims regarding other the causes of depression have circulated for decades. As our understanding of depression has changed, so has our ability to treat this widespread mental health disorders. Some claim that neurotransmitters—serotonin and norepinephrine—play the largest role in regulating mood. Others look to the glutamate system. And still, one recent claim, which has grown in popularity, is that depression is gut-related.
The history of ketamine goes back to 1962, when it was first synthesized by American scientist, Calvin Stevens, at the Parke Davis Laboratories. The drug was known as a fast acting anesthetic and, eventually, a recreational hallucinogen. However, in the late 1990s, its antidepressive benefits were discovered. Research performed over the last two decades suggests that ketamine infusions could rapidly and effectively ease symptoms of depression and anxiety in up to 70% of patients, a discovery which marked the beginning of ketamine clinics popping up all over the country.
Migraines are extremely widespread in the United States, and much more debilitating than people realize. There are about 39 million people who struggle daily with this neurological disease, which makes it the 3rd most prevalent illness in the world. Not only do these severe and persistent headaches affect daily life, but they may be connected with mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. Current research is being performed to figure out what the link may be. For example, do migraines lead to depression and anxiety? Or is it psychiatric illness that leads to migraines?
One of the leading causes of disability in the U.S. is major depressive disorder (MDD), affecting more than 16.1 million adults each year. Another perhaps more shocking statistic is that about 80% of those people never seek treatment, for various reasons. However, one of the main reasons why so many individuals fail to seek treatment is because of the stigma associated with having a mental health condition. A stigma that, unfortunately, is alive and thriving in our society today.
Last year, on June 23, twelve young boys—members of the Wild Boars youth soccer team—and their coach were unexpectedly trapped inside an underground cave system in Thailand. When flood water quickly and unexpectedly rose, their exploration went from fun and exciting to frightening and dangerous...and fast. The water blocked off their exit and trapped them inside, with their only option to go deeper into the cave. They were trapped in the cave for over two weeks before cave rescue teams from China, Myanmar, Laos, Australia, the UK, and the United States finally reached them on July 10.
An expectant mother is about to experience extreme lifestyle changes, on top of the immediate emotional and physical stress of childbirth. Dealing with these newfound challenges—sleep deprivation, the responsibility of nurturing a newborn, and the underlying stress of unrealistic expectations—can send a new mother into a debilitating downward spiral.
The recent FDA approval of the use of esketamine for treatment-resistant depression means many Americans suffering will soon find relief. The drug, Spravato, was approved for patients who have failed to respond at all to at least two other antidepressant medications. After years of clinical trials, the decision to officially approve Spravato took a month before a panel of experts voted in favor of the new treatment. Since treatment-resistant depression plagues so many among us, this new treatment has generated tremendous hope for depression sufferers, their loved ones, and their mental health clinicians.
Depression is a mental disorder that affects 350 million people world wide. According to a medical paper published by Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center, people in the United States 18 years and older make up 4.6% of those 350 million. The study, which surveyed 600,000—or 0.1836%—of the US population, concluded that those who spend more than 6 hours in front of a screen were at a greater risk for depression.
Since it was developed in 2016, we’ve blogged several times about esketamine—the isomer of ketamine being developed by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, designed to rapidly alleviate the symptoms of treatment-resistant depression. Esketamine, which will be administered intranasally, was granted breakthrough medication status by the FDA and fast-tracked for approval. And the time for approval is here.
Over the past several years, ketamine has received a growing amount of media attention. As a treatment for depression, no other medication has shown this much promise since Prozac was discovered in the 1980s. Ketamine has been hailed as “miraculous,” and a “wonder drug,” alleviating depressive symptoms in up to 70% of patients…even those who failed to respond to depression treatment after depression treatment. What’s even more spectacular is the speed in which ketamine works—patients know whether ketamine will work for them after only 1-2 infusions.
For many women, giving birth is the most joyous event of their lives. But, every year, for more than 3 million women in the U.S., child birth results in the development of postpartum depression—and it can be devastating for mother and child alike. Most cases of postpartum depression are resolved within a matter of months, with such treatments as talk therapy, antidepressants, and ketamine infusions. However, some cases of postpartum depression can worsen in time, ultimately increasing the mother’s risk for developing chronic, severe depression.
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for depression. Even though 17% of people will suffer from depression over the course of their lives, modern medicine is still searching for a comprehensive solution. Traditional antidepressant medications are the first line of treatment for depression, though they are only effective for about 40-70% of patients, depending on what source you quote. In recent years, ketamine infusions have emerged as one of the most effective depression treatment available, offering hope for even the most debilitating cases of depression and providing relief to 70% of patients. Inspired by the way ketamine works to treat depression, several pharmaceutical companies are well underway developing new medications that may revolutionize the way we treat this mental health disorder.
The importance of diagnosing and treating mental health disorders is incontestable: with the country’s suicide rate growing at a faster rate than ever—and with a number of celebrity suicides bringing much-needed awareness to the matter—there is no argument that mental wellbeing is an important health concern that deserves our attention and care. However, the physical implications of depression and anxiety are much less talked about—even though a new study shows that they can be as severe as the health concerns caused by obesity or smoking.
As one of Colorado’s leading ketamine clinics, we see first-hand the impact that mental health disorders can have on an individual. We see the pain that prevents a patient from engaging in their favorite hobbies or activities, or that keeps them home in bed rather than at the office, or that lets the dishes pile up in the sink day after day because they just can’t bring themselves to perform even the most mundane of household tasks.
The holiday season evokes something different in everyone. Some people experience a childlike elation, enjoying the well-wishes and whimsy of the season. Others look forward to time spent with family, the freedom to check out of work and surround themselves with those they love. However, for many people, the holidays are a major trigger for anxiety and depression.