The first clinically prescribed psychedelic medicine for the treatment of conditions like depression, PTSD, anxiety, substance abuse, chronic pain and other mood disorders, ketamine is a breakthrough drug in the fields of mental health and psychotherapy. Along with other emerging modalities, like transcranial magnetic stimulation, psilocybin and MDMA, ketamine therapy is revolutionizing the world of mental health and changing the ways we understand our minds.
Synthesized in 1962, ketamine quickly became recognized as an extremely safe and fast-acting general anesthesia and pain medication. It was originally FDA-approved in the 1970s and is still administered every day for acute care in hospitals to children, elderly and critically ill patients. Considered one of the safest forms of conscious sedation, ketamine is proven to have minimal risks. The World Health Organization classifies it an essential medication, and it remains the most widely used anesthetic worldwide.
Due to its mood enhancing capacity, ketamine’s potential for use in the treatment of psychiatric disorders was noted as early as the 1970s. During the 1990s, international researchers began to focus more seriously on ketamine as a mental health treatment. Since the early 2000s, the medical community has published a plethora of peer-reviewed scientific and clinical studies on ketamine as a treatment for mental health disorders. The results have been astonishing.
Several studies show a majority of patients, who did not respond to conventional antidepressants, reported significant improvement of depression symptoms and diminished suicidality within 24 hours of a single ketamine infusion. Subanesthetic doses of intravenous ketamine–doses far below the amount prescribed as anesthesia–have demonstrated rapid and sustained antidepressant and therapeutic effects for a range of psychiatric conditions. A systematic review of research and ketamine trials concludes that ketamine works to rapidly reverse symptoms of depression, anxiety, pain and suicidal thoughts in the majority of patients studied.
The emerging science on ketamine continues to support the life-changing potential of infusions for people who are suffering from depression, pain, and mood disorders.