There’s lots in the news at the moment about depression and anxiety; meaning it’s a lot more commonplace to talk about mental health issues, allowing people to have more of a voice and gain valuable advice where needed. However, would you know what to do to tackle depression? There are a few things that could help but is taking ketamine to aid depression the answer?
The use of drugs to aid mental illness has always been a sensitive subject, with the divide in opinion predominantly being the potential short/long term effects on the patient. Recent medical studies featured in the mainstream news of doctors prescribing ketamine to patients as a way of dealing with depression, only raises one question, why?
There used to be such a taboo attached to talking about mental health. However with figures rising over the last twenty years, tackling it head on has been a main priority for the NHS and it’s becoming more and more apparent how many people it truly affects. With role models such as ex-Football defender Rio Ferdinand and the daughter of the Archbishop of Canterbury amongst other figures in the public eye openly talking about their mental health the taboo is slowly disappearing and these celebrities are becoming a source of inspiration for those suffering in silence. Now you can talk more freely than you may have done before. Ferdinand described it as a “release” to finally start talking.
Taking narcotics and drugs recreationally always has a warning of side effects. Bad “trips”, hallucinations and getting anxious are common side effects. If you suffer from anxiety or depression, this could exacerbate things. Another common side effect with narcotics is paranoia. This would also lead to your mind racing and make you feel a lot worse.
So why ketamine? It was traditionally used as a horse tranquiliser but has recently been used to treat depression. Scientists at Oxford University have been treating depression with ketamine for the last six years, sometimes used in cases where there has been no other valid treatment. The fact is that ketamine works. Dr McShane, who led Oxford’s ketamine treatment programme, said the only other treatment for severe depression with a higher success rate than ketamine was Electric convulsive therapy (ECT). He also went on to say that depression “isn’t a disorder of under activity of the brain, it’s a disorder of over activity”. Ketamine slows this down so you can essentially ‘fight back’, but there are side effects to this, let’s consider some. Ketamine can:
- Reduce sensations in the body, giving you a floating or detached feeling as if the mind and body have been separated, with some people feeling incapable of moving. This has been linked to having a near-death experience and is called “entering the k-hole”.
- Cause confusion, agitation, panic attacks, and impairment in short and long term memory. Frequent use is sometimes associated with the development of depression.
As previously mentioned, with certain drugs, consistency is the answer to helping with mental illnesses, unfortunately, though, frequent use of ketamine is sometimes associated with the development of depression – FRANK. So does that mean those who already have depression shouldn’t take it?
What Do You Think?
Let’s be honest, many people who smoke weed, take MDMA or take any drug recreationally will usually tell you all the great things about taking them. We all know a weed smoker who goes on about how great it is to smoke weed and how it is beneficial over drinking alcohol. Therefore, when it comes to medical benefits, it can be a very mixed bag of reactions from people. Ketamine in moderation might be helpful for people who do suffer from depression. Would you say that taking this drug in moderation is okay due to the noted benefits for people with depression?
What Happens Next?
Medicinal marijuana is a thing in America but not over here in the UK yet. Although there might have been some debate in the past, it has not become something that has become legal. Ketamine has been licenced for medical use, but will it stand to aid depression in the future? Taboo or not, it could be something that could radicalise the treatment of mental health.