Ketamine has been around since the 60s. A popular battlefield anesthetic used liberally in the Vietnam war, ketamine has experienced something of a renaissance in recent years, emerging as a powerful treatment for depression, anxiety, psychiatric disorders, and various chronic pain conditions. It's renaissance in the realm of pain management is controversial, though—according to the National Pain Report and clinicians around the country—it should not be overlooked.
Researchers first discovered the antidepressant effects of ketamine back in 2000, and have since come to recognize the drug’s ability to improve depressive symptoms—even in patients who had not responded to other methods of treatment—in a matter of hours. Private ketamine clinics, like ours, began to open their doors around 2013, bringing hope to many people who had none.
Ketamine has the potential to treat even the most severe cases of depression within a matter of hours. It has changed the lives of thousands of Americans. It has brought hope to those who have had none. And yet researchers still don’t know exactly how this drug works, the antidepressive mechanism still largely a mystery.
When it comes to the relationship between chronic pain and depression, it’s very much a chicken-or-the-egg type of debate. The physical manifestations of depression—while hard to explain—can be quite painful: back pain, migraine headaches, etc. The mental manifestations of chronic pain can be equally troubling: stress, difficulty sleeping, low self-esteem, etc. Chronic pain and depression oftentimes work in a vicious cycle, where pain exacerbates the symptoms of depression, which, in turn, exacerbates the feelings of physical pain. And the cycle continues…