Ketamine, first synthesized in 1960, was popularly known as the party drug. Particularly because it enjoys a wide history of abuse among young individuals. It also had special nicknames like Special K and Cat Valium and more often than not people will consume Ketamine to induce a more psychoactive effect. Scientific evidence has shown that the drug targets the opiate receptors in the dopamine system. The effect, as a result, is similar to that exhibited by cocaine or heroine.
However, that being said, there has been a large breakthrough in the field of medical science. Ketamine, a previously known club-enhancing drug has now been approved by FDA as an antidepressant. Which really means that the drug will now be prescribed for treating medical disorders like chronic depressions.
Why this change has been initiated and what are the likely impacts remains yet to be seen.
Ketamine as Anti-Depressant?
If you trace back the history of Ketamine, you will find that the drug gained popularity among veterans fighting the Vietnam War. It was used as an anaesthesia medicine because it took over certain chemical receptors in the brain. More importantly, there were other additional advantages that could possibly be entailed. For example, at a smaller dosage, Ketamine could provide immediate relief from pain, working more or less as a sedative. This meant that people had to rely less on expensive pain killers such as the addictive morphine.
However, scientists who chose to study the effects of the drug found the drug to have additional effects in treating depression. Research findings revealed that a prescribed dosage can help treat chronic depression. Ketamine was recommended for patients who had a history of mental illness and were also known to be suicidal. These patients) took the drug either through IV or a nasal mist once every week. The results showed positive effects for nearly 85% of the participants.
What are the exact scientific explanations for the phenomena remains yet to be seen. But few theories have been put forward. According to one such theory, ketamine induces a stronger connection between the mood receptors and brain cells. It is widely believed that it targets the dopamine receptor responsible for pleasure and emotional enhancement.
The Risk of Abuse
The decision taken by the FDA to approve Ketamine as an anti-depressant has been welcomed by neuropsychiatrists. However, some continue to point fingers towards the likely misuse of the drug which can prove to be consequential.
This article throughout the passage emphasized on one important point: smaller/prescribed dosage. Any amount that exceeds the requirement can lead to side effects demanding emergency medical treatment.
Misusage or higher amounts can induce hallucinogenic effects also disrupting a sense of sound and sight. People report a lack of coordination, impaired cognitive abilities in addition to a number of severe side effects. A list of few of them are as follows:
- Bloody urine
- Blurred vision
- Severe discomfort in the chest/abdominal region
- Pale skin (usually initiating in the lips)
- Feeling short of breath
- Dizziness and nausea
- Excessive sweating
Once ketamine is out as an FDA approved anti-depressant, it is important that certain guidelines are ensured. For the user, it is pertinent to follow the prescribed amount not exceeding the limit as recommended by the doctor.