Depression and the role of Ketamine in its treatment

Category: Blog Ketamine Mood Disorders
Depression stands out as one of the leading causes of mental health disorders that significantly alter the functioning and performance […]

Depression stands out as one of the leading causes of mental health disorders that significantly alter the functioning and performance of an individual. Depression is considered a long-term illness and has the potential to completely change or alter the life of the person who passes through it. Approximately 16 million people in the United States alone suffer from depression.

The symptoms of depression vary from person to person and also in intensity. However, a persistently low mood decreases sleep, and low energy makes one dull and the least motivated to complete even the simplest of tasks.

There are many causes of depression. However, personal emotional traumas or stressful events are the most common causes of depression. It is better to say that it depends on the person on how they perceive certain bad news or a heartbreaking situation. Their response to that particular situation determines the intensity of depressive episodes that they would encounter. This is a natural response of the human brain, but when it exceeds limits, the person could be seen to develop a major depressive disorder.

Treatment of Depression

Even in today’s modern society, several taboos and stigmas are attached to the whole concept of depression. Many think depression is a ‘made up’ or ‘exaggerated’ response. So, they deny its very existence. Some other people have a very negative attitude towards depression, which makes the affected people shy away from getting diagnosed or treated for their depressive episodes.

Even if some people opt to get treated, the treatment protocols for depression are long-term, full of side effects, and it takes a couple of weeks or months for the first actions of the treatment to show themselves. Therefore, a general attitude of giving up the therapy is often seen in depressed individuals.



Ketamine for curing depression

Ketamine for curing depression – A New Hope?

By looking at the low success rates of depression treatment, experts are always up to something; they want to bring forth treatments or therapies that show their respective effects quickly and are promising enough for the patients.

One such treatment in the pipeline involves using Ketamine to treat depression. Ketamine is a rapid-acting sedative or ‘tranquilizing’ agent commonly used in minor surgeries to anesthetize the patient. The antidepressant effect of Ketamine was noted in the early 2000s when experts at Yale University noticed that when chronically depressed patients took Ketamine, their symptoms rapidly disappeared.

When further research was done to explore how it caused such an effect, it was found that Ketamine mainly targeted the ‘Glutamate’ receptors in the brain. Glutamate is an excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain that conducts signals from one neuron to the other, ensuring proper brain functioning. So, when glutamate receptors get activated, they cause the brain to start functioning correctly again, thus reducing both the severity and intensity of the depressive symptoms within a short time.

The duration of action was another positive aspect of introducing Ketamine as the next potent antidepressant drug. Unlike the SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Receptor Uptake Inhibitors), which take months to show their impact, Ketamine showed its effects within the same day, thus proving itself to be another miraculous drug.

It is hoped that psychotherapy and Ketamine will be combined and introduced as the next potent treatment for depression. This would indeed be a tremendous breakthrough in medical science.



  1. Berman, R. M., Cappiello, A., Anand, A., Oren, D. A., Heninger, G. R., Charney, D. S., & Krystal, J.H. (2000). Antidepressant effects of Ketamine in depressed patients. Biological psychiatry, 47(4),
  2. Rosenblat, J. D., Carvalho, A. F., Li, M., Lee, Y., Subramanieapillai, M., & McIntyre, R. S. (2019). Oral Ketamine for depression: a systematic review. The Journal of clinical psychiatry, 80(3), 0-0.
  3. Zarate, C. A., & Niciu, M. J. (2015). Ketamine for depression: evidence, challenges, and promise.
    World Psychiatry, 14(3), 348.





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