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Ketamine Found to Have an “unbelievable” Effect in Treating Severe Depression

It’s probably not the first place you’d go to find relief from severe clinical depression, but the psychedelic party drug ketamine has revealed itself to be something of a ‘miracle drug’, performing far more quickly and effectively than traditional antidepressants and mood stabilisers.

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Onetime party drug hailed as miracle for treating severe depression

It was November 2012 when Dennis Hartman, a Seattle business executive, managed to pull himself out of bed, force himself to shower for the first time in days and board a plane that would carry him across the country to a clinical trial at the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) in Bethesda.

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Anesthesiologists Take Lead As Ketamine Clinics Proliferate

A growing number of anesthesiologists are opening private clinics that provide off-label infusions of ketamine to patients suffering from treatment-resistant unipolar and bipolar depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, suicidality and other disorders. Psychiatrists and other physicians have also recently opened clinics.

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Is ketamine the best hope for curing major depression?

On the seventh floor of a building overlooking the Federal Reserve Bank in lower Manhattan, two medical clinics share an office. One is run by a podiatrist who’s outfitted the waiting room with educational materials on foot problems such as hammer toes and bunions. The other clinic doesn’t have pamphlets on display and offers a much less conventional service: For the advertised price of $525, severely depressed and suicidal patients can get a 45-minute intravenous infusion of ketamine—better known as the illicit party drug Special K.

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The secret life of ketamine

It rains for 164 days out of each year in Portland, Oregon, a city renowned for its wet weather. So it seems an unlikely destination for patients hoping to alleviate their depression. Yet, over the past two years, almost a hundred people have visited a small nondescript clinic in this damp corner of Northwestern United States to receive ketamine, an experimental treatment for depression that can work where other drugs have failed.

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Ketamine: The Future of Depression Treatment?

Every year, 13 million to 14 million Americans have major depression. Of those who seek treatment, 30% to 40% will not get better or fully recover with standard antidepressants.

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Old Drug, New Tricks

Ketamine, better known as the club drug “Special K,” may alleviate depression when all other treatments have failed—a finding researchers stumbled across by accident.

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