Depression can drape like a heavy blanket over one’s life, blocking light and happiness. But promising new research shows one treatment can lift that, providing relief in as few as four hours.
The drug ketamine, according to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry, updates the negative thoughts brought on by depression and helps patients develop a more optimistic outlook.
“It’s heartening to see proof that ketamine treatment can help ease negative feelings in patients who struggle the most with depression,” said Benjamin Anderson, MD, who heads the Esketamine Treatment Center in the Center for Interventional Psychiatry at the Hartford HealthCare Institute of Living.
Ketamine is typically used as an anesthetic but is also helpful for targeting depression in people who have not had a response to two or more anti-depressants, a condition called treatment-resistant depression, Dr. Anderson said.
“We administer it in the form called esketamine, a nasal spray with an oral antidepressant, and have had good success with it,” he said.
The new research suggested that the drug helps people reset negative thinking, which, in turn, eased their feelings of depression.
“We know that depression can cause people to think an array of negative things about themselves, such as being worthless or a failure,” Dr. Anderson said.
The study examined people with treatment-resistant depression who were given ketamine treatments over one week. Participants were better able to positively update beliefs after the treatments, and their depressive symptoms decreased.
“The results underscore what we’ve seen in patients here – that their depression improves after treatment. This allows them to live happier, fuller lives,” Dr. Anderson said.
Patients need a referral to the Esketamine Treatment Center. Click here for more information and a referral form.