Ketamine may not be an actual depression drug, but may reduce symptoms

There are two frequent effects of ketamine: A feeling of lightness or floating in healthy people and recreational users, and temporal antidepressant benefits in people with depression.

How the two effects are connected was unclear.

In a new study, researchers found that the antidepressant effects of ketamine may not be such.

The study did a systematic YouTube search of depressed individuals using ketamine infusions, and found 17 out of 62 testifiers (27.4% ) spontaneously reported experiencing a sense of lightness—or less heaviness—that they were lined to a reduction in depressive symptoms.

This result is in contrast with the fact that a research finding search did not find a single article that addressed the question if a ketamine-induced sense of lightness might be linked to antidepressant benefits for depressed individuals.

Furthermore, compared to depressed people receiving electroconvulsive therapy (comparison group), an analog systematic analysis of internet video testimonials showed that antidepressant-associated lightness is rarely reported (4%).

The authors suggested that future studies should focus on investigating the link between a subjective sense of lightness and antidepressant benefits of ketamine.

The lead author of the study is Kurt Stocker from the University of Zurich.

The study is published in Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics.

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