Ketamine and Depression: Know the Reality, Myth, and Controversy

Ketamine has a long history of wearing many hats. Initially, the military used it as an anesthetic. Today, ketamine and depression are getting a lot of attention because of how quickly the drug works.

The most significant benefit, according to some, is that ketamine could help to prevent depressed individuals from harming themselves.

Unfortunately, there is some controversy surrounding ketamine and depression because of the drug itself. Ketamine is sometimes shuffled into the category of synthetic and designer drugs.

As a street drug, it has names like Special K, Vitamin K, or jet. It can be highly addictive when taken incorrectly. Therefore, it’s essential to separate the truth from reality when it comes to this drug.

What Does Ketamine Do?

When it comes to ketamine and depression, the drug works by giving users a sense of dissociation. Some describe the symptoms as a less-intense version of PCP. Extremely low doses are given for depression, meant to manage symptoms rather than offer a feeling of “getting high.”

That’s why people who use ketamine for depression go for a limited amount of infusion treatments only. The procedures are monitored, and the correct dosage is given. Patients safely wean off the drug after about eight sessions.

When it’s taken in pill or capsule form, and the incorrect dosage is given, ketamine can cause harmful symptoms like:

  • Confusion
  • Drowsiness
  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Nausea
  • Visual disturbances

More severe side effects can include difficulty speaking or slowed breathing. Often, people who abuse ketamine show signs of irritability and have changes in their mood. Also, they are often disoriented or have difficulty remembering things.

Is Ketamine a Good Thing?

So, can ketamine and depression work together? Or, should you worry about the “street drug” aspect of it?

While misusing ketamine can lead to dependence and withdrawal, medical professionals often use it to treat depression. It’s never something that you should start taking on your own without the guidance of a medical professional.

If you do start taking it in capsule form, it’s more likely that you’ll become dependent on the drug. That can quickly lead to addiction and, eventually, without it – withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms from ketamine include an increase in depression as well as anxiety, anger, and even restlessness. In the long run, taking it improperly can make your depression worse.

People who experience depression can quickly turn to things like drugs or alcohol to cope with the symptoms. So, the euphoric-like side effects that ketamine can provide are often appealing to those who have feelings of extreme sadness. But, it’s never a good idea to use a substance as a way to deal with depression.

Controlling the Controversy

One of the best ways to manage your depressive symptoms is to talk with your doctor or a therapist. If you’re having thoughts of self-harm or suicide, don’t take it lightly. Call 911, go to your nearest ER; get help immediately. It’s best to speak with someone who is able to help and support you.

While different types of anti-depressants and other drugs work to manage your symptoms, controlled environments and dosages are critical.

If you have an interest in ketamine as more than just a street drug, infusion treatments can help. A physician will space out infusions over several sessions. And, help you come off the drug carefully, so it doesn’t become addictive, and your system doesn’t go through withdrawals.

It’s understandable to want to find relief from your depressive symptoms immediately. But, don’t risk your overall health and wellbeing to do it.

If you want to learn more about ketamine and depression, or you want to talk about your symptoms, feel free to contact me or set up an appointment. Or, if you are struggling with addiction, visit my page on synthetic and designer drugs to learn more about how I can help.