A new discovery in the field of medicine may help in further treating depression. In a new research published on the Science journal, Nature, it has been revealed that Ketamine can destabilize the disease, relieving symptoms as severe as suicidal thoughts from patients. Ketamine is an anesthetic often used as a recreational drug which induces a trance-like state.
Ketamine has been in the center of several studies about depression for years. However, it is only now that its groundbreaking effects on depression have been discovered. The study, which many believe to be one of the biggest breakthrough in depression treatment, reveals that the NMDAR antagonist drug can alleviate symptoms in as fast as 30 minutes. More so, it can be used to treat patients with treatment-resistant depression.
Ketamine as antidepressant: How does it work?
Led by a team of doctors from the Zhejiang University in China, the study provides a clear explanation on how the drug can inhibit depressive patterns. Ketamine blocks the bursting activity of the lateral habenula (LHb)— a region in the brain that is associated with negative emotions and the pathophysiology of major depression. The LHb is also known as the also known as the “anti-reward center” of the brain.
“Our results suggest a simple model whereby ketamine quickly elevates mood by blocking NMDAR-dependent bursting activity of LHb neurons to disinhibit downstream monoaminergic reward centres, and provide a framework for developing new rapid-acting antidepressants,” the study explains.
The treatment is now available in the UK. However, it needs to be professionally administered and only as the last option for treatment. Ketamine is widely used as a recreational drug and may be abused which could lead to temporal psychosis.
Alternative depression treatment options
While studies on treatments for depression continue, including different therapies and medications, there have also been alternative options to alleviate the mental health issue. Cannabis has been widely believed to be a great option in treating depression, with several scientific studies backing the claims.
Cannabinoids have been the focus of several studies, with ingredients like dronabinol and tetrahydrocannabinol believed to be key in treating clinical depression. It is also believed to help regaining appetite and alleviating pain among depressed people.
Aside from Cannabinoids, Girl Scout Cookies are also a good option to alleviate depression. A Sativa dominant hybrid, the cannabis strain provides “uplifting cerebral high and mild body relaxation.” It is believed to alleviate depression, while energizing the mind and relieving stress.