Ketamine helps depressed patients temporarily experience pleasure again


That doesn’t matter. It’s immoral. You can tell by the word “pleasure.”


I see that someone shares the same definition of “fundamentalism”.

Fundamentalism: (noun). The deep, dark, haunting fear that someone, somewhere, might be… (gasp) enjoying themselves.


I wish journalists wouldn’t describe it as a “horse tranquilliser”. It’s a bloody awesome anaesthetic drug and very useful for humans too.


You can lead a horse to ketamine, but you can’t make it inject itself with it.


I heard about this 3-4 years ago. I want to get on a clinical trial for it if they ever end up doing that. It seems disingenuous to complain that it only lasts about 2 weeks.

The affects are comparatively immediate, a lot more effective than traditional anti-depressants, and you have to take regular SSRIs daily (or more often) for results that are nowhere near as good.

Since they haven’t really tested Ketamine for this, it’s too soon to say if there are any real downsides. Frankly, mild hallucinations seem like a small price to pay particularly since you don’t actually need to take enough to get you high in order for it to work therapeutically. I’d be on board for finding out the hard way.


Depression can also be associated with tryptophan and serotonin depletion. So fructose malabsorption, which interferes with tryptophan absorption, correlates with depression. I can’t find if it correlates with other neurological problems, because paywalls.

Maybe this could help with people who need time to boost various amino acid and neurotransmitter levels to recover, especially if they are on ssris and can’t take tryptophan until they are off ssris.


In Soviet Russia, ketamine had been successfully used in the treatment of severe alcoholics and depressed people. Much like the use of MDMA in the treatment of couples, it was used to incite a transpersonal experience that was then guided by a mental health professional. The reluctance to study drugs like ketamine is tied to that fact that they are not going to be money makers for pharmaceutical companies. One dose/session of a 60 year old drug every two weeks vs. daily (multiple) pills still under patent? Which one gets priority?


Gee. Is this an established cause for depression now?

I’ve been reading about this for some time. I’ve been wondering about just procuring a stash for myself, but I’m just concerned about the liver damage it seems to cause.


I am thinking about the same. As of liver damage, the needed therapeutic dosage here is apparently lower than doses for getting high, and depending on the mechanism you could perhaps use something hepatoprotective to reduce it (much like N-acetylcysteine protects against paracetamol-caused damages).

The good stuff is hard to obtain and very difficult to cook from scratch. The bad stuff is easy but useless for anything than getting high and addicted. Unfair…


Quite a few SSRIs are off patent - Prozac, Zoloft and Celexa all have generic versions available.

ketamine was originally developed for human use and is very safe compared to most other drugs that serve the same purpose, but it was shot down in human trials because it is a strong hallucinogen. apparently hallucinating is BAD. using ketamine recreationally on a regular basis can lead to liver and bladder damage, but occasional dosing for medical purposes has shown no negative impact.

anyone who had every fought depression should be cursing the fact that treatments like this aren’t available, when you are at the point where you’d need a medicine like this you’d do just about anything to end the depression including considering ending your own life.

don’t even get me started on the potentials of ibogaine for treating addiction. how can a single dose cure for heroine addiction be banned because it makes you hallucinate, when the only available medicine is methadone an addiction replacement and non-cure.

if we can have cocaine and morphine in regulated medical applications why not ketamine and ibogaine? i don’t think that we shouldn’t let the stigma of hallucinogens prevent these sorts of treatments from becoming available to those that need them.


Do you know what else temporarily alleviates depression? Any and all recreational drugs, food, sex, etc. Addiction is not a cure for anything as far as I understand.

I sometimes use it as an anaesthetic drug and not infrequently prescribe it for post-operative pain as an infusion for the first 24hrs surgery. It’s well tolerated by most if it’s accompanied by a warning that not everything that’s seen is really there. Even better if there is someone sympathetic around to re-orient them to reality.

Tolerance of the hallucinations and the accompanying sedation go down as the dose goes up and the things people “see” can be distinctly odd. Some people quite enjoy the experience of higher doses: "It was like the whole world was lit up in glorious technicolor, just for me! :slight_smile: " [You’re welcome]. Others hate it: "There was a demon on my ceiling looking at me. Never, ever give me that shit again. :frowning: " [OK, no problem] … The absolute haters are a minority though. Humans don’t like being in pain and being out of our heads is usually preferable.

It will be interesting to see what sort of doses are effective in depression. It would be nice to be able to give a ketamine anaesthetic alone as a treatment rather than giving general anaesthesia for Electro Convulsive Therapy. Which works, but it’s kind of brutal.


Isn’t that true of all forms of pleasure, though?


ketamine is not addictive in the dosing schedule and quantity described to treat depression.

ketamine’s anti-depressive properties actually change neurochemistry and last weeks past the drug leaving ones system.

Many recreational drugs are actually depressants, and while in the throws of their respective influences they may temporarily alleviate depression, they can often leave one more depressed.

No one is suggesting getting depressed people addicted as a solution, those other things are false equivalencies and do not alter one’s neurochemistry in the same manner for the same duration. the effects of ketamine are actually pretty interesting and if studied can perhaps be developed into a non-hallucinatory treatment down the road.


At the risk of playing no-truly-depressed-scotsman, if your ‘anhedonia’ can be alleviated by doing something recreational and you have the wherewithal to actually do it, it probably isn’t actually anhedonia.


And? Pharmaceutical companies are desperate to replace them with new, patented classes of antidepressants, the problem is that the medications they are testing now don’t perform any better than placebos in double blind studies.

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One of my patients has been on weekly ketamine infusions for just on two years now. It doesn’t really seem to have helped his mood much, but it means he gets to spend 10 hours a week in the psychiatric ward with lovely caring staff who talk to him which has probably at least kept him alive. He has some pretty scary hallucinations at times and more than once he’s lost consciousness, once being rushed to the emergency department. One of the upsides in his opinion is that it could kill him one day, and he’s fine with that. We very rarely do ketamine infusions on the ward, and only when everything else has already been tried.