- Ketamine is an analgesic, an anesthetic and a hallucinogen—yet the drug also seems to alleviate depression.
- More commonly known as a party drug, ketamine changes the neurotransmitter balance in the brain, thereby affecting consciousness.
- Deciphering ketamine's mechanism of action could pave the way for a new generation of antidepressants.
*A pseudonym to protect the patient's privacy.
For 20 years Joan
A few years ago Joan got a break. She came across a clinical trial for a drug called ketamine that had succeeded in treating patients with intractable major depressive disorder. She enlisted. Following one dose, she experienced her first reprieve from suicidal thoughts in two decades. She realized the drug was working while she was sitting outside on a pleasant day and noticed that the leaves on a tree looked bright green and that a spider was building a web. “It sounds crazy, but normally everything was clouded and gray,” she says. “Nothing stirred me.”
This article was originally published with the title A Trip Out of Depression.