Ketamine, popular as a party drug, is effective in treating people with depression, a recent study published in the journal Molecular Psychiatry says. While regular antidepressants take several weeks to get relief from signs of depression, ketamine is fast in action, it claims. Furthermore, it has greater efficiency and lasts longer as compared to the usual antidepressants and its effects remain for several weeks even as there is no trace of drug in the body.
Scientists from the University of Illinois, Chicago College of Medicine found out the reasons behind ketamine’s efficiency, long-lasting effect and rapid action on depression. To have a better understanding of this research, it is important to explore the role of cellular system that are involved in depression and medications used to treat it.
In a previous study, Prof. Mark Rasenick investigated the functioning of serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRIs) on the molecular level and revealed that SSRIs deactivate G proteins. G proteins function as molecular switches that assist in passing messages from outside to inside of the cell. Also, G proteins synthesize cyclic adenosine monophosphate (AMP) that acts as a second messenger to efficiently pass the messages.
Prof. Rasenick demonstrated that people with depression have large numbers of G proteins in lipid rafts that are turned off. This leads to decrease in neuron signals that can result in signs of depression. It was also derived that SSRIs get collected in lipid rafts that move out G proteins leading them to become active. This motion of G proteins is gradual and takes several days.
In the recent study, researchers conducted a similar research, but also investigated the mechanisms of ketamine. They observed that G proteins were dragged out of lipid rafts rapidly, i.e. only in 15 minutes. Also, G proteins took longer to return to lipid rafts. As per Rasenick, this whole process allows better interaction between brain cells that help to ease the signs of depression and thus results in long-term effects.
Th latest research thus overturned the earlier theories about the functioning of ketamine. Earlier, scientists believed that NMDA (N-methyl-D-aspartate) receptors were the key players. But this time, scientists knocked out NDMA receptors. It was found that even without these receptors, G proteins rapidly moved out. Rasenick said that this event proves that the movement of G proteins is a right biomarker of therapeutic efficacy of antidepressants.
Ketamine addiction and its treatment
Irrespective of its medicinal value, ketamine is a highly abusive drug which leads to addiction. People looking for mild psychedelic experience use it as a recreational drug. The signs of ketamine addiction are difficulty in concentration, insomnia, fatigue, reduced ability to feel pain, drowsiness and slurred speech. Psychological ketamine addiction is associated with hallucinations, psychedelic high and out of body feeling.
A person abusing ketamine for a long time experiences withdrawal symptoms on trying to quit it. The withdrawal signs are depression, emotional imbalance and paranoia. For proper treatment, a person addicted to ketamine must consult a behavioral health specialist.
Sovereign Health of Florida, a leading name in behavioral health, addiction and dual diagnosis treatment in the U.S., offers evidence-based treatment for various addictions. Ketamine addiction treatment at our state-of-the-art centers is customized as per a patient’s needs and focuses on both psychological and physical properties of ketamine abuse. Depending on an individual’s symptoms, we offer ketamine addiction treatment. To know more about our treatment programs, call our 24/7 helpline or chat online with one of our counselors.
Get the latest news on program developments, behavioral health news and company announcements