Ketamine infusion: The new therapy for depression, explained

The treatment is here, but are we ready?

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  • Ketamine is the first hallucinogen approved for therapeutic use in the U.S.
  • Research has shown ketamine is effective at treating depression.
  • Though ketamine infusion therapy is now being offered at hundreds of North American clinics, there are unaddressed dangers in the current ketamine gold rush.
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Brain study strengthens link between lithium and suicide

A lithium imbalance appears linked to suicide.

  • Lithium appears essential to brain activity, but how it works remains a mystery.
  • A team of researchers analyzed where in the brain lithium tends to accumulate in two healthy controls and one suicide victim.
  • The healthy controls had more lithium in their white matter than gray matter.
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The never-ending trip: LSD flashbacks and a psychedelic disorder that can last forever

A small percentage of people who consume psychedelics experience strange lingering effects, sometimes years after they took the drug.

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  • LSD flashbacks have been studied for decades, though scientists still aren't quite sure why some people experience them.
  • A subset of people who take psychedelics and then experience flashbacks develop hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD), a rare condition in which people experience regular or near-constant psychedelic symptoms.
  • There's currently no cure for the disorder, though some studies suggest medications may alleviate symptoms.
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Study: Tripping might not be required for psychedelic therapy

Two different studies provide further evidence of the efficacy of psychedelics in treating depression.

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  • A phase 2 clinical trial by Imperial College London found psilocybin to be as effective at treating depression as escitalopram, a commonly prescribed antidepressant.
  • A different study by the University of Maryland showed that blocking the hallucinogenic effects of magic mushrooms in mice did not reduce the antidepressant effect.
  • Combined, these studies could lead to new ways of applying psychedelics to patient populations that don't want to trip.
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For some, the pandemic eased mental health distress

Children with pre-existing mental health issues thrived during the early phase of the pandemic.

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  • While COVID-19 physically affects adults more than children, mental health distress has increased across all age groups.
  • Children between 5 and 17 sought help for mental health issues at much higher rates in 2020.
  • However, a new study found children with pre-existing mental health issues experienced reduced symptoms when lockdowns began.
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