Can Ketamine Treat Depression?

Around 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression. The World Health Organization reports that depression is the leading cause of disability. It is a serious clinical problem, and leading treatments, like Prozac and Paxil, can take weeks to months to work. There may be new hope for treating depression in the form of a popular “club drug” called Special K.


Dr. Dennis Charney, the Dean of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the author of Resilience: The Science of Mastering Life’s Greatest Challenges, has been leading a team of researchers to find a faster, more effective treatment. Dr. Charney told Big Think: “Now some people know ketamine as a recreational drug of abuse called Special K, but we have found that it has potential for the treatment of depression that had not responded to traditional antidepressant treatments and that it works faster -- that it can work within several hours.”

Ketamine works very differently from available anti-depressants. Prozac, Paxil, and Zoloft, for instance, block the reuptake of the neurotransmitter serotonin. Instead, ketamine works through the glutamate system. Research is still underway to understand how it effects the system. The initial results are promising.

For more on Dr. Charney’s insights into this revolutionary new depression treatment, watch a clip from Big Think’s interview:

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

26 ultra-rich people own as much as the world's 3.8 billion poorest

The Oxfam report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency."

Getty Images and Wikimedia Commons
Politics & Current Affairs
  • A new report by Oxfam argues that wealth inequality is causing poverty and misery around the world.
  • In the last year, the world's billionaires saw their wealth increase by 12%, while the poorest 3.8 billion people on the planet lost 11% of their wealth.
  • The report prompted Anand Giridharadas to tweet: "Don't be Pinkered into everything's-getting-better complacency." We explain what Steven Pinker's got to do with it.
Keep reading Show less

Your body’s full of stuff you no longer need. Here's a list.

Evolution doesn't clean up after itself very well.

Image source: Ernst Haeckel
Surprising Science
  • An evolutionary biologist got people swapping ideas about our lingering vestigia.
  • Basically, this is the stuff that served some evolutionary purpose at some point, but now is kind of, well, extra.
  • Here are the six traits that inaugurated the fun.
Keep reading Show less
Videos
  • Facebook and Google began as companies with supposedly noble purposes.
  • Creating a more connected world and indexing the world's information: what could be better than that?
  • But pressure to return value to shareholders came at the expense of their own users.
Keep reading Show less